I read a lot of articles and posts of people questioning the ROI of social media.
I haven't read any about the opportunity cost, and loss of potential loss of business, of not participating in social media.
Social media is about creating, and enhancing relationships. It's also a great way to build awareness, trust, traffic and leads.
People buy products and services, B2B and B2C, from people they know, like and trust.
Social media is a great way to meet people, establish a common ground and build trust. Not unlike attending a networking event or professional conference.
I know many people in business who won't miss an industry trade show but don't see the value of, nor do they participate in, social media.
What are you and your firm missing by failing to build relationships with people online?
Here are five things that come to mind:
- Leads and prospects. More than 60% of the B2B buying decision is made before a prospect contacts a company. Failure to provide relevant information of value and establish a relationship results in a lack of awareness and trust -- and most likely a lack of business. If I do not get the opportunity to know you, and your products or services, on my terms, I am not very likely to even include you in my "considered set."
- The opportunity to solve a prospect's problem. Customers and prospects are using the internet and social media to solve their problems. If you are not using social to answer questions and solve problems you are missing the opportunity to establish yourself, and your firm, as a thought leader, problem solver and solution provider.
- The opportunity to establish you and your business as credible and relevant. While it is critical to deliver a consistent message across all channels failure to deliver any message is a missed opportunity. Your brand and your message needs to be consistent across your website and any channel in which you are providing content. If your message is not consistent, you will confuse your audience -- confusion breeds distrust. On the other hand, lack of any social media presence leads prospects to question your commitment to being a modern, viable, responsible business. Lack of presence = lack of relevance.
- The ability to connect with people. By not being a credible, consistent source of reliable information of value, you miss the opportunity to become a trusted resource with whom people want to connect and follow what you have to say.
- The opportunity to build relationships. Social media is about creating and building relationships. Failure to create, and expand, a relationship is a lost opportunity. Social media has made it tremendously easy to connect with a group of like-minded professionals, or key prospects, all over the world at little to no cost. All you have to do is be open to engaging.