Search This Blog

Social Networking Secrets – Part 1

Two Sides of the Same Coin
Courtesy of  www.flickr.com


By Hector Cisneros

Have you ever wondered what the relationship is between face to face networking (aka word of mouth marketing) and social media marketing? Have you noticed all the similarities between these seemingly very different marketing venues? I mean, come on, with word of mouth you’re having a one to one meeting at a coffee shop and with social networking you’re posting current events in your industry, right? How could these two very different venues have any similarities at all? Well, in this series I will cover over three dozen similarities that these marketing systems have in common. It is my hope that once you understand the commonality of these venues, you will start to use them synergistically to gain more followers, prospects and long term loyal customers. In part one of this series, I will cover how these two systems are two sides of the same coin. In part two I will cover how both use the “Secret of Giving” and in part three I will explain how both require proactive engagement for your ultimate success.

The following dozen bullet points cover the best practices and secrets that show the direct overlap of these two venues. Each one provides an explanation of why and how word of mouth and social networking overlap. Some will be readily apparent, others may require a different perspective so read each one a couple of times to see if the light bulb goes on. If you disagree, you will always have a chance at the end to vent your beliefs. So let’s get started.

Courtesy of  BNIcommons.wikimedia.org
  1. Word of mouth marketing and Social Networking have specific rules that need to be followed to be successful. Concepts like “givers gain” (from BNI), tell instead of sell, cultivate instead of hunt. When it comes to delivering an effective message, consistency, quality, professionalism, follow through, and follow through are all important. See my article the “12 Secrets of Social Media Success” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century.” The laws of reciprocity are always in play in both venues. Others judge you more by your actions than by what you say, how you say it, or post it. Being congruent is very important. 
  2. All the rules that apply to Word of Mouth Marketing also apply to Social Networking (a.k.a., social media marketing). I wrote a couple of articles worth mentioning here. The first is the “Six Cardinal Rules of Social Media Success” the second was “Seven Secrets of Social Media Magnets”. Also the above two articles from item #1, also reinforces what I’m saying here. They can be found on our blog at “WorkingTheWebtoWin.blogspot.com.
  3. Social Media is Electronic Word of Mouth - Social Media is an electronic version of Word of
    Courtesy of  en.wikipedia.org
    Mouth Marketing (a.k.a., social networking). From here on out almost everything I say about networking also applies to social networking. The only real difference is that the digital version of social networking makes things happen faster, goes further and has a bigger and wider impact. As a matter of fact, word of mouth networks and social networks work hand in hand every day. You can always find a word of mouth network spreading its message on a social network and you can find social networks spreading the word about the next networking event. Since business networking (a.k.a., Word of Mouth) works in conjunction with social media, make sure you coordinate your efforts so that both your face to face and your social networking are spreading the same message. Remember, both are viral, but social networking can spread your message faster, farther and over a longer period of time. This is a double-edged sword because it can spread both Good and Bad messages.
  4. (No one ever joined a Networking group to be sold to. - They joined to connect with others, build strategic partnerships, to get help, learn and to get referrals from others. They often forget that to get referrals, they need to give referrals. Social networking is the same thing; except the message moves faster and is potentially more viral. People joined to get connected, find useful information, build relationships, and in some instances, to be entertained. Many businesses join because they want to make sales, get referrals and connect with other businesses. No business joined to be sold to either! Networking (face to face or digital) is all about them; not you. They are your referral partners, clients and prospects. Make them happy to earn your loyalty and trust. The same is true of social networks. People joined for their own reasons, which has nothing to do with your reasons.
  5. Connect with those you're with. - When networking, make sure you connect with the people sitting around you. Ask them to connect with you on social media. Take the time to engage in meaningful conversations. Share with others what you learned and be ready to help them connect with others as well. Take the time to introduce your new connections to people you already know. This will pay big dividends later on, as you will see.
  6. For Networking, Influencers are the Key - If you’re posting to your social nets, provide high
    Courtesy of  www.flickr.com
    quality content that your audience is interested in. Minimize selling directly to your audience. Engage in fun, indirect selling by running contests, getting your best customers to provide testimonials, and engage influencers by helping them with their needs. Share the information that influences provide. If you’re in a face to face meeting help them with what they have going on. It won’t be long before they also come back to help you.
  7. Be proactive; help others first. - In both Word of Mouth and Social Networking, help others first, if you want to be helped. If you are waiting for others to bring you referrals, you’ll have a long wait. Be proactive and extend a helping hand. It doesn’t mean you have to buy their product or service, however, it does mean that the help you provide them needs to be of “real perceived value” in the eyes of the person being helped. If you can provide referrals to a member first, it gets the Law of Reciprocity in motion and then it’s just a matter of time before it comes back to you. This is also true for social media. Help others learn the ropes about using social media. Help them get connected to others. Show them where free help videos are etc. They’ll become loyal followers, friends and advocates for your business.
  8. Trust comes before any business takes place. - To build a strong network that creates referrals, you need to focus on building trust and strong relationships. That is your primary mission when networking, whether it's by word of mouth or social networking. When meeting with people, it’s just as important to learn about them personally, as it is to learn about their business, product or service. Trust and strong relationships are not just based on business-oriented partnerships. As humans, we have emotional factors that are stronger than just logic or financial interests. Learn and remember the personal aspects of your referral partners and customer’s lives, it will bring you both closer together.
  9. Networking is about building relationship not selling products. - A common myth of
    Courtesy of  www.flickr.com
    networking is that your primary goal of the meeting is to sell to the businesses attending the meeting. The reality is you're there to build trust, credibility, forge strong relationships and create strategic partnerships. Once others trust you, they will buy from you if they need your product or service. However, having said that, you also need to make it easy for them to bring you prospects and to buy from you as well. Educating referral partners and prospect is a skill that cannot be brushed aside.
  10. Prepare in advance who you’d like to network with - When attending a networking meeting, it’s a good idea to have already decided who your target market is. I like to target two or three specific categories of businesses when attending any event. For example, my plan may include meeting a restaurant owner, a retailer with two stores, and a multi-location chiropractor’s practice. It makes it much easier to ask for a referral if you know who you’re looking for. Notice I did not mention I was intending to sell to them. My goal is to get introduced to them, engage them, and then set up a second meeting where we can find out if we can mutually benefit each other.
  11. Being there is half the battle. - If you miss a networking meeting you not only lose referral and opportunities to meet people, you lose top-of-mind awareness and credibility for commitment. If you want to be successful in word of mouth or social networking, you must be present to win. Being there in person is mandatory for word of mouth marketing. Social networking requires a daily commitment to social interaction. Word of mouth and social networking are active forms of marketing. If your mouth is not presenting at a networking meeting, it’s not delivering your message. If you skip a day of social posting, you fall off the timeline. In essence your message is not running. 
  12. We have two ears and one mouth – The full use of these two to one ratios will directly affect
    Courtesy of  www.speedofcreativity.org
    your networking success. That’s right “two ears and one mouth”. I first heard Steven Covey say this in the 1980 I believe, yet most act as if the opposite were true.” Listening is very important. Without good listening you will miss referral opportunities, both for giving and receiving them. More importantly, you will miss opportunities to help others – which in turn won’t come back to help you.
In this article I have provided 12 specific secrets and best practices that show how word of mouth marketing and social networking and just two sides of the same marketing coin. The 12 best practices list provides the reader the top reason why these two venues are directly related. In essence, it is my belief that word of mouth marketing and social networking are just analog and digital version of networking. The main difference is the leverage, additional tools and speed that the internet provides. This in turn amplifies the word of mouth marketing message.

That’s my opinion. I look forward to hearing yours.

This article is a part of a three part series. I recommend reading parts two and three as well to make sure you get the big pictures along with fine detail. If you found this article useful please share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you have a comment or a different opinion, join the conversation by adding it to the comment section below. I recommend checking out "Six Cardinal Rules of Social Media Success" or "Seven Secrets of Social Media Magnets", “12 Secrets of Social Media Success “ and "How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century.". You can also search for other related articles by typing in “word of mouth or social networking” in the search box at the top of this blog.

Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. He's a published author of three books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above. He’s also the co-author of the new book, “Working The Web to Win,” which is now available on Amazon.com.
Related articles

How to Make Friends and Infulence People in the New Century - Another Look!

By Hector E. Cisneros


The last 25 years have ushered in sweeping changes in our society. 

My Cyber Social Map
My Cyber Social Map (Photo credit: frankdasilva)
Personal relationships have been devalued to some extent by the introduction of social networks. We have gone from a society of people having a face-to-face relationship to a society that spends a large amount of time in virtual relationships. We have many cyber friends we don’t even know. Younger people spend more time text-ting each other than actually speak to each other. Often they are even in the same room (or in the same car).  Facebook is now running commercials showing that people would rather be on their Facebook phones, reading their news feed, than interacting with their families at the dinner table. The fact is, we live in an internet-enabled world, and all of us need to take responsibility for building real relations based on trust, mutual benefits, proven performance and credible results . So, in this article I am revisiting and update my view on what it takes to build strong relationships in business and in life and how to make friends and influence people in the 21st century.

Take One!

YIP Day 305 - Dale Carnegie
YIP Day 305 - Dale Carnegie (Photo credit: Auntie P)
A couple of years ago I wrote an article called “How to win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century. In that article I emphasized the law of reciprocity. The law that states what goes around comes around.  That means if you help others, they will in turn help you back. I clearly stated in that article that this was my magic formula for growing my business, my reputation and for building trust amongst my customers. I also stated that I was providing others with testimonial letters, as well as referrals and recommendations long before the advent of social networks. Word of mouth marketing is built on your reputation. It depends on building trust and credibility. More importantly, it relies on the cultivation of trusted referral partners and loyal customers to sing your praises and to spread your message to others.

Electronic Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth (TV series)
Word of Mouth (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Social networking is an electronic form of word of mouth marketing. It allows your referral partners and happy customers to sing your praises to a world audience, an audience that can spread that positive (or negative) message quickly and to a very large number of people, far beyond your customer base.

In my previous article I also mentioned that my social networks have built-in functions to pass along recommendations and testimonials. LinkedIn, Ecademy and FourSquare were the examples I gave. Since that writing LinkedIn has added an additional endorsement function where you can just click on a person’s skill to recommend them. However, I still prefer that you write a genuine testimonial letter and upload it.  This will carry more weight than just clicking on someone's skill set as an endorsement. 

A Rule By Any Other Name.

Rules Don't Stop
Rules Don't Stop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As a general rule, the more work you do to help someone, the greater the value and weight your efforts carry, (i.e.…the better the referral, testimonial or recommendation).  Don’t limit your recommendations to just one social network. Post your recommendations on as many networks as possible. I often post my recommendations on the top five social networks. This includes Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn. But don’t stop there.  Posting to other networks like Merchant Circle, AnglesList, Google Local and YollowBook also helps. I also like making recommendations on blogs and websites, if it has the facility to allow you to rate them there.

YouTube Can Be your Best Weapon.

youtube_logo
youtube_logo (Photo credit: leti_valde94)
A quick note about YouTube; many people don’t think of YouTube as a social network, however it has all the features of a true social network. You subscribe to it. You can follow other accounts, build a following, make and receive recommendations and leave comments on a person’s posts. More importantly you can create a video testimonial for the person you’re trying to help. In today’s world, nothing is better than a video testimonial from a happy customer. Commercials are full of actors faking their endorsement.  But a customer’s eyes rarely lie. Today, videos are the king of testimonials. More people would rather watch a short video that read anything. This is especially true of your testimonials. Unscripted, spoken from the heart words of praise are priceless marketing weapons without equal. Do everything in your power to help your customers provide this valuable service for you and your company. This can include providing incentive for the completion of a recommendation etc.… However, the law of reciprocity only works if the testimonial that is given is genuine. You must earn their recommendation by providing them with good service or a valued product.

Visuals are Worth a Thousand Words.

Worth 1000 - 2nd Edition
Worth 1000 - 2nd Edition (Photo credit: spcbrass)
Many social networks allow you to upload pictures and or videos. Note that written testimonials, referrals and recommendations can be saved as PDF and JPG files, essentially turning them into pictures and downloadable documents. This is another way you can upload testimonials to social networks like Twitter, Google + and Facebook. Don’t forget to upload your video testimonial to these channels also. This includes other rating sites like Google Maps and Google local. As a matter of fact many “Local Directories” provide a place for you to upload pictures and videos. Use these to your advantage.  I would be willing to bet if you do, you will be one of the few that use this strategy and it will give you a big advantage.

Do What Smart Companies Do!
Help Desk
Help Desk (Photo credit: Michael @ NW Lens)
Smart companies today are using social networks as a new kind of help desk and or customer service venue. They can watch for customer posted complaints, then connect with these disgruntled customers, and head off problems before they become big PR issues.

Come Get your New Tools.
Today there are also lots of tools that make it easier to post your recommendations and testimonials. These tools provide leverage so that you can post to multiple networks simultaneously. You can even schedule post asking people to read your testimonials’ and recommendations. There is no rule that says you can’t post this type of request more than once. Just don’t do it too often or you risk alienating your following. My favorite tool is Hootsuite and it is free at Hootsuite.com.

Don't Spoil the Post!
Avoid the Noid
Avoid the Noid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Make sure that you don’t spoil your efforts by providing poorly written testimonials or recommendations. Your spelling and grammar must be perfect.  Double check the spelling of the company or the business name. Nothing can spoil a great testimonial, referral or review like spelling and grammar errors, (especially if you get the name wrong)!

What Not to Do!
So far I have told you a lot of things you should do, but I haven’t spent much time telling you what you need to avoid. Make sure you maintain a positive attitude. Being positive draws people to you. This is transferred into your writing and show up in your post. Avoid negative expressions and conversations. They do not help you in your quest to grow your business. Also avoid cursing, crass and salacious language. This kind of language never makes you look professional.  Don’t get into arguments with people on social networks. These networks are public and you don’t want to air squabbles and dirty laundry in public.

Other things I would avoid is trying to use tricks or techniques like mirroring and matching or NLP.  These can be useful when face to face but they really lose something when translated into writing. Plus if a person figures you are trying to manipulate them your relationship is all but lost. It's important to be yourself. Especially your better self. Leave your ego at the door when trying to help others. 

The Reciprocity Experiment
I have spent the last 20 years of my business life following the law of reciprocity and it has served me well. I have dozens of recommendations and a clean online reputation. I keep my reputation clean, not by tricks or hiding bad news with massive PR campaign that pushes bad news off page one. Instead I follow a simple rule, "do what is right"! I concentrate on helping my cusotmers from there point of view. If I make a mistake, I go out of my way to make it right. Doing the right thing never hurts your reputation. And helping others first just amplifies your status.
infulence of friction on a magnetic pendulum.
infulence of friction on a magnetic pendulum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you don’t believe me, try this experiment. Pick a number of referral partners, (I chose 30 when I did this experiment) and write testimonials for them. Post them to the top five social networks, (or whichever ones you’re on) and then let them know that you provided this service for them. Ask them if they could reciprocate by doing the same for you. You will find that your reciprocity rate will be between 30 and 50% most of the time. If you do this experiment three or four times you will have helped a lot of people and in turn helped yourself by gathering a handsome number of recommendations to boot. Keep in mind that this will only work if you have built trust and credibility with others. If they don’t know, like and trust you, asking them for a recommendation is not going fly either.

A Few Last Words.

Word Gets Around
Word Gets Around (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A few last words to remember. Today, your reputation (individual and business) extends far beyond the boundaries of your business. Anyone can research your reputation and they believe what they read and view. Social media has become the great equalizer. It some cases, it has also become the spoiler. This is especially true if a competitor is trying to soil your reputation. The viral power of social networks allows a reputation to be passed around the world quickly (good or bad). It behoves you to make disgruntled customers satisfied. Making things right is the best way to turn a bad situation into a positive recommendation.

In this article I have covered the law of reciprocity and how it allows you to win friends and influence people in the 21st century. I have discussed how you can use this principle on a variety of social media including the top five social networks and others like Angieslist, Merchant Circle and Google Local. I have included suggestions on how to leverage your time and given insight to using YouTube as a social network and testimonial tool. If you have enjoyed this article pass it on to your friends. If you have other ideas, thoughts or comments on this subject share them with our readers in the comment section.  If I or my company can be of any service, call, email or write us and we will contact you personally.

That’s my opinion.  I look forward to hearing yours.

Hector Cisneros is COO and social media director for WSquared Media Group. Connect with him  on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and YouTube. W Squared Media Group is based in Jacksonville, FL. He is also co-host of Blog Talk Radio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Carl make Working the Web to Win simple for every business. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of two books, including 60 Seconds to success and Internet Marketing for the 21st Centurywhich you can get free by clicking on the link.

 Related articles

Get your copy of 60 Seconds to Success

This book is not about a get rich quick scheme, its about how to be successful 60 seconds at a time.

You will learn how to use powerful words that compel and motivate people to action. You will learn my methodology on how to construct your messages so that your referral partners will be able to repeat and pass your message on for you.

You will also learn how to keep your message fresh so that your listeners will be compelled to hear your message, even after hearing it many times.

If this sounds interesting, read Dr. Ivan Misners testimonial. To check out the book, click on the link for the FREE pre-view copy.

Enjoy;

Mr. C.

My new Book

My new Book
60 Seconds to Success

Read the Testimonial

Read the Testimonial
Endorse by Dr. Ivan Misner and others