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The following is an excerpt from our Guide, The Business Case for Social Media for Business Owners and Executives Who Hate Social Media. It’s a complete introduction about the practical uses of social media for business. Premium Members have full access now. If you’re a Free Member, you can gain access instantly when you go Premium now!
Conversations happen all around you.
People discuss the weather.
They chat about their favorite sports team.
They converse about the issue du jour.
And they talk about your business.
Are you part of the conversation? Should you be part of it?
These conversations have always taken place. They used to happen when two friends talked on the phone. They took place via e-mail. They happened at the coffee shop.
They still happen in all of those places. But there’s a new place for conversation – the social web.
It’s the virtual coffee klatch!
It’s the same conversation. It’s just a different medium. In this medium, the conversations are more visible. They linger longer. More people are privy to them.
The virtual coffee klatch is word of mouth on steroids!
Like many tools, social media can work for or against you. That’s one reason why you need to understand this virtual world. Like any other tool, it will work for you if you know how to use it properly.
The new leverage
Another reason to understand these new tools is this: When it comes to communication, social media evens the playing field between small and large businesses.
You can compete effectively against large businesses in the social media space. In fact, you have a competitive advantage.
Social media creates leverage that didn’t exist before. This isn’t the kind of leverage that’s normally discussed in the business world. Using social media as the lever, you can:
- build better relationships with customers
- maintain more relationships
- discover opportunities to serve your customers
- reduce communication costs in the long-term
- serve your community in new ways
- drive value to your business
This new leverage creates social capital. In today’s business world, social capital translates into financial value.
Fad or trend?
You may still be skeptical. You’re not alone – we’ve talked with many business owners and executives who are.
They proudly state they don’t see the value. “I don’t care what you had for lunch” is a common way to express their disbelief.
We were at an event talking with a group of business owners about growing their business. We had a line afterwards as people continued to ask questions.
One gentleman stood back from the crowd. As people came up, he motioned for them to get in front of him in line. Once everyone else was gone, he greeted us and asked:
“Do you think this social media thing is just a passing fancy? We’re seeing it’s max now. It’s going to go away, right?”
You could see the glimmer of hope in his eye. It quickly disappeared as we gave him our answer. But we’re all about entreprenurturing™. Tough love is still love. So we gave it to him gently but directly. Here’s what we said:
“As the Chief Executive Officer of your business, it’s important to distinguish between trends and fads. So your question is a good one.
The social web is definitely not a fad. It’s a trend. And we’ve barely scratched the surface…we’re in the beginning stages.
Ignoring it is risky. But here’s the thing – once you really understand it, you will see it’s just another tool in your kit. You just have to learn how to use it to grow your business.”
Just the facts
Are you a “by the numbers” kind of executive? Great! Let’s look at some numbers from a survey of 700 companies. Here’s what they had to say about social media:
- 97% saw benefit and value from using it
- 58% said it increased sales and partnerships
- 41% reported reduced costs thanks to it
We’re just about ready to move on. Before we do, we just want to give you one more piece of information.
We’ve been at this for a while. We’ve noticed the social space evolves much like any other marketplace – the new builds on the old. Here’s what that means: new social tools tend to build on existing social tools.
So the longer you wait to participate, the less intuitive it will seem. That’s the reality – the future is bright for those who understand the bytes!
What advice do you have about using social media for a business?