Using social networking to build sales and improve customer relations

  • How can social networking through Twitter, Facebook etc benefit your business?
  • Social networks allow entrepreneurs to track down their target customers
  • Using the websites you can also improve your sales and customer service
  • But it's important that you listen to what your customers are telling you

I’m sure you’ve heard about social networking websites. Chances are even better that you’re on a social network yourself, especially as you consider that Facebook alone has 250m active users. Putting that into perspective, if Facebook was a country it would be bigger than the UK, France, Germany and Italy put together, and growing at about one million users per day!

This is a staggering level of growth. The average Facebook user has 120 contacts and 5 billion minutes are spent on the site each day worldwide. That’s a lot of socialising.

So, how can businesses use social networking effectively? In this article, I explore some of the possibilities for leveraging social networks in order to build sales and improve customer relations.

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cara@carachapman.co.uk's picture

Using social networking to build sales and improve customer relations

Firstly, I must confess to having only skim read the article, but I thought I would still pass on my opinions. I am a regular user of Facebook, LinkedIn and most recently Twitter. These started primarily from a social perspective (except LinkedIn which I was using to keep an eye on career opportunities and maintain contact with former colleagues).

However, I have had some great successes from these networks as a self employed Chartered Accountant. I spend a lot of time in front of my computer and decided that I had to make it work harder for me. I have connected with many people on Facebook through friends of friends etc (I'm sure everyone's got "Friends" who they don't really know!). One of them happended to post about registering new businesses, and I responded with a slightly tongue in cheek remark about me helping with the accounting/bookkeeping side of things. A few weeks and a consultation session later and I've signed both her and her partner as clients (3 businesses between them!).

I had similar experiences when I first started with people seeing my status updates such as "Wow, life as a self employed Chartered Accountant" etc etc and won two new clients that way.

Similarly, someone "found" me on Twitter on the strength of my username, description and location. They contacted me and we are setting up a meeting at the moment.

I have signed up for a Tweetmentoring course as I am less familiar with Twitter and if I'm going to spend all this time looking at it, I might as well generate some clients from it!

I think that the secret is to choose your "posts" and "updates" carefully (remember people will judge you and possibly your professionalism on these). Tales of drunken debauchery might not bode too well for potential clients. On the other hand, you can get to know people, meet similarly minded people and build up some good relationships. Be discreet but don't be afraid to let people know what services you can offer and how to reach you.

I'm all for using social networking as a business tool - let's embrace it!

 

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