Whilst it’s relatively simple (if time consuming), to develop a large social network, many business owners tell me they find it difficult to successfully market their products or services via social networks.
Here’s why I believe this happens & how to fix it!
People talk in terms of “increased brand awareness” and “being part of the conversation,” yet many struggle to turn the time they invest in social networking, into bankable results for their business.
One person, with over 100,000 people in his social network, told me that he has not made a penny for the thousands of hours he has invested in developing it.
Social network or commercial network?
Part of the marketing challenge with social networking, is the social part. Our social network is considered by most, to be our family and friends – The people we actually socialise with outside work. This helps explain why people get the same negative response when they try and “sell” something on a social network, that Multi Level Marketers used to get; back in the old days when they were told to sell to their family and friends.
It just feels wrong!
Whilst professional networks like LinkedIn are designed from the ground up for commercial networking, other networks like FaceBook and Twitter etc were not. These were designed for social networking – Places where family and friends can keep in touch and have fun.
If someone uses Twitter or FaceBook for business and they are not getting the results they want, I find it’s usually because they have built a social network, instead of a commercial one. When they then introduce a commercial component to their messages, their social network often kicks back against it. If you have used Twitter for any period of time, you will know exactly what I mean!
As I write this, my business has generated over £60,000, via commercial contacts I have made on Twitter in 2009. I have a 100% commercial network on Twitter and as such, I love to chat about marketing and share great marketing ideas with people. Yes, I let my personality come through, but I do that off-line too.
Because people know me as a marketing professional on Twitter, if I had a marketing book and offered it to my network there, it would feel right to them. It would be totally consistent. Equally, because people associate me with the marketing of small and medium sized businesses, when they want to speak with a marketing specialist, they feel totally comfortable giving me a call.
Commercial networking tip
If you network online for commercial reasons (like I do), focus on developing a great commercial network.