You walk into a networking event. Your pockets are stuffed with your high-quality matte business cards. As you walk in, you get excited by the thought of everyone falling in love with your newest business.
You immediately start searching for potential customers and approach them with your well-prepared elevator pitch. You talk about your awesome products and brag about your newest promotion. Before they even get a chance to slip a word in, you are already sliding them your business card and telling them to contact you.
You go home and constantly pull out your phone to see if any buyer has contacted you. When you see no calls, you start to question whether the phone number on your business card was incorrect all along. Eventually, the sad reality hits you: no one is interested.
It is easy to see why there wasn’t any interest, right? Well, the truth is: this is what most businesses are doing on all social media sites!
If it was up to me: “networking” would be renamed to “relationship building”. At least this would remind people why they are there in the first place.
We have been blessed with opportunity to participate in daily conversations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites. Social Media is like having an ongoing networking event in your pocket. This amazing technology gives us the opportunity to createmeaningful relationships anywhere and at any time. Rather than constantly promoting your business, these tools should be used to listen and contribute to interesting conversations.
The reason I created this blog in the first place was because I was listening. I have seen a number of people on Twitter asking questions about this topic and sharing articles about social media marketing success. To work around the 140 character limit, this blog is my contribution.
As you spend more time joining these conversations, you are creating new relationships as well as strengthening your current ones. Let’s face it, social media is also far more enjoyable this way!
People do business with people they know, like, and trust. You are far more likely to be successful by building relationships using social media than you will ever be by spraying virtual business cards to your network.
Now picture this:
You walk into a networking event with the purpose of making meaningful relationships.
You don‘t even bother bringing business cards. Instead, you walk up to people (I said people, not “potential customers”) and get interested in why they are there. You ask questions about what they are offering and learn about their business. They will also likely ask some questions about what you do, so you share some information about your business. You don’t offer your business card but instead ask for theirs. You continue to do this for the remainder of the event.
You go home and send them an email about what a pleasure it was to meet them. They are no longer a stranger to you, they are now a friend. If you know other people that can benefit from their products and services you send them referrals.
Few weeks go by and your phone decides to spontaneously ring. One of the friends from the event contacted you because he suddenly had a need for your product. He points out that you were the first one that came to mind and wants your help. A week later, another friend from the event calls and said that his uncle has a need for your product, and once again, you were the first to come to mind.