John Chen knows, “You don’t get something, unless you ask for it.” Chen, CEO of the company Geoteaming, and his crew of professionals design team-building exercises on carefully crafted courses for companies around the world. They know that collaboration, communication, and having a plan are team attributes that drive business success.
“Your odds of achieving a goal go up immensely when you have a plan,” remarked Chen. The business professionals attending his luncheon, sponsored by International Special Events Society Seattle and Ray’s Boathouse, were there because they had social media accounts, but wanted to know how to use them effectively. Upon arrival, Chen encouraged participants to get on their Twitter accounts and pose a social media quandary they were experiencing.
Some people were unsure of how to use their Twitter accounts and the #ises hashtag for the day’s event. Chen gently reminded people to mingle and ask for help. He believes, “Learning is tribal.” What you don’t know about social media, ask a friend or colleague for advice or a tutorial. Odds are there are many people out there that would be delighted to help you learn.
John Chen’s 3 Tips for Social Media Business Success:
Tip #1) Pick Three
Email, blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, FourSquare, LinkedIn – the world is awash in social media options. Where do you focus your energy? Chen advises that you pick three things and concentrate your efforts on doing those well. “Email still works,” says Chen. When you’re at a business event or amid your various personal networks, ask for business cards and “grow your database” by following up with people and having your email message link to your business page.
Along that same vein, when you blog regularly, like I do, you can ask visitors to sign up for information about your special area of expertise and thus further grow your database and potential client base.
Twitter is Chen’s preferred social media platform for business engagement. He has seen some success from Facebook when a “Like” turns into a customer, but he believes Facebook is where you place an ad and Twitter is where your business can regularly impact customers. In a 2012 monthly sampling, 42% of Twitter users (465 million worldwide, 107.7 million in the U.S.) utilized the site to learn about products and services. 65% of Fortune 100 companies have Twitter accounts. Over 175 million tweets are sent per day!
Tip #2) Measure
Analyze conversion rates for your company. How many contacts that came in off your website turned into paying clients? If you don’t know your measurements for the company you work for – ask! This makes you a better salesperson. Videos on company websites are a highly effective way inform and engage a potential client. Over 50% of the Web’s traffic is users watching video content!
Tip #3) Innovate
Chen shared an example of an effective hashtag (#SoMeT – Social Media and Tourism) that started on Twitter and turned into a conference and money-making venture for its founders. All by way of savvy hashatagging, social media interaction motivated conference attendees to purchase conference tickets. $595 tickets that generated over $90K that first conference year! You can make money via social media, particularly if it’s something that has never been done before.
“You may not want all your followers as customers.” Chen said this in response to a question from Kate Kovalick (Creative Coverings) regarding how to turn personal Twitter followers into business followers. Focus your business energy on targeting the followers that might turn into real business. He advised Kovalick to blog and tweet about concerns that are frequently raised by her current clientele. Use FAQ’s to educate new and existing clients. “In the end, the client cares about the problem that’s in front of them.”
Chef Kristi Brown-Wokoma (Zinnia Bistro) wanted to know how to be a restaurateur and also keep up with the demands of social media. “Is there a way to achieve balance?” she wanted to know. Chen observed that a successful small business might not participate in social media because they’re spending so much time on day-to-day operations. That’s okay, but if you have a plan, you can leverage your social interaction to work for you and your business whether you need more business or not. Without a plan it’s understandable to feel like Kristi does, a little overwhelmed. You need to make a plan then execute that plan!
John Chen (@Big Kid) can be found on Twitter. It was wonderful to hear some of his advice and contemplate my own social media plan. Part of that plan involves what you’re reading right now. I blog to inspire and share information I find useful. Blogging also allows me to connect with my friends, colleagues, and clients. I can’t wait to see you in person at a future event!
~Trishann Couvillion, Corporate and Special Event Photographer
Fire Eyes Photography (@fire_eyes on Twitter)