So what should you do about it? Simple—wake up to the fact that social media is here to stay and ignoring it won’t make it go away. If you want to survive and prosper, you must embrace social media as the great opportunity it is rather than fear it as a destructive agent of change!
Many business owners understand both the opportunity and the threat, but have no clue how or where to get started. Here is the three-step plan that I used:
First, I educated myself. I purchased the following books and studied them. You also should buy them and study them in great detail.
- Social Boom! by Jeffrey Gitomer
- Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen
- Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman
- LinkedIn Marketing an Hour a Day by Viveka von Rosen (Be sure to check out my interview with her in this issue.)
Second, I studied what my competition and their employees are doing on the Internet and on social media. What are they doing well that you should emulate and what are they not doing that you could be doing? Study what companies in other industries are doing that no one in your industry is doing. Many great ideas were stolen from completely different industries. For example, the fast food drive-up window was stolen (I mean “borrowed) by someone who was sitting in a drive-up window at a bank! This “borrowed” idea revolutionized the fast food industry.
Finally, I set goals and figured out how to measure my results. This included both strategic and tactical goals.
My strategic goal is to educate my customers and prospects. I know that educated customers buy more. Plus, by providing information that my customers and prospects find useful, I am taking advantage of the psychological principle of reciprocity. This is where you feel that if someone does you a favor, you “owe” someone a favor in return. It’s never a bad thing for your prospect to believe they owe you one. The Bible says it better: “Give, and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38)”.
My first tactical goals were to get 20 blog visitors per day and to have 100 LinkedIn connections with at least 10 LinkedIn recommendations. Sounded crazy, even impossible at the time, since I didn’t know how or where to start. But we have far exceeded these early goals, and the result is that my CPA firm is growing while many others are struggling during these hard economic times.
So it’s your choice: Embrace social media or ignore it at your peril! I hope you follow my example and be like Nike—JUST DO IT!