The Growth of Online Social Networking in Business is amazing. Everywhere you look it feels like companies are posting on Facebook, closing new deals on LinkedIn and foregoing press releases for 140 character blurbs on Twitter.
So can the growth of online social networking in business really be sustainable?
It’s hard to imagine how quickly these social networking companies have grown. Facebook wasn’t even around 10 years ago. Now it’s a publicly traded company with a $115 billion dollar market capitalization! LinkedIn and Twitter also have 10 figure valuations. So like it or not, these social networking companies are here to stay. And the implications of their growth on business is unprecedented.
Because social media is so pervasive, the implications for the growth of social networking in business are far-reaching. Your customers, clients and detractors are free to engage you in almost any capacity. And hey, if your business is still playing ostrich, it’s time to pull your head out of the sand. Things are changing…
It used to be common to hear people say there was no place for social networking in business-to-business relationships. But LinkedIn grew by 21M users last quarter. And their revenue is at record levels too. Like it or not social networking is touching just about every type of business. So what is a company to do, given the rapid growth of this social networking onslaught?
And is there a way small mom-and-pop shops can make the growth of business social networking work in their favour?
Big businesses are used to engaging their consumers, clients and suppliers on their own terms. But no longer can you own every conversation your customers are having. No longer can you dodge questions. And no longer can you tune out the little guy. Lucky for you, managing the growth of social networking in business is actually pretty easy.
Here’s The Golden Rule of Social Networking:
The most effective and authentic social media users treat online social networking platforms as in-person conversations, (even in business!)
And while this sounds simple, the implications are profound. It means treating others the same way you want to be treated. It means fostering and investing in good will. And it means being honest with your stakeholders… not just accountable to your shareholders.
And while a lot of small business owners are already using the growth of online social networking to tap into new audiences, some of the Fortune 500 are still struggling. For the most part, these lumbering giants of protocol haven’t adapted to the growth of online social networking. The recent #AskJPM Fiasco is only the latest corporate social networking gaffe. At a lot of these incumbent institutions, the iceberg of online incompetence goes much deeper.
As it turns out there are a number of reasons the growth of online business social networking a great thing for entrepreneurs and independent small business owners.
Online Social Networking is Free Business Development! And while entrepreneurs are strapped for cash, they can afford to be a little more generous with their time. So if you have some sweat equity to contribute, online social networking can be a great way to build your business and get out in front of customers.
Online Social Networking is a Fast Way to Connect with Businesses. So if you’re trying to build business relationships you can accelerate your efforts by doing so online. When you send a message through an online social media platform it’s delivered instantly. And often your recipient will be notified in their email inbox as well as your social networking platform of choice. Your message is almost guaranteed to get seen when you send it through social media. And if your offer is compelling enough your chance of getting a response and starting a conversation are high – even on cold leads.
Online Social Networking is Easy! The cool thing about social networking in business is that almost anyone can jump into the conversation. No coding skills required! And with the proliferation of mobile smart phones you can have your say no matter what your physical location. It’s hard to believe, but global communication has never been so easy to do.
So for the exact same reasons that multinational corporations keep coming up short in their online social networking, you can pull ahead of the pack. But what if toiling away on Twitter all day isn’t for you? That’s okay too…
We understand not everyone loves online social networking. So if you’re not interested in managing your social media yourself, check out our services page and make the growth of online social networking in business tilt the tides in your favour.