Social media is redefining the way we communicate with each other, not to mention how we build and develop relationships.
How’s that for stating the obvious?
Yet most striking for me, as someone who spends a good amount of time online, is how social media is revolutionizing the way individuals interact with companies — or “brands” — on social media.
- Who asks Facebook friends for movie or restaurant recommendations rather than trusting a critic you’ve never met?
- Who instantly broadcasts a poor customer-service experience to Twitter?
- Who posts a picture to Instagram after making a significant — or not-so-significant — purchase?
These examples demonstrate how ingrained social media is in our buying decisions and other interactions we have with companies. If they apply to you, you’re not alone; you’re right there with your customers and your potential customers.
In fact, 38 million people in the U.S. said their purchasing decisions were influenced by social media, according to a recent MarketMeSuite study. Even more, 81 percent of online shoppers make purchasing decisions based on Facebook and Twitter friend recommendations.
It’s true: Social Media is Changing the Way Your Customers Shop Online (infographic)
Consumers now wield more power than ever. For the first time, it’s truly a two-way conversation between businesses and customers. It’s important that you as an entrepreneur recognize the importance of establishing a presence on social media.
But it’s much more than just establishing a presence. Once you’re there, you have to know how to properly communicate with your audience.
It starts with building relationships, or a community, rather than using the platforms to blast your sales pitch far and wide.
Social Media and Network Marketing
In thinking about this topic, I came across an insightful blog post written Pete and Dora Zdanis, two highly successful entrepreneurs and skilled social-media-for-business users.
The article emphasizes several social media best practices and offers advice for business owners seeking increased success with various platforms.
Here are three points that resonated with me:
- Post information and ideas — not necessarily related to your specific business — that may benefit others and position you as a caring, helpful resource.
- Be transparent about who you are and what you represent, but don’t blatantly advertise or solicit business in a social media community.
- Social media is a tool in your business-building toolbox, but be careful to not rely on it as a primary business-building method.
“Most of all, be patient,” Pete and Dora write. “It takes time to develop a group of friends and followers on social media sites, but it will definitely pay off over the long term.”
We in social media care most about building relationships. I’ll argue that if you consider that your primary objective as well, social media can become one of the most powerful business-building tools available to you.
What Do You Think?
Are you using social media in your business? If so, are you finding success with it? Please share one of your most valuable tips so others may learn what works for you.
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