Hi Everyone! Emily A. Hay here and right now I want you to get very comfortable because today I am serving you a Social Media Strategy Tini!
Yes, “tini”, as in “martini” and the reason for the martini analogy is because as a business professional, I am sure you can appreciate the value in attending a great networking happy hour.
Check out my video where I break down what makes networking in person so effective and how some of those elements translate perfectly over to making you an effective networker online via social media!
Be sure to share this link with your facebook friends and twitter with the buttons above – drinks are ON ME!
Cheers to Your Social Media Strategy!
As a small business owner attending a chamber of commerce event after work or as a real estate investor attending a REIA meeting, you understand how the professional yet social atmosphere gives you the unique opportunity to connect with people in a meaningful way that you just can’t during the workday.
When you connect with people socially at a networking event, you can really accelerate building the rapport you want because we all know people are more likely to do business with people they like. If you can network in person and make meaningful connections with people, it is not outside of your wheelhouse to use social media online to do the same.
As for anyone that has attended a networking event and felt it was totally not for you. Maybe you were uncomfortable or felt it was a waste of time, I am confident that once you see what it takes to make a networking session very productive, you will be able to make a few small tweaks and will be surprised how well you can do both on and offline.
So let’s first talk about a networking session that you attended that was a huge success for you. You made a few great connections I with people…you got your card in front of people that are strong prospects to do business with. You already know how you are going to follow up to make something happen. I bet you even called your spouse on your way home and said “Wow, I am so glad I went,”
Well I am pretty sure that either one all 3 of these things happened to make it such a success:
- You had a strong sense of what the event would be like – you knew the type of people gathering – you researched the organization hosting, it was your line of business, knew how to dress, how to act, you felt comfortable with your surroundings.
- You made a mental list of the people you wanted to be sure to meet – you were prepared you had your cards and knew who you had to connect with
- You knew ahead of time how you were going to describe your business – you had your elevator pitch ready
Do I sense some nodding?
So whether or not you realized it, having thought about just those 3 things, you had your strategy ready, you were prepared to make the night a success.
Now, think about a networking happy hour that you went to that was more of a strikeout…
- You didn’t know what to expect – you thought, ”whatever happens happens.”
- You got stuck talking to only 1 or 2 people the entire night – even worse if its someone you already knew – this happened because you didn’t have anyone better in mind to move onto…so you left without meeting one person you felt is worth following up with
- You didn’t know how to describe your business to that audience – you were tripping over your words and not feeling clear and confident about your messaging.
Then to add insult to injury, on your drive home you called your significant other and said, “That was SUCH a waste of time.”
I know what you went through, I have been through it…once…and I didn’t let it happen again. I quickly learned that in order to be an effective networker offline & online via social media, you have to prepare and have a strategy behind your actions.
So let’s take these points from a successful networking event OFFLINE and bring them on over to your social media presence ONLINE.
As you can see in the social media strategy tini, your business is primarily represented online via your blog, it’s the main ingredient in your social media presence (it’s the vodka in your martini!).
When you show up at a networking happy hour, you look professional, you don’t show up looking sloppy without any business cards, you portay a strong polished feel. That’s what your blog is to you through social media – an online representation of yourself.
These other ingredients in the social media strategy tini – your Facebook & Linkedin profiles, your Twitter, YouTube & Digg accounts they are outlets to communicate with the people you want to connect with, just like knowing who you want to meet at a networking event.
Think of your social media profiles as an online version of a handshake, reaching out to people, introducing yourself and starting a conversation with them. The profiles extend invitations to people to get to know you back on your blog. Even this twist of Facebook ads, when used correctly, it extends another invitation to people to get to know your business so you can build rapport.
Just as you prepare for a happy hour by planning what you are going to say about your business, you do the same by planning out your strategic messages. When you go to different events, you meet different groups of people and expand the reach of your network. The one thing you want to keep consistent is the messaging about your business. You don’t walk up to a different person and tell a different story about your business everytime, that is confusing for both the prospect and for you as the business owner!
Also, through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube you engage in a social way that starts a relationship; its not always just about “talking business”. So by doing a little preparation ahead of time of what you are going to say can go a long way…
Your free time as a small business owner is so limited to attend these networking events and to spend time online, you have to be sure you make the most of your time and create those meaningful connections that you and your business deserve.
I hope that you now feel like the next time you go to a networking happy hour you will be prepared to make meaningful connections with people. Even if you’ve had great experiences at a networking event before, maybe now you are clearly aware of what you did right because its that activity that is going to ultimately drive more business to you and make you more successful. And if you have been to events that were a total flop for you, you now have what you need to regroup and get yourself back out there to build your network.
I will leave you with one powerful thought, if effective networking at one live happy hour event can generate a number of meaningful contacts, just think about the ability for social media to get your word out to 10, 20 times the number of people. Social media is here for your small business’ taking…and it’s what I am most passionate about!
It’s time now for you to serve a few Social Media Strategy Tinis – please tweet this post or share it via Facebook. ..the graphic provides a great visual of a social media strategy.
Please leave me a comment below the post – as always I look forward to hearing from you.
Cheers to Your Small Business’ Social Media Strategy!!
~Emily A. Hay