Do you have a Department of Human Freesources? If you don’t, you’re missing out on some of the easiest ways to secure business that exist. Small business owners who shrug off the possible upside of being active in the social networking scene are shooting themselves in the keyboard. Get on Facebook and get on LinkedIn and revolutionize the way you conduct business.
LinkedIn is really the preeminent networking site for business but the value of Facebook cannot be diminished. Let’s harken back to my blog of almost two years ago when I described a way I received perhaps my most obscure referral to date. I had a voicemail from a brand new client in Arizona, three time zones and 2,500 miles from my home. This person with whom I’d never interacted, mentioned that another person, with whom I’d also never interacted had referred her to me. Please trust that the irony was not lost on me that this prospective client was calling me from an Alzheimer’s Institute and so the notion that I could not remember either of these people was weighing on me severely. Nevertheless, I went on this institute’s website, found a photo of the person who apparently referred me and decidedly definitively that we’d never met. My next step was to search for this person on Facebook and see if we had a mutual friend. Lo and behold we did, however even that mutual friend was a rather random acquaintance of mine. Both the best friend of the husband of one of my clients, and also someone with whom I went to rival high schools and debated on rival debate teams. So to drill home the lineage of my connection with this new prospective client – my current client’s husband’s best friend’s cousin’s wife’s assistant called me! How about that! I would have never known that without Facebook and more notably, my referrer may not have referred me were it not for our connection.
More than that, Facebook can also be used to promote small business – through status updates, pictures, blog postings, etc. And even better, it’s a way to keep in contact with clients during the busiest of times. As an added bonus, now you get to learn all about your client’s hobbies, their families, their backgrounds and you have a better ability to sell to them. You simply get to know them better!
LinkedIn is the real gem though, particularly for those who are either looking for jobs or looking for clients. Suppose you’re interested in applying for work at a particular company. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a contact there – or if not, that one of your contacts has a contact there. We’ve long known it can be about who you know, and not always what you know. But do you even know who you know? Or, take for example, you’re looking to solicit business from a prospective company. Through LinkedIn, you might be able to find the exact right contact to call upon, and using a simple Google search will often lead you right to that person’s contact information. The solicitation may still not be welcomed, but there’s a much better chance if the homework has been done ahead of time. LinkedIn is your study guide, your Cliff’s Notes, and if it’s not a bookmark of yours, you’re not serious about growing your business.