If you could wave a magic wand and have a way to encourage the people most likely to generate positive good-will and reputation — and actual business — for you, what would you do? I could come up with the unhelpful answer: “It depends” but the problem is, the answer to this question requires a fair bit of individual thinking.
Social media relates to individuals. Therefore your strategy in achieving direct social media success in part depends on your ability to know who you wish to reach, and then to have some insight into who is influencing the individuals you wish to reach.
Top on your list should be your current and previous clients and their networks, of course. We know that virtually every sustainable business or practice in this industry obtains about more than 70 per cent of our business from repeat and referral clients.
How do you attract most of your new business:
From existing clients
Word of mouth – recommendations
Leads services/RFP/Public Tenders
Note: Counting of votes may be delayed by several minutes.
(see the ongoing Construction Marketing Ideas poll).
Therefore, your best way to spread the good word about your business is through your most influential audience — the people who know and have done business with you.
With this information in hand, your challenge is to gently connect, “friend” (Facebook), maintain and develop Twitter relationships, and ensure the people who have done business with you are well-represented in your first-degree LinkedIn networks. You can use social media management services such as nimble.com or hootsuite.com to keep in touch.
The most effective social media messages combine content that makes your clients feel good about themselves, while showing your capacity (and humanity). So descriptions of current projects — including how maybe you solved some unique challenges — with the clients’ consent (best: video) will go a long way. Retweets or news-sharing about community organizations and causes dear to the heart of your clients will also be quie effective. Sharing your clients’ stories and embracing their successes will add to the portfolio.
You’ll notice here that I cannot simply pick out a template from my hat and tell you what to do and what format your social media action should take. If you are new in business, of course, you may not have a huge client list — but you still have your friends and the people who you know and those who you think could be great clients. It is harder to execute, but still effective to follow this strategy.
Please don’t however respond or do business with the scammers who promise you a shortcut; through artificial strategies to build your “list” of Facebook friends, or enhance your SEO by “seeding” content with bloggers. And, while you might dream of hitting a home run by getting your promotional marketing message on an A-list social media site, I think the energy and effort to achieve this result would be misplaced for most readers here.
Put your current clients first.
You can learn more about my social media marketing book here.