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Social media – where’s the business angle?

What’s the point of using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn if there’s no direct business from them?  It’s about the sales process, says Brett Davidson of FP Advance  

If you are not yet a believer in the power of Social Media let me give you some context, which might help.

For a long time I just wasn’t getting it and I speak to loads of people who feel the same way. I’m no guru on this area but let me give you my take on it all.

For me it’s about engagement and community. Human beings are social animals and love to connect – it’s what we do. 100 years ago that would have been done as you met people in the street. 50 years ago we could have picked up the telephone. Today most of us live differently with modern travel and communication allowing us to connect in much the same way but using these new Social Media tools. Twitter for me is about the conversation, just like when our ancestors said “Hi” in the street. You get 140 characters to say something.

But I don’t get business from it

I hear this all the time. What’s the point of all this Twittering (or Facebook’ing, Or LinkedIn’ing) if I’m not going to get any business out of it?

But think about your normal activities as an adviser/salesperson – what comes before securing a client? A whole lot of giving – that’s what. You give a first interview for free. You may well have given advice, help or other assistance to a potential client, friend of a client or introducer for free well before that too. We give first and then we get.

The same is true in your networking activity. If you network face-to-face, attending local business meetings or visiting local professionals, you also give before you get.

At a networking event you also do small talk – finding out what the people you are speaking with do outside of work, or things about their family. Then you share the same information in return; that’s how it works.

Why should it be any different in the world of Social Media. Yes, you have some light conversations with other advisers, journalists, professionals and potential clients but just like your face-to-face networking you know that eventually, by building and contributing to your community you become an integral part of it, which leads to referrals and business.

Pete Matthew (@PeteMatthew) summed it up best while I was at the IFP Social Media conference when he said, “Be yourself – help others. That’s all you really need.” Couldn’t have said it better myself (and he wasn’t even there, but still managed to connect with attendees via Twitter).

Gary Neild at Blue Sky Financial Planning (@GaryNeild), when relatively new to Twitter, connected almost immediately with a local solicitor, made a face-to-face meeting off the back of it and received a referral as a result. That was a pretty direct and quick return on effort.

Get started

Daniel Priestley (@DanielPriestley) in his book ‘Become A Key Person Of Influence’ (which I strongly recommend) tells the story of his grandmother who remembered when the railway came through her home town in Australia many years ago. She loved the railway.

But as Daniel pointed out, she didn’t love the railway, she loved the places she could now get to; it expanded her Universe. He compares Social Media to the railway; it is the infrastructure that allows us to expand our Universe. His major point though is that just like the railway when it was first built, no one knows what will happen next. Most of this Social Media stuff is just a few years old and it’s very early in the curve.

If you want your business to remain relevant and connected in the future I believe it is essential that you get involved and start building some muscles in this new technology. It’s already part of the fabric of modern business and society (even if that isn’t true for you). Just get started and see what happens. There certainly isn’t a downside as far as I can see.

For more on FP Advance

For more on the FP Advance business development programme: Uncover Your Business Potential


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