4 Pillars of Effective Social Networking

Last week your Nova Scotia virtual tours & property marketing expert was asked to speak by the Chamber of Commerce on Social Networking for Home Based Business. The following blog is a result of that speech.

We’ve always had the desire to connect, even in the days of cavemen we were forming tribes. Back then the tribes were limited by geography. Today human civilization has evolved to where we are now because we have mastered the art of continually grouping together into teams, tribes, cities, and nations. We have catapulted past the barriers of time and space into a whole new world.

Every individual in this massive network is doing what he or she is pre-programmed to do – communicate, collaborate, and continue the march of our civilization’s evolution.

Ten years ago it was nearly impossible for us to share our “art” with the world. Today any one of us can have our own television or radio station (on the net.)

What has happened recently, particularly with Facebook, is that it has become far easier to transport your REAL identity around the web. This means that increasingly people are joining new social networks with their ‘real identity’: their real name; their place of work; and other details that define them as a person in a movement – sometimes referred to as the ‘Open Web.’ Naturally this makes people think more carefully about what they say and how they behave on social networks – because they ‘own’ their comments the common rules of society come into play. When a person’s reputation is attached to what they say it makes them think carefully about what that comment might mean to others.

When considering your approach to Effective Social Networking do it right the first time:

Plan – How will Social Networking complement your overall marketing strategy? Who is your audience? What are your objectives? What Social Networking tactics (conversational, promotional, trial, feedback, etc.) will get you there? Which Social Networking tools and technologies make sense? And finally, how will you collect and analyze your results?

The 4 Pillars of Effective Social Networking

1. Transparency – Transparency provides the only window – A window lets light shine through and allows us to see what might otherwise be hidden. This is what transparency is all about — letting the real self be seen. It’s unwise to share our innermost thoughts indiscriminately, but the greater tragedy would be to never allow that real self to be known

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines transparent as: free from pretense or deceit; easily seen through; readily understood; characterized by visibility or accessibility of information, especially concerning business practices.

The foundational element of transparency is truth-telling, being open, honest and sincere in putting one’s self out there. The essence of truth-telling is being comfortable in one’s own skin. Why the need for transparency? Trust. All conscious, healthy relationships thrive on the basis of trust, integrity and transparency.

2. Personal Branding – You are your brand – “Be you because others are already taken” ~ Oscar Wilde. Few things are more powerful than someone who knows who they are. If you know what you’re all about and where you’re heading, authenticity and credibility naturally result. For one reason. People trust you. Plug in, listen and trust the sound of your own voice.

If you’ve ever wondered why great leaders, companies and brands are able to emerge and endure, trust is always the common denominator.

Great brands become that way because they know great marketing begins from the inside. Besides the ability to inspire trust and be open to possibilities, enterprising personalities make their own brand of music.

3. Service – Make and Keep a Promise that Matters to your Customer – Being of Service. Think of social networking as more of a personal relations play than a sales strategy. If you “give” value — in terms of content, advice, insight and service — you develop relationships and trust that will very likely lead to sales and/or advocacy down the road.

You must nurture your customers to the point where they become:
~ loyal and raving fans
~ your very own brand ambassadors
~ a free sales and recruitment force ~ at no cost to you

Identify your target market. “If you try to be everything to everybody, you will be nothing to nobody”. Determine “what matters” in your community.

If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will – Unknown

2. Engage – Identify the emotional fuel to engage your customers. Customer satisfaction is just the minimum; your goal is to engage your customers. An engaged customer is the most valuable asset of any organization. Engaged customers assure a business of sustained and profitable growth. They are the first who will continue to repurchase your products, and the most likely to recommend you to other people.

Research from the Gallup Organizations suggest the 4 emotional dimensions to create customer engagement are:

1. Confidence. You will gain the customers’ confidence if they feel that the brand or company is trustworthy and keeps its promises.

2. Integrity. Your customers must feel that your business treats them fairly.

3. Pride. More than snob appeal, your customers must feel good about your product or service.

4. Passion. You are able to instill passion in your customers if they view your product as irreplaceable. This is the point when customers say that they “love” you.

Think of social networking as another tool in your marketing mix — and not some kind of magic pill that will deliver results overnight — and you will naturally discover ways in which social media can complement and enhance everything from customer relationship building to brand promotion.

I welcome you to connect with me, Nancy Elizabeth Bain on Facebook. Or view my fan page at http://facebook.com/NovaScotiaVirtualTours

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Nancy Bain
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