10 Critical Identifications To Make In Social Media For Business

Our host today is Ryan Critchett. If you're interested in getting in front of the readers of Site Sketch 101, check out our guest posting invitation here.

Social media is new, so there is much to learn from it. It’s taken the world by surprise, it’s toppled governments, and it’s connected millions of people around the globe. It has also given business people an amazing opportunity to reach potential and existing customers in a very different way.

The challenge is, if you don’t truly understand its benefits, you may never really be able to glean from it, the results it can truly bring to you. In this article, I want to lay out 10 critical identifications that once made, can truly change the way you interact, as a business, with social technology. The social business by Salesforce offers social networking solutions for companies.

They Won’t Listen Unless You Build Substance

A lot of people think that they can sign up for a Twitter account, and start posting their messages right away. “The more followers I can get, the better exposure we can get for our company,” they think. But the problem with that is, this isn’t traditional media and if you’re not building substance (a couple online conversations, some smiley faces, or maybe even a real life interaction), you’re really just tuning more people out.

Your audiences, followers and friends will start paying attention to your tweets for business once you actually do the groundwork of establishing emotional connections with them. Now they won’t ignore your tweets and posts, and they’ll actually start listening to you.

Stream And Reply

I own a tech repair business. I repair computers, iPhones and other technologies. To this day, the single most effective social strategy for my company has been to find streams of information and reply to them. This could mean friending people on Facebook, going down their entire profile page, and replying to anything you find humoring, entertaining or conversation provoking.

For Twitter it means using a target market specific search to find people talking, within the area you do business. For example, if you wanted to get a stream of all conversations happening within 15 miles of Easton, PA, you would type: near:”Easton, PA” within:15mi in the search box, and let the stream come in. Then your mission becomes extremely simple: reply!

You’re Influencing Buying Decisions Through Social Experiences

Too many people are approaching social media, and the quest for ROI (return on investment), looking to get the dollar return right away. If the dollars don’t come in, people begin to question the efficacy of communicating with people on these channels.

The reality is, you’re not selling to people in social, they’re not there to be sold to. But what you do have a golden opportunity to do is influence them positively through a social experience. A conversation, a retweet of something they put a lot of time into, a good morning a couple times a week, the list goes on! Building social experiences with people binds you to their trust receptors. You’re building awareness in their minds, of your company, every time you do that. To me, someone in my target market feeling positively about my brand, is a very powerful thing. That influences buying decisions.

Engage In The Process Of Social Placement

Because trying to sell to people is going to turn them away, your mission really becomes placement. What you want to do is place yourself in their minds so that when they think of your product or service, they automatically think of you. This is called “free advertising!”

The brain has what’s called a “reference system” that it uses to call upon certain information to help you make decisions. If, by communicating, replying and being in the mix with the people in your target market, you put yourself right in the middle of their decision making processes, you’ll have a great chance of their brains referencing your company to do business with.

Having Conversations With Brands Excites People

If you would have told me, 10 years ago, that I could have an actual conversation, for free, with representatives of some of my favorite companies, both local and global, I would have thought you were stark raving mad. But now it’s a reality and that excites people.

The emotion of excitement, attached to your brand in your potential customer’s mind, is a very powerful thing. Reply with enthusiasm, spark exciting conversations and give people the experience of interfacing directly with your brand out there in social. The opportunity is massive!

Social Media Is A Lot Like Real Life Relationships

In life, when you “get to know someone,” you’re learning bits and pieces of their personalities as you continue to talk and be with them, and you’re building more points of comfort with them as well. However, that takes time, and it’s no different with social media.

The only way to approach social media for business is to roll your sleeves up, and prepare for a long ride. Have a six month outlook. Be looking to build results that will manifest themselves a year down the line and really start ingraining yourself into the minds and hearts of the people you want to reach. The single most troubling element in the psychology of people tinkering with social media is the need to get results right away. Despite what they think it’ll do, it does the opposite. When you try to get results now, what you’re actually doing is prolonging results. Treat every interaction like a real relationship, and cultivate it with care.

Now’s Your Chance To Beat Your Competitors

I always say this: if your competitors are out there building trust with your target market, they simply have the edge over you. Don’t let that happen. The opportunity to truly connect with people in your target market is so massive, that it gives you the immediate edge over all of your competitors, especially if they’re not taking advantage of it.

I have completely entrenched myself into the local Twitter community in my target area. I have conversations with the locals everyday. I’ve had coffee with some of them and I’m getting leads from Twitter, and doing business with people, weekly. If my competitors showed up on the scene and started talking to people, they’d be light years behind me and it would take a while to catch up. Not to mention, I already have a multitude of trust points built with my target territory. Social media is truly a powerful way to edge out your competition.

Volume Is King

Though you want to have depth in your interactions, the more people you reach, the better. The great part is, you can have the best of both worlds by striving to reach more people, and developing meaningful, in-depth relationships with each of them.

For any company, particularly one in the startup phase, awareness is your best friend. The more people you can get to know about your brand, and the services (or products) you provide, the better chance you have to receive leads on a consistent basis. Establish connections with people, deepen those connections, but don’t stop there! There are many more people to meet, and there is always more trust to be built.

The Effect Extends Past The Internet

Having an interesting, in-depth conversation with someone in your target market, may spawn a whole new conversation about that interaction, the next day when that person has breakfast with their 5 friends. Making positive impressions and delivering meaningful social experiences to people will get them to talk about you to others.

Everyone is looking for something interesting to talk about. We all want to scream and yell about the cool things going on in our lives and social media gives you a great opportunity to get right in there, and build those experiences with the people you’re targeting. It doesn’t end on the internet, it extends out into people’s everyday lives. Be prevalent in their minds as much as possible, and let the firestorm of word of mouth run its course for you.

Leads Do NOT Come When You Want Them To

We’d all like to believe the leads are going to start pouring in once we start interacting with people and getting out there. The truth is, just like in traditional marketing, leads often come when people need you not when you want them to call you.

Don’t get frustrated by the inability to be able to create leads fast, but rather, focus on maintaining a consistent flow of interactions with the people you’re trying to reach. You’ll begin to see that the more you stay consistent, the more the leads become consistent. You cannot control when people need your services, but you can control how prevalent you are in their minds. Keep at it, you’ll get the results.

In summation, the “art of social media” is really not an art at all. It’s about consistently doing the right things, over a long period of time. I hope this article has given you some insight into what those things are, and a closer, more detailed look into the psychology of creating ROI in social media.

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22 Vibrant Comments

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  1. January 13, 2012

    Nicholas Cardot said:

    Often I read through articles like this and I’m able to glean a little golden nugget of truth that really sticks with me, but that’s not the case with this article. There are so many nuggets here that I feel I could melt them all together and walk away with a couple pieces of gold bullion.

    Your concepts about the 6 month outlook, about building relationship that are both in-depth and in volume, about targeting local social channels and more…they’re all gold mines. I couldn’t feel more satisfied after reading an article like this. I feel like I need to slow down and read it again after thinking about it for a little while.

    These tips aren’t just pie-in-the-sky principles. They’re actionable…and I like that!

    Thanks, Ryan!

    • January 13, 2012

      Ryan Critchett said:

      Nick! Thanks for that awesome comment. I know just what you mean and I wanted to make sure there were many identifications to take away from this.

      Glad you find them actionable! Your comment has officially been nominated as one of the best comments I’ve ever seen!

      Thanks a lot Nick, it was fun writing this and I’m glad you liked it. πŸ™‚

  2. January 13, 2012

    james said:

    very interesting
    and yes,it is such an important tool now,so many people depend upon it, but placement is everything!!!

    also though is the fact it ios becoming the definition of relationships

    its a huge market in there
    someone could get lost πŸ˜€
    thanks heaps πŸ™‚

    • January 13, 2012

      Ryan Critchett said:

      Sure James, thanks for coming.

      Glad you agree that placement is everything. I think if people focused more on subtle, emotionally connecting placement, than direct sales and leads TODAY, they’d do a lot better.

      Thanks again for stopping by πŸ™‚

  3. January 14, 2012

    oleg said:

    Social media is head component in advertising our business. Great article.

    • January 14, 2012

      Ryan Critchett said:

      Now a days, it should be a head component in everyone’s strategy! It’s amazing how people are actually accepting that now a days. I love it!

      Thanks for commenting, Oleg.

  4. January 18, 2012

    Adrian said:

    Hey Ryan, you have just said everything in simplistic and lucid language. I got to know that the Social media is not just about having a big group of people following you but it’s(as the name implies–Social) being social and listening and responding to others(those ones who really want to listen you. I strongly agree with you regarding the selling thoughts on SMO, we should never directly endorse our products/services in social networks to be bought,instead it will be wiser , if we show the main features and importance of the products/services. There are many things which I want to write but for now this much is enough. thanks once again Ryan.

    • January 18, 2012

      Ryan Critchett said:

      Thanks Adrian, your comment was awesome.

      True, as “build up and push” as it looks, it’s more about “build up and talk to every single one of those people, daily.”

      My pleasure, friend! Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting.

  5. January 18, 2012

    Sonia said:

    Ha! Found you over here! LOL! R, this was awesome. Your approach has to be spot on when you start out. People want to know what’s it in for them and not what’s in it for you.

    I can’t stand a hard sales pitch when all I am looking for is information. When people are upfront with me this ensures that I won’t be smacked with any surprises later.

    The more you help others, the more they end up helping you because they “like” you. People first, products last.

    • January 18, 2012

      Ryan Critchett said:

      Thanks Agent S πŸ™‚

      Good point. In it for them and not you. They wanna know!

      As easy as the “like” principle is, it’s really difficult for some people to get.

      That’s why I feel like you really need human sensibility in your social media engagement. If it was as easy as pasting links and pressing submit, everyone would be successful in social. Gladly, you have to have skills.

      Cool seeing you here. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  6. January 19, 2012

    Becca said:

    Social Media has been a big part of internet marketing whether we like it or not.Most of our prospect client or customer is in social media or networking sites.

    Through interaction is a possibly start of business relationship.

    • January 21, 2012

      Ryan Critchett said:

      Hey Becca,

      I’m glad you see the so obvious truth. Our potential customers are all out there. If you’re skilled, they can become our definite customers.

      Thanks for your comment! And thanks for coming.

  7. January 21, 2012

    Jim Clary said:

    The idea of social media is by no means anything new, we just have a different way to look at it.

    Network marketing has ALWAYS been about relationships. In most cases, the product or service is secondary, people will join YOU because of the relationship. I truly enjoyed your article, look forward to more.

    • January 22, 2012

      Ryan Critchett said:

      Ya know Jim, I’m glad you said that. It really has always been this way. All about the depth of connections you have with people.

      It’s amazing how many people don’t realize that opportunity here in social. But hey, we can capitalize on it!!

      Thanks for your awesome comment. πŸ™‚ Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  8. January 22, 2012

    Anja@ Ascentive said:

    “Treat every interaction like a real relationship, and cultivate it with care.”
    These are so true words. When you understand the value of a friendship and its relationship, you don’t care about the amount of friends you have listed on your profile but who they are as they contribute to your success.


    • January 24, 2012

      Ryan Critchett said:

      Anja, you awesome person you!

      Glad you align with that. It takes a sensible, aware person to realize what you said. Glad you’re on top of it! Attention world, we need more people like Anja!!

      Great comment. Thanks for reading.

      • January 25, 2012

        Anja@ Ascentive said:

        You are very welcome Ryan πŸ™‚

        Someday, users with 900 friends on their profile will understand that too!


  9. January 24, 2012

    Jordan said:

    What a great idea! I will apply this method when I find myself fresh out of ideas. A huge plus to reengage your new readers with some of your good material they might have missed.

    • January 24, 2012

      Ryan Critchett said:

      Does that sound like a plan to me? Heck yea! Sounds like a plan!

      Glad you understand and advocate what we’re talking about here. Social media seems to take a good amount of thinking, a great amount of awareness, and a ton of real human interaction to be effective.

      Luckily, if you do all the right things, results happen by default! (providing you have a good product or service)

  10. January 25, 2012

    Avatar said:

    β€œSocial media is a lot like real life relationships”
    Absolutely! Building a relationship is a gradual process. As you go on with the process with great care, perseverance the result will positive. πŸ™‚

  11. January 28, 2012

    pepaya said:

    Social Media be a part of Internet marketing. our prospective clients or customers in social media or networking sites. by the Social Media can create a business relationship.

  12. May 4, 2012

    Alan | Life's Too Good said:

    Hey Ryan,

    this is a really well put together article which unlike a lot of articles (tips, tricks & tactics) on social media actually addresses some real concrete issues (e.g. people ‘tuning out’).

    In my experience because of the low barriers to entry and so much spam around, people may ‘tune out’ anyway just because they are busy or assumptions are made – even if you do have a strong and genuine message – so not easy.

    You make some great points and it was a really interesting read – one way I look at it is that most people look at this new communication medium and forget about the first word (‘Social’).