In business, you have but one function–to find new customers and keep them. Today I want to talk to you about using social media to augment this natural process.
The interesting thing about social media is that as a technology it facilitates something that we as humans do naturally. Social media accelerates the relationship from unknown to known. Sadly it has a tendency to bypass some of the natural checks and balances that we would normally implement (but I’ll save that for another time.)
Before we talk about social media’s ability to build our business, perhaps we should talk about the value of your network. The question I would ask, is this: Are all contacts in your network created equally?
Instinctively you realize this is a foolish question. You know some contacts are mere acquaintances, while other contacts have a deep bond to you in your business and represent true value.
The process of moving a contact (a prospect by another name) is simple and involves three stages. The first is to generate AWARENESS. This means people in your contact network know you exist, you are visible to them.
Although you’re visible to them, they are not sure about your business, your true value, or what you can do for them. To increase their value (to you) it requires moving them from awareness to TRUST.
At the level of trust (and you could subdivide this into two categories) contacts have a sense of what you do. They have proof. Second level of trust would be social proof, whereby they not only know what you can do, they’ve heard other people say so as well.
Finally the third stage is ACTION. They are now aware of you, trust you, and have heard good things about you, and are now ready to take action (which usually means they buy from you).
Now you understand the three stages you can probably see how social media facilitates and accelerates the movement between stages in your network. Here’s a question for you: Without thinking too much, do you know what kinds of social media would be good for each stage in your network’s evolution?
For instance, Twitter (which is publicly available) would be a prime example of building awareness. Facebook, which requires either personally friending an individual, or permitting someone to fan your page, is a prime example of an engaged, trust based platform.
Moving your network to take action can occur on almost all social media platforms but there is one that lends itself very well, your blog. Capable of sharing detailed information, pictures, video and audio, your blog is a perfect “grand central” for your online social media activities.
You might find it interesting to note that studies have indicated approximately 85% of your network is in the “awareness” stage. Approximately 10% of your network is in the “trust” stage, and about 5% are ready to take “action” (buy something.)
Armed with the understanding of how you move a prospect through the value proposition in your network and increase their overall value to you and your business, I imagine you are wondering how you’ve allocated your social media activities to date…
If you’re like most people, you’re probably spending a disproportionately large amount of time on the awareness stage (which is a bit like trying to be seen in a crowded room), when you really should be focusing on converting them to the trusting stage on your network’s evolution.
It’s certainly something to think about isn’t it?
JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.