The conversations I keep having with presidents of organizations around social networking go something like this:
“Hi Melissa. We’ve called you in because we are finding that we just are not getting the same results from our marketing initiatives that we used to get.”
I respond, “Yes. I am hearing that from a lot of company heads. What do you think is happening?”
“Well, I think that people just aren’t reading the magazines, newspapers or other publications like they used to; I think, instead they are searching online. for services like ours”
I respond, “It could be. But what other evidence do you have that they have shifted their attention to online search?”
“Because there isn’t a week that goes by that I am sent some kind of email from someone I have met somewhere that mentions things about me like ‘I know you are an avid golfer.’ or ‘In that talk you gave at The Executive Club you shared some great insights on new product devleopment.’ or ‘Congratulations on that 10K race you ran.’ They are getting this information from online sites. There is no question. People are searching online for me and our organization.”
So now that these companies are “awake in the network” what can we do to make social networking more successful? Simply, focus on mutually beneficial opportunities versus the “what’s in it for you” mindset. What would this look like? Taking the time to really get to know what unique problems your prospects and clients are experiencing. From the conversation above, I know that my prospects and clients want to know what to do to keep up or even ahead of the curve around social networking. My goal is to not just push my services but to provide solutions that address their current needs. One quick example would be the upcoming presentation I am making to heads of pubic relations for about 45 top colleges. I spent the last weekend analyzing each school’s website to see who was on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I then went through each participant’s LinkedIn profile to see how developed each was or was not. I did searches on Google on each school to see what they were doing outside of their main site. I was looking for a good snapshot of the quantity and quality of their social media activites.
Now I have a much better understanding of the gaps they have created and are in need of being filled with suggestions I can offer and by doing so, ad great value. The process is the same for you and your industry. What else can you offer here? What gaps are you seeing in your industry? What solutions do you have to offer that others would benefit from receiving?