What’s The Best Social Media Tool?
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What’s The Best Social Media Tool?

Advertising is phony, cold-calling is an interruption, direct mail is bad for the environment, billboards are ignored, and newspapers are wilting. Is there anything that really works? Yes. The answer is YOU and simply building relationships.

Let’s get back to basics – Building relationships has been at the core of business since the first person traded food for a blanket.  It’s fundamental. Fortunately, social media is built on the basis of developing relationships so it’s pretty simple to apply to business. Let me break it down –

People need to know, like, and trust you before they buy anything.  Yes, you need to create awareness by getting your name out there but beyond that people need to get to know you and gain value from knowing you.  Building relationships takes time. It means actually caring, following-up, helping out, being honest, having a sense of humour, and being authentic.

If you want to boost your marketing efforts focus on the ways YOU can provide more value and make more meaningful connections with people. It’s that simple. It’s about being a valuable contributor. More importantly it’s about people and having good manners. Here are some specific examples and tools:

1. Be approachable by showing a genuine interest in others. Twitter is a good tool for learning about others and remarking or inquiring about things you read.  Start following people that interest you and  “reply” to somebody or retweet something they said. Sooner than later you will have new followers.  Rinse and repeat.

2. Always look for the best in people; a sincere compliment goes a long way.  This can be done anywhere and at anytime – Through a conversation, a hand written note, an email, a blog post, a tweet, or a facebook “like”.  Everybody craves recognition – We all seek to feel accepted and appreciated.  Another thing you can do is give recommendations on LinkedIn; the recipient will be encouraged to return the favour.

3. Give and ye shall receive. Sorry to rain on your parade, but customers don’t really care about your company news or staff events. Produce valuable blog posts with tips and advice that people will learn from.  If you don’t want to blog then consider putting on free training events or regular customer appreciation  initiatives.  Use webinars or newsletters or the company facilities to deliver the goods. Share useful articles over twitter or send an email article to a client on a topic that is of interest to them.  There’s lots of ways to give.

4. Encourage conversation and feedback.  The best ideas your company has are likely to come from your customers. Think about it, most companies start off with a product or service but it quickly changes based on what their market wants.  Be open to feedback and encourage it through as many channels as possible.  If you’re worried about negative reviews then take comfort in the fact that 80% of online feedback is generally positive in nature.  If there are negative issues it gives you an opportunity to remedy them.

5. Do the right thing. Looking out for the best interests of your customers will keep them customers.  If you hate getting junk mail and fliers at home why would you want to do it to your customers?  Use good judgment and approach all initiatives with integrity.  Making misleading offers or using unfair pricing practices may help profits in the short run, but it’s not right.  Stay on the level.

I hope you enjoyed these tips and I look forward to hearing others thoughts and experiences.  Thanks for reading.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below OR send me an email OR give me a call at 306 229 9437 OR request a free consultation.  One more option, I offer an email subscription for receiving new blog updates. Choice is good!

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Comments (14)

  1. Mike McCready, September 30, 2010
    Love the post. Its so true! I am reading UnMarketing by Scott Stratten and I love the book because he doesn't really talk about the technology, but the relationships. Social media tools come and go and don't always work for audience, but the one thing that will always work for your audience is you. Reply
    • Harley Rivet, September 30, 2010
      Great to hear from you, Mike. I want to get my hands on a copy of UnMarketing; it sounds like it would be right up my alley! It's all about relationships and social media tools simply give us another channel to foster them. Thanks for commenting! Reply
  2. Jeph Maystruck, September 30, 2010
    Harley great post! I Love this point, "customers don’t really care about your company news or staff events". When organizations are online they usually talk about them selves WAAAAAY too much, I think this is a very underrated point. Kudos! On a side note I like the format of your blog. Makes it easy to skim the titles and forces me to read what I want to learn. Great job man. I use your blog to try and improve mine. Keep up the great work! Cheers, Jeph Reply
    • Harley Rivet, September 30, 2010
      Thanks for the comment, Jeph! I appreciate your feedback and it means a lot coming from another marketing expert. I've always been an advocate of the customer and I've found that if you look at things from their perspective your more likely to be on target. Take care of your customers and they'll take care of you. Thanks, again. Cheers. Reply
  3. Norm Fisher, September 30, 2010
    I've read a number of good "social media" books lately. You've managed to capture the most important elements in an excellent post. As they say, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Building a strong business has always been about the strength of your relationship with your community and those who live in it. Well done Harley! Reply
    • Harley Rivet, September 30, 2010
      Thanks for the compliment, Norm! Some things definitely stay the same. Some practices are timely and some are timeless. Building relationships is a timeless practice it's just the tools that change which enable it. I appreciate your remarks given you have done such an excellent job of fostering community and relationships with your blog - http://www.teamfisher.com Reply
  4. 40deuce, September 30, 2010
    Love this post Harley! I agree that relationships that get built through the use of social media are the most effective tool we have. It's the relationships that are being built through these mediums that are going to have the biggest effect on people and brands. Everything else is just a tool to make these relationships happen. Cheers, Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos Reply
    • Harley Rivet, September 30, 2010
      Thanks for the comment, Sheldon. Based on my personal experience I have managed to spark a number of new relationships through social media with people I wouldn't have otherwise had the chance to interact with. Some of these new relationships have since turned into business, collaboration, and friendship. I find twitter is the best way I make connections. Cheers. Reply
  5. Andrea Hansen, September 30, 2010
    Great article Harley and I agree with all your comments! It's all about relationships! Have you heard of Mitch Joel? I was at a seminar recently and he was the key-note speaker... his books is Six Pixels of Seperation. Reply
    • Harley Rivet, September 30, 2010
      Great to hear from you, Andrea! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I actually got to see Mitch Joel speak at a conference this year, as well - The Art of Marketing in Calgary on June 14th. I was really impressed with his presentation and actually wrote a blog post trying to summarize the main points - http://harleyrivet.com/2010/06/17/the-art-of-digital-marketing-augment-efforts/ Reply
  6. Michael, October 1, 2010
    I like that you go straight to the point in your latest posts, appreciate! Reply
  7. Werner Yusuf, October 1, 2010
    It's interesting how your perception of things change when you adopt a more positive focus in life, it works wonders. Reply
  8. Courtney Wiley, October 26, 2010
    True. It is about getting back to the basics...but just applying what we already know to new media technology. Good post. Appreciate the truth within its simplicity. ;) Reply

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