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It’s kind of fun. But will it make me any money?

April 30, 2009
How do you use these tools for GOOD??

How do you use these tools for GOOD??

Over and over again, conversations around the power of Social Media consistently boil down to this question:  how do you make money from all that time you’re spending on Facebook (or LinkedIn, or Twitter, et al?).  Well?

Here’s my answer:  use your time to LISTEN.  And then, when you start to see patterns — like a specific need or challenge that people are voicing repeatedly — figure out how to create a product or service that will answer it.

Case in point:  My Social Media 101 workshop.  How did this workshop happen?  I kept seeing folks asking the same kinds of questions over and over:  How do I use Facebook (or LinkedIn, et al) effectively as a business promotional tool?  How can I make it do this for me?  How can I make it do that for me? Sound familiar?

Seeing this pattern, I quickly scheduled a 2-hour workshop for newbies and invited all my friends who I thought might want to attend.  (Note: I didn’t just blanket invite everyone). And I didn’t limit that invitation to Facebook or LinkedIn.  I also sent out an e-mail invitation (because contrary to what you may think, everyone in the world is NOT using social media…yet).  The class filled so quickly (in two days) that I had to schedule another one.

The key is that you don’t start from the point of trying to sell something to someone.  People don’t like to be sold to – they prefer to buy things when it serves them.

Until then, you are ALWAYS in the relationship-building mode.  Pretend you are at a cocktail party.  You are there to have conversations and create new relationships.

Some of the other things you might want to do with your various social media tools:

  • Consider and apply the unwritten rules of offline relationship building to online (e.g. don’t ask people to visit your home or marry you right off the bat – they’ll think you’re weird!)
  • Conduct casual market research – ask questions that pertain to your industry.  If you want to get fancy, there are even 3rd party apps that will integrate with FB so you can poll folks on a specific topic.
  • Invite people to other events – promote offline venues for your friends to come and see you
  • Integrate your efforts with all the other marketing you do (it doesn’t exist on its own)
  • Share your knowledge and know-how.  Be who YOU are in a generous way.
  • Let people know the (really) cool things you’re up to (e.g. when you sign a new, high profile client, or wrap up a project for high profile client)
  • Create a balance between business messages/questions, and personal messages/questions (especially on Facebook!)

Have more ideas?  I invite you to share them here.

Need more ideas? Come to my Social Media 101 workshop on May 12.

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