For over two years my niece (who is also my marketing person) tried to talk me into getting a business Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube account, and a LinkedIn account. And for over two years I told her to go away and stop bothering me. I, like many small business owners, couldn’t figure out how wasting my time on these things would increase sales and bring in profits.
One day she just did it on her own, and the results were almost instantaneous. You see, I had been blogging to my clients for over a year and was pretty much being ignored. My blog was being visited by about 2-3 people a day. I called it doing great work in the dark. Does it really matter how good your work is if no one sees it? Almost immediately after she set up these accounts and started linking to my blog articles, the number of visitors increased dramatically.
And that was enough to convince me that social media was here to stay and that I could no longer ignore it. In fact, I believe that the rise of social media has fundamentally changed the way every business sells to their customers! Sounds extreme, but believe me, it’s true.
In today’s world, before any prospect makes a decision to call you or visit your store, they:
- Google you.
- Check out your Facebook page.
- Find you on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
- Read your blog.
- Read reviews from your happy (and unhappy!) customers.
And there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop them! Heck, admit it: You’re doing the same thing every time you look at making a purchase.
Jeffrey Gitomer in his book Social Boom! wrote:
“Today, ALL systems of selling are preceded, and sometimes precluded, by your online reputation. Before I ever call you, before you ever call me, before you ever meet with me—I already know everything I need to about you.”
But what he says next should really scare the small business owner who has decided to ignore social media because they think it is just the latest fad:
“Here are the NEW standards by which you’ll be evaluated, granted appointment time, decided upon, measured, branded, and talked about:
-Your Google presence and ranking
-Your online reputation
-Your business social media presence
-Your personal website (present or absent)
-Your blog (present or absent)
-Your Facebook presence
-Your LinkedIn connections and recommendations
-Your Twitter followers and tweets
-Your YouTube presence”
Scared yet? You should be, because the competitor in your market who “gets” social media and learns how to use it effectively will have a huge advantage over you! They will grow while you decline. They will get the best customers while you get the customers they don’t want. They will prosper while you suffer and complain about how bad the economy is.
(Be sure to check out part 2 tomorrow to see how you can start using social media to increase your sales.)