Editor’s Note: Ms. Carnahan strikes at the crux of how social media can be effective for a small business. It is not just about a constant outbound stream of content – though that is an element. It is about extending the relationship online in a meaningful way. It is one of the reasons we often tell advisors it is NOT about how many followers or connections you have – but are they engaging with you in some form or fashion? If you look between the lines here you will also see a reference to CRM – an essential tool in any financial practice. However, are you finding ways to connect your social connections to CRM (which leads to email marketing opportunities)?
Growing up I was blessed with a wonderful father who gave me valuable lessons for running my own business. He was a well-loved electrician who worked on televisions, radios, stereos and other electronics.
I remember when I visited him he would always have TV’s and radios stacked along the walls in the huge dining room in his home. In those days he made house calls and if he wasn’t able to fix the device in the customer’s home, he would bring them back home to work on.
His workstation was the dining room where he always had stacks of business cards along with pieces of paper with notes and addresses on them. Alongside the cards was a stack of plain envelopes, a roll of stamps, notepad and a pair of scissors.
Each day while reading the newspaper or a magazine he would talk to me about what he found, “OH!, Sherry, we need to send this article out to Joe Cummings, he would really enjoy it”. He’d pick up the scissors, cut the article out, write a note and stuff both in an envelope. Many times he would ask me to address and stamp them.
It wasn’t until years later when he passed away that it dawned on me what he was doing. As I went through the pockets of his clothes and his big thick wallet filled with business cards I found notes on almost every one of them. Notes that read:
‘Nice young man, he gave me a ride one day’.
‘Loves the Cinci Reds and going to baseball games’
‘Goes fly fishing every weekend in the summer’
My dad didn’t have monthly newsletters or a website to market his business. What he did have was the gift of “relationship marketing”. He paid attention to his customers and the people he came in contact with. This is also why he was so well loved and why I believe his business flourished. He remembered people and they remembered him. It was the “know, like and trust” factor that is so important when marketing your business, regardless of what industry you are in. When a customer’s electronics went bad or someone they knew needed help, my dad’s name was first on their referral list.
Ultimately, isn’t that what our goal is with social media? Instead of sitting at our desks and clipping out articles to send to people, we scour the Internet, read articles, news, watch videos and then post onto the various social media platforms when we see something of interest to our readers and followers. The problem is that most people are busy posting these different mediums but they aren’t taking the time to build relationships. Without that personal touch your missing out on valuable connections that are available to you. After all, it is called “Social” Media Marketing not “Media” Marketing.
What if you did what my dad would have done? Instead of just posting to post, he would have grabbed a cup of coffee while logging into his social media platforms and scour the profiles of his newest followers. There would be no need to write things down to remember them because he would be genuinely interested in the people and so it would automatically go into his memory file. He would also be observant and take notice of what other people were saying or sharing and he would join in on some conversations. I have a vision of him locating an article or watching a video that someone would like and saying, “Oh! Sherry, we need to tag Katie Brown on this right away!”
In fact, not long ago I thought of him while I was on Pinterest. I saw a pretty neat Rock Climbing Lego IPad cover. I remembered seeing the profile of a Web Designer that follows me on Twitter. Her profile mentions “loves Legos” and the pictures she posts are of entire towns made of Legos (they are pretty elaborate so it sticks in my memory). Like my dad, I couldn’t wait to tweet the picture to her. As I did, I remembered another friend on a different platform that loves rock climbing and his iPad so the picture was perfect for him too. They both thought the picture was “cool” and we’ve been building a “social” relationship ever since.
Relationship marketing has been around for a long time, it just has a new name, Social Media Marketing . It’s here to stay. If you’re struggling to make it work I would ask that you take a step back and review what you’re doing. It doesn’t take much to add a line of text or tag someone when you post that next article. Start mixing your posts up with some conversation and some old school relationship marketing, you just might find yourself not only enjoying it but building your know, like and trust factor one post at a time.