If you are a small business and you are engaged in social networking online, there is a time for personal socializing, and a time to get busy and do business networking. They aren’t the same. I find far too many small business owners are mixing the two because perhaps they have a page on Facebook, and they have grown up in an era alongside the social networking venue. Then they try to slightly change their style to help their business, and that’s when the trouble starts. Let’s talk. Learn more by visiting Houston Business Spotlight.
There is a time for social networking, and a time for business networking. No, I’m not suggesting that you push too hard in the business networking venue, but you need to make it clear that you are business networking, and not try to hide the fact, or get people to assume that there is no profit motive, when there definitely is. Otherwise you spent all of your time trying to manipulate the emotions of others under a falsehood, one which is easily read, and therefore makes you look as if you’re hiding something and becoming disreputable.
If you are charged by another person online as being all business, admit the fact that you are in business to make money, and that you’d rather do business with friends if at all possible. Let them know that it’s okay if they never purchase a product or service from you, but to please be good enough to refer you to their friends if the topic or subject comes up. That’s how you handle that. Further, if you want to do business networking correctly, especially if you have a small business where most of your clientele is local, then you need to encourage your customers to participate with you, and reward them for doing so.
How might you reward them you ask? Well, that is a decent question, and it should be in the same vein as customer loyalty programs, or customer discount cards, or special offers that you explain or offer only online, or only to those folks who frequent your social networking page. You might find that people come more often if they know there is a personal gain for them. At that point they realize that they also have a profit motive as well, therefore it’s much harder for them to charge you with not caring and only wanting to make a profit.
Lastly, the best thing you can do is try to merge the two worlds, that is to say as you do with Chamber of Commerce networking, and engage in other local business activities, you should be inviting people to your social networking page, and corresponding with them and their business and cross referring as much as possible. If you do that, you can expect good referrals in the real world where people are purchasing real products and services, along with continued interest and growth on your social networking site.
Indeed, of course I wish you the best of success, and I hope you will heed this advice, because it is quite apparent to me that far too many people are doing it wrong, and spending countless hours on social networks without getting any benefit. They are trying, but it’s not working, and they may even be jeopardizing future sales without even knowing it. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.