Have you noticed that almost every week a newer, more state of the art mobile phone gets released? This makes me wonder why the telephone is still not used as much as it could be to build business. With the speed-of-light growth of Social Media, the telephone has been left behind. It may seem contrary, but I highly recommend combining the two technologies: the long lost art of the cold call with the new found art of social networking. This is a sure fire combination to boost your business!
We are a global community. We can reach out to people around the world in ways we never dreamed of, using sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. People, craving community and connection, wanting to be seen, heard and understood, are changing the face of how we do business.
This is the age of Joint Ventures and Affiliate Partnerships. We no longer have to struggle alone to grow our businesses; the trend is to move forward with partners. Now it's about "Why compete when we can collaborate?" As an entrepreneur, you are ideally situated to ride the wave by taking advantage of this new movement toward community. You can broaden your reach by being proactive and utilizing the tools available to you. It's not only the Internet driving us to be more social, it's a predictable trend in human nature moving us to want to be more social, to collaborate more, and to join together with like-minded others. It is this bigger human trend that is taking the Internet and turning it into a social contact machine the likes of which we've never seen before.
Here are some ways you can tap into this emerging trend and position yourself to use social networking sites to your advantage and grow your business:
- Investigate new ways to collaborate with individuals who are in similar industries, or who were once your "competitors". (There's even a name for this because it happens that often! They call it "co-opetition", the combination of cooperation and competition).
- Be creative and reach out with the intention of helping each other in the process. This is the key as we move into this new marketplace.
- Take it off of your favorite Social Media site's home page and bring it to life!
I'll be the first to admit that it's fun to scour Facebook and the other social and business networking sites to look for old friends and reconnect. Many are using Social Media to promote their businesses, creating marketing and branding teams by sharing each other's information. This is a great way to use the Internet. When more and more people are doing this, how do you differentiate yourself? How are you going to get noticed amongst all the Internet noise?
The telephone! I know you heard me... the telephone. You can use this incredible tool to build valuable relationships by reaching out beyond the norm. Bridge old and new to create strategic alliances that can propel you forward in ways you never imagined.
"Reach Out and Touch Someone". Remember this AT&T iconic slogan? Its meaning is more important now than ever. Our modern social networking medium is amazing, but what if you took it one step further and picked up the phone and made a more lasting connection? This is the magic opportunity; you can turn social networking into something that will differentiate you from others and boost profits.
Recently, I took one virtual conversation into real time and a face-to-face meeting. This valuable connection I made turned into an opportunity: as you know, I now have my own blog on The Huffington Post!
Your first step might be to become friends with people on line, but don't stop there. Make a real connection with someone and pick up the phone. Cold calls aren't really cold anymore. At worst they are "warm calls" because you have made the introduction via a friendly message, by sharing mutual interests and already building a relationship! As social human beings we tend to have a predisposition to like people who like what we like. So use that, use the similarity of interests you've already discovered to build rapport.
It is time for us to make another shift in how we communicate. It may seem like a step back, but it is really two steps forward. By combining old and new, you are thinking "outside of the box", or doing away with the box altogether. Take full advantage of all the tools available, both new and old to move forward in ways you never imagined possible! Mixing old and new, the internet and the telephone, are really quite a match. They are a match made in business strategy heaven.