June 25, 2012

Networking in a ‘Fan,’ ‘Like,’ ‘Follow’ World

Any profitable businessperson will tell you that networking was integral in their success. Meeting and interacting with people in your industry provides you with connections you need to move your business forward. Good networking skills can even provide you with connections you didn’t think you would need — until you did.

Luckily, there’s an app for that.

Several, actually. Never have there been more opportunities to engage your clients, your colleagues, your consumers. Social media platforms, it seems, have overtaken the Internet. While some may bemoan their presence as taking away from that “personal” connection, social networking has created myriad opportunities for businesses and marketers to reach out to their consumers and engage with them on a whole new level.

According to Social Media Examiner, there are more than 800 million active Facebook users, and 53 percent of them follow at least one brand on Facebook. Mashable went on to reveal that when consumers like a brand on Facebook it’s because they are current customers (58 percent) or want to receive promotions (57 percent). What’s more, of those who do follow a brand, 56 percent of them are more likely to recommend that brand to a friend, according to Mashable.com.

So, what does this mean for you? It means that if you’re not at least present on social media sites, you’re missing a huge opportunity to interact with your customers at a time when they are seeking information and making decisions. Presence on social networking sites is no longer a second-thought for consumers. It is an expectation. Consumers expect to be able to visit sites such as Facebook and Twitter and find the companies and products they purchase on a regular basis — and to discover new ones.

And they expect to be able to interact with them on a more intimate level than simply visiting that company’s website. They expect a relationship. Unfortunately, All Twitter reports that 95 percent of consumers’ wall posts to companies go unanswered.

In this online, 24/7 world, your networking opportunities are so plentiful that it can be hard to keep up. From Facebook to Twitter and LinkedIn to industry-specific online communities, you could spend your whole day engaging your clients, your colleagues, your consumers.

Luckily, there’s an app for that, too.

Well, maybe not an app. But a company. Great American Media Services has launched a media services division. Our goal? To help you develop relationships with your customers. We want to help you manage your social media presence — and reputation — while actively engaging with your customers and giving them a deeper relationship with your brand.

If you’d like to hear more about this service, please send me an email or give me a call at 616-887-9008, ext. 110. I’d love to talk with you about the plethora of media services we offer.

Kimberly Warren, director of media services