I know, Social Media isn’t the easiest thing to grasp, especially if you’re busy doing what you do normally. But as usual, the business world evolves and you need to evolve with it.
Here’s how the Social Media Cycle goes:
- Start with potential customers who don’t know you or your business.
- They have a need have questions.
- They research before purchasing; typically using a search engine. (Yes, making fun of the phone books in the recycle bin. It’s wasted ad money in my opinion)
- They perform a search using common search queries like what, where, how, who, etc. and lucky for you, they find you and do business with you.
So far, pretty routine stuff, right? We’re just using the Internet to research.
But Here’s Where Things Get Interesting in 2012!
In late 2011, Google began including relationships and personal search along with its normal keyword related search. This meant it began looking at Social Media channels like Facebook, YouTube, Google Plus and other socially active arenas to help personalize your search results.
This is a big game-changer. A normal business website will not likely compete as well in the same search results as their competitors already using Social Media channels to manage their reputation and interact with their customers socially. Simply put: if you’re not connected to Social Media channels, you’re going to go the end of the search results line.
OK, back to the Cycle – after they did business with you:
- Post-sale, customer goes about their business.
- Happy, angry or neutral with their experience, they’ll likely chat about their experience with someone somewhere sometime online, maybe with Facebook or something else. This idle chat now becomes part of search results and shows relationships involving your business!
- The Cycle now repeats: through Social Media, the experience a customer just had with your business may influence the choices of potential new customers. Your customers are making informed decisions based on word-of-mouth and search engines are helping them!
Why Social Media All of a Sudden?
Actually, this is not that new of a change. If you look back at Google’s history, it’s been trying to get “social” for years. Social Media is simply word-of-mouth. It’s not a monologue, it’s a dialogue and lots of people are talking about lots of things – maybe even your business. All of those words spoken online every second are being stored away and used for searches.
Other points to add: Social Media is email too! You use that, don’t you? Websites that share content with their readers (or blogs) have been around for many years. Forums and chat rooms too! What about eBay? Yep… another social arena for many years too. AOL chat, Instant Messaging, texting… need I go on?
So you see, this isn’t really a new thing at all. It’s just another shift of how we think about communicating with our customers and how new ones will find us in the future. They will research you, rest assured. Will you be ready for them?
How Do You Leverage This Change?
- You NEED to get involved. Being proactive can build great reviews online and also help avoid a firestorm of bad reviews, even unjustified ones.
- Your site needs to be socially connected to your social accounts even if you’re not socially active.
- Are you good at something? If so, share your knowledge. You have to give content to get customers. It’s no different than the business card you hand out.
- Learn what these Social Media channels are, like Facebook and others. See my links below. Also, go to YouTube.com and search for topics that interest you!
- Change your thinking from “This is a bunch of crap. I don’t have time for this” to “I can always have someone do this for me if I don’t want to be involved”.
Your first homework assignment: see that little Facebook “Like” button below? If you have a Facebook account, click on it. If you don’t, then it’s time to sign up, even if you have no clue what you’re doing. I’ll help you with that. Once you’ve clicked that Like button, you’ve just entered the world of Social Media sharing! There’s no turning back now.