One of the interesting things about using social media for your business is what you are supposed to do with it to build your business. Every industry is different, but the great part is there are some commonalities that allow you to build your business on any social network with any group of people. There is just one challenge that most businesses have to overcome in order to successfully use social networking to build their business. How do you take your clients offline?
Strategies to Take Your Clients Offline
Come again? Your prospects have to be brought online to eventually be brought offline by you. It sounds a lot weirder than it really is and even better than that it is easier than it sounds, as long as you take the time to do it properly. The great thing is that you are not the person who has to bring them online to your social networking site(s) of choice.
1. Use LinkedIn
Think about it this way. You use LinkedIn to build your business. Most business professionals know the social network is a legitimate way to build a business to business (B2B) relationships online. That means if you are in the B2B realm the majority of your target market will already be on the social network. It also means that when you go onto these sites you have to learn to build a relationship around the networking guidelines of your preferred social network, and not just sell people but learn how you can help them.
Use LinkedIn as a gateway to finding out more information about the person. For example, read their LinkedIn profile and find out about what they have done. Go through their:
- Job history
Now here is the great part! Find LinkedIn groups that relate to your industry online. For example, if you were a telecommunication salesperson then you would start looking for prospects among IT directors and CIO’s for mid to major companies looking to upgrade their telecom services.
The best approach to do this would be to search for LinkedIn groups already online that are filled with IT directors. This is the first step, by the way, joining the group. It is not the last step. At this point, you start getting active in discussions and connecting with individuals who are ready and willing to start talking to you on a one on one basis.
2. Be a part of the conversation
The method to the madness on LinkedIn is not complicated, it is just time-consuming. You have to invest energy and time into meeting different people and building those relationships. I have used this successfully on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, so I know that these techniques work. It does not matter what social networking service you use, at some point you will want to develop closer relationships with people that you have met online.
Being online with them becomes your opportunity to start the conversation.
First, it will be conversations through groups and message boards. Think Facebook’s wall or LinkedIn’s Group discussions. Then at some point, you can go from speaking in public forums to your LinkedIn inbox, Facebook Messager, or Twitter Direct Message.
One key here is to not rush. The big mistake a lot of newbies make is that they think that it is imperative to spill the beans on every product that they sell right away. Yes, not everyone will get to the point of finding out what you do, but who cares. Those people were probably not good prospects to start with in the first place.
3. How do your clients want to talk offline?
As time goes on you will get to the point where it makes sense to step it up. There are a few ways to take clients offline:
- Talk on the phone
- Attend webinar
- Join networking event
- Have a face to face conversation
Once you start communicating on other mediums (phone, skype, webinar, face to face) you can start discussing how to grow your businesses together as referral partners, business partners, clients, etc. Some people will not fit into either of these categories, but will just become trusted advisors that you talk about numerous topics. Not everyone has to have a specific role in your life, but as you continue to use social media you find a wide assortment of people who you will build your business successfully.
Every successful person that I know that has built relationships on social networking sites has used techniques very similar to this. They have been able to start a relationship with someone online and then took that relationship to the next level as they connected with them on newer and deeper levels. You will not be able to connect with every person that find on social networking sites. However, the people that you do take to the next level will make all the difference in your business. Just remember that your goal is to get people offline.