Yes, Facebook Generates Referrals. How Does Your “Refer-ee” get the Gig?

Referrals on Facebook

Referrals on Facebook

 

“I need help! You got someone good?”

I see it happen every single day. Friends, people in community Facebook groups, posting pleas for help when they need a service provider or are interested in gathering opinions on a choice of products.

Why do people do this?

Well, instead of calling your 15 most insightful friends, or aimlessly Googling unknown business names, isn’t is easier to gain attention of all those people with one post? And people LOVE to help, especially when it is easy. Paste URL or email, submit. Boom. Helped a buddy in need and possibly got my friend some business in under 3 seconds!

Why does it work?

I trust my friends. I trust my business partners. I trust my family. When they respond with a referral, I listen. If they have a quick anecdote of success preceding it, even better.

What happens next?

This is the less considered question. I see referral activity every day on Facebook, rarely do I see a “Who did you go with?”, or “Did you get your problem resolved?” and I’ve NEVER heard someone say “How can I help my friend get the business when I refer them on social media?” Tweet This Well here’s that next step, because understanding the thought process that typically takes a millisecond or two, will help you help them.

Facebook Post on Mac WoesRecently I posted my own woes with a service provider request on Facebook. My Facebook post generated 17 referrals for small business owners in my local area within an hour of my question.Tweet This This time, I decided to remain highly aware of my own thought process as I reviewed responses & ultimately chose one.

My first filter as I looked at the comments:

  1. The trust & relationship currency I had with that friend.
  2. The proximity of the service provider to my home (I found it interesting that this was indicated a few times in the comments, which is helpful, thank you).

Now for the real decision making:

  1. Enter Google. Typed in the name of the person or business.
  2. If they had no website OR LinkedIn profile- off the list.
    If they had only a LinkedIn profile that lacked an image or recent content- off the list.
  3. Who won? The person who was clearly a solid expert in the field, quick concise website home page indicating services, exceptional list of services.

So yes, this is why I advise people to do this for a living, because this happens. As shocking as it may be even to me, when it comes to this stuff, I am like most people!

How can you help your friends get business when you refer them?

1. Tell your business owner friend to make sure their LinkedIn profile is up to date, and when they do, pop THAT url into the Facebook comments section where you are recommending them. Make it easy for the person in need to get right to the point.

2. Tell your business owner friend to update their website, and if they don’t have one, at least get a polished one pager up with relevant, recent experience and testimonials. It’s so easy these days!  Look at sites like Wix, Weebly or Moonfruit.

3. Also keep in mind that for everyone asking for a referral, there are several more in need. It is highly likely that someone else watching the thread also needs that kind of help.  An outsider is much more likely to click to go visit a website or LinkedIn profile than hang onto an unknown person’s name and email address to use at a later date.

Any more thoughts on how to best help a referral get business? Share in the comments!

So Many Social Media Tools, What Do I Use?

With so many third party applications out on the market to support your social media implementation, how does one decide?  Listen in to this super fun BlogTalkRadio show I did with Marnie Swedberg. We discussed several apps, experiences with them, and the very important surrounding etiquette.  Applications include TweetDeck, Hootsuite, SocialOomph, Ping.fm and TweetAdder!

I hope this help to support your decision making process.

Listen to internet radio with Marnies Friends on Blog Talk Radio

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!”

Econ_jscreationzs

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.

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.

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!

  • Graphics courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net | jscreationzs

Marketing Focus: What the Hell do you do Anyway?

 

Have you ever walked by a storefront and stopped to look curiously because you couldn’t quite figure out what it was? This happened today as I noticed a new storefront on Chicago Avenue. At first glance I considered stopping in to check it out; I saw album covers and things of other like interest on display. Then as I looked up, the signage said “Mr. Ping Pong Table” and listed other related products.

As my eyes glanced to the right, a big sign also said “U-Haul rental here!” Interesting, I thought, is this to bring home your new ping-pong table? It didn’t stop there– as I took my line of sight back to street view, I saw a flower display in the right window. Yes, more varied signage indicating that “Mr. Ping Pong” is also “Mr. Flower”.   What?!?   I walked away confused, and thus my brain began blogging.

The same thing happens with website traffic, but much more quickly. I will be the first to say I am guilty of scattered focus and delayed update. Much like the copywriter who’s own blog is old because they are too busy blogging for clients, or the web designer with a site that has been static for 6 years, or the fitness instructor who doesn’t stretch or foam roll (that’s for you Hope of ‘Hope and Piece’) as she advises her students to. (Guilty as charged, yet again.) 

So, as I am working on my own gaps noted above, I ask you all to consider the same.

  • How long has it been since you updated your website? (This also helps keep fresh with search engines)
  • When did you last tweak your social media platform bios and information?
  • Is your LinkedIn profile up to date?  Are your specialties all covered with relevant key words?
  • What about any other traditional or online marketing material positioning your business services?
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to solid peers, ask them to look at your site and summarize back to you what it says you do.  It could be very enlightening!

We are always growing and evolving, personally and professionally. Time can fly very quickly before we realize that what we project online (or offline), is not accurately reflecting our most recent and relevant value proposition, niche focus, and business service offerings.

This is not to say you shouldn’t share your many other sides, but draw your audience in with your most engaging, specialty focus first. Kind of like a date… Then as they get to know you and your business offering, they will be more inclined to stick around and hear about all of those other great things you have in your back pocket and can support them with as well.

In the meantime, if you need a place to buy flowers to put on your new ping-pong table while listening to your new record albums, after you’ve driven them all home in a U-Haul, I know a place…

PS (can you ps in a blog?)  I did Google this store, and found that online, their message is very focused,   If the same could be done to the store front, perhaps more foot traffic will be encouraged!  If I’m going to use a local store as an example, the least I can do is give them a little plug.  I’m all about supporting your local small biz 🙂