I was explaining to a friend who is not in the business world what I do and how I get paid to be on facebook and twitter. This is my attempt at writing out that logic. I hope to answer a business’ question: I’m on facebook personally but what benefit would my business get from a facebook or say a twitter presence?
Facebook as a sales tool.
This is not how to use Groups, ads, or Pages on facebook Instead this is discussing how to develop a sales tool using a staff members personal profile.
Generally (not true for all facebook users) people on facebook will accept a friend request from someone with whom they have had a personal interaction with. This can be used by a business to sell or fund raise or… ? Let me explain with an example:
Sally is a High School student attending a College fair. Joe is an Admissions Counselor with Cool University. They meet, he has a gimmick like: give me your email address for a drawing for a free iPod Touch. Joe collects 100’s of email addresses and returns to the office, he requests friends from everyone of those email addresses and say 35 approve of his friend request. He now has the CRM to die for. He can see everything about Sally and her decision making process on colleges. He knows now that money is not a concern for her. She is more perplexed with the size of Cool University and she feels like she’ll be lost in a crowd. Joe can tailor his message to her specific needs.
And Joe can do this 34 other different ways with the 35 students who approved his friend request.
I am not here to discuss when it’s appropriate to friend someone on facebook, and if Joe has preyed on High School Students. I am not here to discuss who owns Joe’s profile on facebook because it’s now directly tied to the businesses activities.
Instead I’m trying to give examples of how real life organizations can use facebook to their advantage. Gone are the days of the cold call?
Another example: Meet Sam, he is a salesmen for a widget shop. He meets people all over who are interested in widgets, and he constantly is entering their information into salesforce.com or the like (CRM) but he is finding that the email addresses are always out of date, and people move and change jobs/employers etc.
Sam now adds facebook to his arsenal (not replaces, but adds, an important distinction!). With facebook he is able to friend potential and existing clients, he sees what they care about and can discuss the right topics with them when he meets with them. He can also see when some one could really use a widget to fix their problem (new car, IT support, new security system etc.) And he can call them up and say hey, I hear you’ve got such and such a situation, can I stop by this afternoon and discuss how we can help? Sam now has turned a potential lead into a hot lead, at the right moment. Thanks to Facebook.
Oh yeah, and people generally keep their email address and contact information up to date on facebook (linkedIn too!)
One more example: Development, raising money for your cause/org. Dave is shaking hands and meeting with people left and right, could facebook help him bringin the dollars? Using his personal profile he starts to inform people of what is going on at the org. He then friends potential donors. He watches what they say and calls them when they are having a good week. Not two days after they have been laid off.
What other business uses of personal profiles can you see on Facebook?
Twitter power is in the search
If you have a facebook account but not a twitter account, you need to try it. Look here for an intro series into businesses and twitter strategy
Using similar examples above, say Cool University wanted to expand it’s Nursing program near Chicago. They would type into search.twitter.com: nursing near:chicago within:50mi This will return results like:
Then there is our Widget example, lets say cam shafts.
Cam Shafts might not be all that practical to you but it’s amazing what you can find on twitter using twitter search: Restaurant Reviews Complaints about a bank Or a specific brand.
But I will give a current example of how a brand who was watching twitter was able to respond and potentially convert a person to a brand fan?
A tweet was sent from @BobOnBusiness:
“RT @foxnews: BUSINESS: Chrysler U.S. Feb Sales Down 44% To 84,050 Units http://tinyurl.com/bvx4h3 OK-FORD & GM EARLIER-I AM SENSING A TREND.”
A response was received from @Chryslercom:
“@BobonBusiness Actually Chrysler gained U.S. retail market share, topping Ford in U.S. retail sales. Progress is being made”
Wait, I thought this company was dead. Oh yeah I believe everything I hear/read in traditional media!
We’re not done yet, You thought that was all Chrysler said? @BobOnBusiness later tweeted:
“I commented today on Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Chrysler wins for responding on Twitter-Somebody is paying attn to the market…”
And sure enough @Chryslercom was there for the win:
“@BobonBusiness We try to monitor what’s going on. Appreciate the kudos. Check us out at http://blog.chryslerllc.com”
Are you seeing the power of twitter search, give it a try, you don’t need a twitter account to see what people are saying on twitter.
That was Facebook and Twitter, what about LinkedIn, or ning, or digg, etc?
These all have their places, tools, tips and tricks, Facebook and twitter are on the lowest cost of entry so far. Stay tuned for more information on the other Social Media tools for business