Social Media…Does Anyone Really Know the Answer Yet?

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00239_00120Social Media…Does anyone really know the answer yet?

I have made it one of my New Year’s resolutions to try and figure out the ins and outs of social media. In reality there is too much info to consume and it is changing faster than I can keep up. It is a challenge to say the very least and is really a full time job.

I can go on Twitter and be flooded with tips and techniques used to increase sales, gain followers and build new relationships. The process can be so overwhelming and just when I think my brain is ready to explode… the power of social media shines when I am least expecting it.

I bought a new curling iron (yeah I know girlie stuff). I decided on one Sunday morning to try it out on my 5 year old daughter. I posted a picture of her (with her 15 year old attitude) on Facebook.  Suddenly friends are commenting and sending me messages asking me about the curling iron and without realizing it I was now promoting it…just like that. A handful of friends bought the curling iron and about a dozen asked me for the brand, price and where to get it. Because I was pleased with the product I was happy to share.

How can it be that simple?

So now the wheels are turning…How do I get our clients talking about us? It is obvious that referrals are the way to go…but that is nothing new, it is Marketing 101.

But an AV system is a lot more complicated than a curling iron…Asking clients for referrals is awkward and uncomfortable and if we ask the question. “Do you know anyone who would benefit from our services?” it is too broad and most just draw a complete blank as a response. We need a program in place and I am starting to think that Social Media is the answer.

We are continuing to grow with Twitter and it works wonders for conversation, sharing news, PR and getting info out to the masses. We have recently joined Pinterest and are starting to  build our boards. But I know that we are not using LinkedIn or Facebook for all the capabilities they have to offer.  There could be an entire network of potential business right in front of us if we really look for it. Who are our contacts connecting with?  Should we just ask clients for specific introductions? Maybe we even make it easy for them and draft a letter for them to cut and paste right into an email. Do we offer an incentive when a job is complete for a positive recommendation on LinkedIn? I would probably take five minutes out of my day. But would we establish qualified leads this way?

Maybe….maybe not…this plan would take a lot of effort from an already very busy sales staff. I can’t promise anyone that this program would even be successful. The roadmap our VP of Sales has tasked each and every employee with is a simple one. Please have a conversation with your clients. Social Media was built for this request.

So will they jump on-board?

What I do know is that the way we communicate with each other is changing and we need to adapt our marketing plans but the process will need to be as simple as possible. Time for a dashboard and social monitoring…my head is spinning again…Tweetdeck, Hootsuite,Netvibes, MarketMeSuite among others and now Nimble the CRM that integrates email, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to see all conversations in one stream. Unified Communications for social media…HUM…I think I have heard this term before somewhere.  The possibilities are endless.  Is anyone else’s brain ready to explode?