Social Media: Your Business’ Economic Stimulus Package

When business building & networking, pretty much daily the question comes up, ‘Why do you do what you do?’ Before digging deeper, there are many common responses:1. I have a strong skill set here and a lot of value to add to growing businesses.2. I find this work fun & fulfilling, let me take the load off for others who don’t enjoy it so they can focus on their core genius.3. There is a huge need here I am honored and thrilled to be able to fill it. And the list goes on…In a coaching session with the fabulous Harriet DiCerbo of Mosaic Path, her line of questioning took me further, and allowed me to say something I normally would have felt immodest or arrogant saying, so it took a while to spit out, but dammit, it’s true! “I want to, and believe I can help stimulate the economy via social media!”What?- Lil ol me, stimulate the economy? But why not? Why not all of us? We all have great business knowledge to share with others. Knowledge is infinite, meanwhile, most of us only have access to 10% of our brain. Something you find simple and basic could be someone else’s enlightening moment and vice versa. Don’t discount yourself.So how can you use social media to stimulate the economy and your business or career?1. Times are tough, budgets are strapped (not one of those enlightening tidbits, I know). A small investment in social media strategy and education will facilitate the ongoing use of tools that are free. Your recurring cost can be limited to only time. It shocks me how many businesses still take out classifieds, TV ads, radio ads; advertising the majority of the population simply tunes out. Save excess funds, allocate a smaller portion to social media education, and then run with your new model on a budget while capturing more business! Not to discount those modalities completely, but track metrics to see what is truly bringing you ROI.

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2. Sadly, I see local brick and mortars pop up quickly, only to find the storefront is up for lease again shortly thereafter. Many watch bottom line by not advertising, but as I frequently & cheesily reference- “If you build it, they will not necessarily come.” (Even if you believe they will, in the movie, they were ghosts. Ghosts don’t make good customers, they scare the real ones away & don’t buy stuff.)Social media lets people know you are there. A small investment gives you a way to establish brand awareness. At the very least, get your Google Profile completed, claim your Google Place, and put yourself on the virtual map. It’s free!3. Businesses are cutting back by not attending or postponing trade shows and conferences. This drastically impacts the goals of a sales team who may normally rely on these events to fill their pipeline, earn commissions, thus feeding their family & paying their mortgage. Seeing a company make this decision, and then seeing same company has no presence on LinkedIn literally saddens me. When used to its fullest, proactively, and with proper etiquette, you will see your pipeline grow and sales soar. As a side bonus, your cold calling can head to the grave. Even those cold calling for 20 years tell me it is still the most dreaded part of their day.4. While we are on the topic of trade shows and conferences, did you know Twitter allows you to be a fly on the virtual wall? Don’t get pissed at your boss for keeping you at your desk; surprise them by saying~ “Cool! No problem! I’ll attend free from my desk!” Find the Hashtag and join the Twitter stream. The July eWomen Network Conference in Dallas used #eWN2011, and is still going strong weeks later. Several tools allow you to follow hashtags, archive and save them. You can meet people, learn from speaker sessions, engage and do business.5. Are you job hunting and using Monster.com or Careerbuilder.com exclusively? To those of you also deep sighing with an eye roll, I know…. it shocks me how many think this is still the way to go. These jobs are already stale and likely have spent quality time already on LinkedIn. They probably are already down to the final 3 candidates and have it out there just in case they all get hit by a bus. If you aren’t on LinkedIn maximizing your profile and connections, while exercising caution on your other social profiles like Facebook & Twitter, you better believe that other candidates have both legs, and arms, up on you.

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Daily I encounter entrepreneurs and business owners who are simply not yet aware of the power of these tools, or the current state of the technology. In many cases people simply feel overwhelmed by getting started, understandably so! Just pick one thing, start slow, and as Nike says “Just Do It”! It’s better to start getting a toe wet slowly than to keep it forever in your Nike.Considering the power in these few tools, and how many more are available, I look back and think, “Yes, the more people I can show how to do this, the more people get jobs, the more businesses get business & create brand evangelists, I am stimulating the economy!” And it’s fun too. That’s pretty cool!