Social media is online networking for your business

March 12, 2013

By Paul Garfunkel, Intek Leasing

I have been asked several times why social media is beneficial to my business. The answer is simple, social media is the online equivalent of a networking event. These days it’s harder and harder to meet with prospective clients face to face. In my case, I service clients all over the United States so social media is the best way to get my message out to a large audience.

When you say “social media,” most people think of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like. But social media does not end there! For instance, I serve multiple markets. To reach professionals and customers in these markets, I use eBay, Craigslist, Dealer Car Search, Truck Paper, Shred Truck Outpost and Constant Contact to get my messages out there. The truth is all of these sites are credibility builders. Currently, I have 329 friends on Facebook, 253 contacts on LinkedIn, 153 followers on Twitter and 2,337 people on my newsletter lists. That might not sound too impressive but I have no filler because my contacts are industry specific people. I try to make sure I don’t communicate with those who cannot benefit from my message.

I think the biggest issue with social media is the belief that it works overnight. Now, you may be lucky and get results quickly. But it’s like a seed you plant. It will sprout but, without light and water, it will die. So when you find something that works, continually feed it. If Facebook yields more results than Myspace, then put your attention toward your Facebook page. But, remember, everything you do on the Internet yields results. And, whether you like it or not, people can see what others have to say about you through a simple Google search.

Your motto should be keep your friends close and keep you customers as friends. Now I am serious as a heart attack that you have to be a friend, not just play one. You need to be an adviser and be there 95% of the time when it has nothing to do with business. Take calls on the weekends and evenings and give your clients access to you. My saying is that I am available 24/7 but, if it’s not urgent, no calls after 10 p.m. Your biggest deal may be decided on a Sunday afternoon while you are with family and friends because your clients know you will answer even on a Sunday afternoon.

I am not suggesting that sales is the only reward. The relationships you form can help you professionally, and your social media outlets are ways to keep in touch with your customers and friends. Social media gives you a place to put you and your business out in the world and build networks of friends. The more friends you have, the richer your life is. Wouldn’t you agree? On Friday, March 22, be sure to check out Learn it or Lose it: An Interactive Social Media Intensive at the NAID conference where I will be hosting the panel discussion.