How to achieve more with your social networking strategy

I was at a great networking event last night hosted by the Bedfordshire & Luton Chamber of Commerce. They had engaged a great and informative speaker, Ian McKendrick, who was talking to us about how we can use social networking to help market and grow our business.

This got me thinking, how can you use social networking to achieve more for your business, without either shelling out loads of money, or spending hours blogging away or tweeting away?

Here are my thoughts on how to achieve more, for your time, effort and money with social networking:

1. Be clear about who are your target market. This is the same whether you are using on-line marketing tools or more traditional tools. It’s a great boost to the ego to have 100+ people in your linkedin contacts or over 1000 followers on Twitter – but unless these are people who will buy from you, or know someone that will buy from you, then it’s not worth the effort in courting them. For example, if you want to target local buyers to you, then you don’t particularly want to be building up a following on Twitter of middle-aged house wives in America.

2. Join on-line networking groups, and become active members of the on-line forums, where potential buyers of your products or services hang out. Ideally, you need to be spending at least 80% of your networking time (whether in person or on-line) with potential buyers.

3. Use your on-line presence to boost traffic to your website. Google ranks the content in blogs above content written in websites. So start a blog, or use your tweets (postings on twitter) to direct potential clients/customers or referrers to your website. Or if you are a busy professional or business owner, get your PA to start tweeting for you… Writing a blog and being an active member of an on-line networking group, such as http://www.4networking.biz/ will help increase your search engine optimisation. Plus you can be a free on-line member of 4networking, and still attend up to 3 breakfast networking meetings before you have to pay a penny!

4. Remember to project your personal image – rather than your company logo. At the end of the day, people still buy from people. Make sure you have a photo of you on all your on-line profiles. Tools such as tweet later enable you to send out scheduled tweets – just make sure you intersperse some of your tweets with some postings with the personal, human touch.

5. Start following potential buyers on Twitter. Very simply use a tool such as Twellow to identify potential buyers of your products and services, and then start following them. Make sure your twitter postings are including links to relevant articles and blogs for the people you start to follow – then you are giving yourself the greatest chance that they start to follow you.

6. Keep your on-line and off-line brand and image consistent. It’s very easy to start diluting the impact of your brand, by giving off different messages from all the communication channels you use to talk to your potential customers. There are some simple things, make sure you are using the same colour scheme, logo and font wherever possible.

7. Do remember that it is 7-14 times more effective to win business from an existing customer rather than a new customer. Enough said really! So use something like LinkedIn as a memory jogger to talk to your existing customers regularly.

8. Ask satisfied clients and customers to write a testimonial for you. But, here is the modern twist. Ask them to write a testimonial for you on LinkedIn, and ask their permission for you to reproduce the testimonial on your website. This way you get another contact on linkedin – and a new list of potential customers.

9. If you don’t like the thought of writing articles or blogs then record audio or video podcasts for posts to YouTube. It is a little known fact that YouTube gets 40 million hits a day, whereas Google (The search engine to be listed on) gets only 20 million hits a day.

10. Keep it simple. You can spend hours writing different blogs & posting articles to different places. Write a blog and have it linked to your website. You may find that your website hoster will offer you a free blog (mine did!) Use a service such as Tweetfeet to post a tweet when your blog is updated.

11. Listen out for people looking for help: But, don’t try to sell to them. (well not to start with!) First of all help them – answering their question/query or direct them to your blog where they can find the answer to their query. The principle of reciprocity means that they are then more likely to do something for you in return… recommend your services… buy your services… return a favour that you ask of them…

Comments
dahowlett's picture

Ye'll never make an accountant

dahowlett | | Permalink

Last year Google was estimated to receive 320 million hits per day i the US alone. Globally, it is estimated to get 2 BILLION hits per day. A simple Google search revealed that ;)

leoludwig's picture

20 million hits per day

leoludwig | | Permalink

@dahowlett: 40M and 20M -> may be they are UK only figures as youtube is well over 1B a day as well :)

dahowlett's picture

Global economy

dahowlett | | Permalink

We live in a global economy and Google search is a global solution. If you have something valuable to say then you'll turn up in Google.com search. That's where the majority of people go...example:  try this search on the term 'NetSuite issues' and you'll see a piece I wrote about this very problem is number 1 on Google. Despite it first appeared over 2 years ago. But rather than argue, try this from Compete. Pretty conclusive.

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I help professionals, mostly accountants and lawyers become the Go-To-Expert. After joining BDO LLP in 2004, I have now almost clocked up ten years working predominantly with accountants helping them achieve their career and business goals. Unusually for someone with an Engineering Degree, I accidentally became a writer and used my knowledge on social media to write the current best-selling and award-winning book on networking, The FT Guide To Business Networking. (over 100 five star reviews on amazon) In 2012, the book I always wanted to write, 'How to make partner and still have a life' was published. In March 2014, my latest book, 'The Go-To-Expert: How to build your reputation, differentiate yourself from the competition and win business' was published. People frequently talk about me as someone who really knows her stuff – which may be the reason I have, over the last decade, worked with over 300 partners, coached and trained over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. 

I am honoured to have been asked to judge the British Accountancy Awards in 2011 and 2012. I am a member of the Accountant's Club Global Advisory Panel, and write regularly on practice management issues for CCH.

Myself, and Jon (my co-director) are approved Growth Accelerator Coaches. This means that we can if you are eligible, through the Growth Accelerator scheme, help you get some coaching funded by the scheme. Click here for more details to see whether you are eligible for the scheme.

Read how we have helped one of our accountancy clients access Growth Accelerator funding to grow their turnover by nearly 50% and profits by over 200%

The types of work I am currently helping my small professional practice clients with, includes:

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3) Enabling a £300k t/o practice grow to £1m by helping it sort out it's profitability by adding in efficient systems and processes, and increasing the quality of the  lead generation by marketing to a niche

4) Facilitating the growth of a one man band practice into a 3 person practice by helping increase the lead generation and conversion rate of leads, plus keeping the practice owner accountable to his goals.

The Excedia Group was founded by myself and Jon Baker to bring clarity, perspective and knowledge to help our clients achieve their business goals. We specialise in working with highly technical individuals, typically lawyers and accountants, helping them to get out of their comfort zone and build a profitable and sustainable client portfolio whilst handling the challenges of leading a business. 

My work splits into about 50% Executive & Business Coaching with Partners & potential partners, with the rest split between training, consultancy and writing.

My articles & quotes regularly appear in the press, e.g. FT, Guardian, Accountancy Age, Accounting Today, Economia, ACCA's publications. I regularly blog at Partnership Potentialventure-NowJoined up networking and How to make partner.

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