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3 Questions I Get Asked Most About Social Media

I participated on a Social Media Expert Panel  at CAL NARPM (California Association of Rental Property Managers) State Conference in Concord, CA this week. It was a great panel with representatives from Oodle, Rental Homes Plus and Appfolio. I was honored to be a part of such a dynamic panel. I wanted to share with you three questions we got, because these are the questions I get asked every day and thought you might have them too.Social Media Fortune Marketing Company

Q:  What is Social Media going to do for me? How is it going to change my life? 

A:  Social media is not the end all and be all of marketing. As John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing says, “Social Media is a tool, not a religion”.  Yes, Social Media is all the buzz, because it’s new, it’s exciting and it’s growing like wild fire. But that doesn’t mean it’s the “Magic Pill” of marketing. Social media, like direct mail, email marketing, referral marketing and PR should simply be another tool in your tool box to help people get to know, like and trust you so that when they need what you offer, they come to you!

 So what am I saying? Well I’m saying if you’re using it, great, but I hope it’s just one part of your overall marketing strategy.  If you aren’t using it you should probably invest some time in figuring it out – but don’t stress over it! Start small. Choose one platform a month – maybe Facebook – and devote an hour a week to building your fan page.  Then move on to LinkedIn, Twitter, or some of the local search profiles.

Marketing is a system made up of many pieces – Social Media is not going to “cure” all of your marketing woes. So take it one step at a time and keep it in perspective! The only “Magic Pill” to effective marketing is a Marketing system.

Q:  What’s all the hype?  Do I really need Social Media? 

A:  Think of it this way, your customers are participating in Social Media, even if you aren’t.  Like restaurant owners, Property Managers know all too well that their customers and tenants are using social media even if they are not. As I heard in the discussion on Thursday, people seem much more motivated to leave bad reviews than good ones! Sites like Yelp, Insider Pages, Yahoo Local and more make it easy for customers to broadcast their views to the world. So, if you aren’t claiming your brand and controlling your messaging online then you could be allowing the masses to run amok and smear your name – and your reputation.

Participating in Social Media allows you to keep a pulse on what is being said about your company and positons you to react to it quickly and appropriately. Remember – you can’t erase bad reviews- but you can bury them by asking happy customers to post positive reviews and by taking charge of your company’s online content and learning some basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.

Q:  Isn’t Social Networking so impersonal? I prefer to do my networking the old fashioned way – face to face.    

A:  I challenge the idea that Social Networking is wiping out face-to-face relationships.  I believe that Social media is bringing communities together – maybe in a different way – or maybe not so different. We no longer live in “Little House on the Prairie” type communities where everyone knows everyone else by name and meets up at the church/schoolhouse on Sunday to catch up with one another. We live in large cities; we may not even know our neighbors’ names. We work long hours, we commute, we don’t have the time to invest in our physical communities like our society used to.

To me, Social Media is changing that a bit. We can now meet people who share our ideas, interests, and beliefs through social networking that we may never have met otherwise- and the beauty of it is- those relationships don’t have to exist solely online! Many of us take at least some of these online relationships off line – and actually meet in person, face-to-face! I now have several people in my offline circle of friends, colleagues and acquaintances that I would never have met in the offline world.  Social Media is a bit of a contradiction – it allows us to connect with people all over the world; yet I feel it makes our own personal worlds smaller again. Social Media gives us the opportunity  to connect in ways we would otherwise not connect, with people we’d otherwise not meet but with whom we share very real commonalities.

What do you think?! Please click here to leave your comments. (And then scroll down to the comments section on the bottom of the page)

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6 Responses

  1. I agree with your third point. I believe social media helps keep people connected even when we don’t see each other face to face. There are many people I am “reminded” of every morning when I log onto facebook. I may not read what they say, but I am reminded they are in business. For my friends, it is nice to see what they are doing. I know more about what happens in the life of people I care about.

    Now, I still prefer a bottle of wine on the deck with them – but at least I know bits of their lives.

    1. Carolyn

      Ethan,
      You hit on what I believe is one of the core benefits of social media – being “reminded” that you are there aka – “top of mind awareness”. Besides educating to build trust Social Media allows us to stay in front of our customers and prospects in non-obtrusive ways.
      Thank you for the comment. I appreciate it.
      -Carolyn

  2. Great topic, and one that addresses a pertinent situation for my business – social media, the replacement, versus social media, the tool. It popped-up again just last week:

    A non-profit, faith-based organization that I provide service to has begun to seriously explore putting up their own Facebook page; a scary concept to the leaders of this organization whose initial impression is that Facebook (and social media, in general) is that ‘fad” and de-personalizes efforts to make an impact on people. It was an astute one of these leaders (surprisingly, an older-aged one, too) who recognized that Facebook is a tool that actually expands the opportunities for face-to-face interaction; not a replacement.

    In fact, this organization’s untapped opportunities to reach out to a different-than-normal demographic and then invite them for in-person interaction can be huge; a demographic they would not reach with conventional methods.

    My analogy is that of the business card left on a bulletin board or on a comrade’s counter near the register – you don’t know who will take the card, but if they do and if they call you…. well, some people call those “golden eggs.” I submit that our social tools are one of our e-business cards.

    1. Carolyn

      Scott,

      I love the business card analogy.. . reminds me of bread crumb trails. It’s all about leaving bread crumb trails back out our websites or our businesses, isn’t it?
      Thanks for the thoughtful comments.
      -Carolyn

  3. When Google was a fledgling, most “expert” analysis was, “it’s just a fad.” As was Amazon, Dell, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo. You WANT to be in on these “new’ internationally recognized forms of EXTREMELY personal communication. Every business wants to have “contacts & referrals” that will help boost their “believability”. Social media can do just that. Sure, any “person” can boost their friends to 100+, but when a BUSINESS does it? That can be HUGE! Plus- you can have a page that has YOUR referrals on it in REAL time! Talk to Carolyn on how to get this done!

    Hey, I’m convinced.

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