By Sharon A.M. MacLean who invites your comments following this blog. You can also find more modern marketing strategies for business here. http://bit.ly/1cKPcjn
It’s a rare person in business who is content spending time making friends on social media without an endgame. You want to know there’s a reason for trading your precious hours for liking, sharing, and publishing endless blogs.
Yet, so many people are growing lists without seeing results. Who’s got the time to waste? Not you.
First, identify your motivations. Are you trying to boost your credibility among clients? Do you need to establish authority to attract investors? What about a higher public profile to book speaking engagements?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do you want to achieve with all those contacts on your lists?
- Have you identified the characteristics of your ideal investor?
- Do your contacts reflect the characteristics of your model customer?
- What exactly do your customers want from you?
- What have you prepared to offer them?
- How will you deliver on your promise?
Next, determine the number of contacts you need to make and work back to see how you will meet those goals.
The 3-D Effect to growing your online business
“Make sure you’ve got the right 5,000 accounts,” says Olivier Taupin of Next Dimensions Media. Olivier owns 100+ groups on LinkedIn with 1.4 million members.
“What’s important to me is that the people make sense,” continues the social media thought leader. “If you were in the energy industry, and there was somebody in the hospitality sector who wanted to connect, it won’t work for you.” He recommends that you evaluate all your invitations by first studying their profiles.
What about those people who’ve viewed your profile. Should you invite them to connect? Yes, says Olivier. If they align with your organization’s mission.
Olivier’s developed his own 3-D process to determine the value of a connection but cautions, “We live in an imperfect world, so each element is flexible.” His go-to tactics are published here for the first time.
- Industry. Start researching your preferred field of commerce. If you’re having challenges reaching into the auto industry, for example, discover who is speaking to your targeted dealer. It might be the tire people who will give you clues—including potential contacts.
- Function of the people you want to reach. Is the purchasing agent not available to you? Instead, try their colleagues for your second choice: people in marketing, production, or finance who might help get you a connection.
- Geography. Decide the range of of your business reach–from local to international. If it’s not possible to connect with HQ, try going through a local branch office to reach inside the company.
Now, you see the chief reason to have an overall strategy that involves your CEO and other key players in your organization. If you cannot connect with a preferred individual, perhaps your CEO can provide an introduction. Or someone else in the organization has a connection to help with the contact. This is where LinkedIn’s Navigator function serves larger organizations well to keep track of team interactions. It’s likely too expensive for small business who can do a lot at the freemium or premium level of service.
There’s also a great deal that can be done for free on Twitter. Or you can enhance your Twitter strategies by following Michael Kawula’s blog and checking out his software service at http://www.socialquant.net.
Did your invitation get accepted? Good. Olivier relies heavily on the tag function in LinkedIn and the list function on Twitter to categorize contacts. Here’s the 3D Effect he personally uses to stay organized.
- Champions are your door openers and influencers at the level of CEO, VP, journalist, politician or industry influencer. Nurture these relationships by retweeting their comments and blogs and generally showing yourself to be a fan. Don’t ask them for favours or introductions to their world before you’ve first shown them a lot of respect.
- Prospects reflect the characteristics of your ideal customers in each of the niches you serve. Same idea here: Don’t ask for their business before you demonstrate your worth to them.
- VIPs are your customers or those you would love to have as customers. Say hello to these individuals on a regular basis and send them salutations. But not too often.
- Fans are people who want something from you. We are grateful for fans because they easily like your posts…share your content…and comment on your insights.
Share respect for people online
“One of the biggest problems I see,” says Mr. Taupin: “People look at who I know and ask for an introduction to someone on my list. But I don’t even know the person asking for the connection.”
This also is the #1 complaint reported by HubSpot from successful people like venture capitalist Mark Shuster and entrepreneur Paul Brunson: “We need to give (many times) before asking for anything. We need to provide value up front.”
Take a look at their L.O.V. Graph showing how to “add value”. HubSpot published their insightful graph that visualizes ways to strengthen relationships. The inbound marketing agency says that sharing value six times gives you a 50% chance of getting some form of response. Increase that shared value to nine times before asking for something gives you a 90% chance of getting what you want.
Here’s some ideas on how to show the love.
- Introduce them to someone
- Appreciate them
- Offer your expertise for FREE
- Make them laugh
- Add value through social media
- Comment on their blog
- Feature them in an article you write
- Buy them a book (Kindle is easiest)
- Give them insightful feedback on their product, company, or work
Final counsel from Olivier Taupin: “Don’t try to sell me today or you’ll get kicked out.” That’s old style.
Instead, demonstrate your worth by showing you’ve thought about their challenge enough to have worked out a solution beforehand. Give to get.
Lifelong communications strategist Sharon MacLean owned and published a traditional print magazine for over 21 years for business people. She is certified in Integrated Online Strategies from the University of San Francisco and the Instant Customer Mastery Certified Professional Program.