Upon arrival at the Mayfair Hotel last week, I followed the signs for “Nurturing the Networker Within” the event that Business Link London was hosting. After a few moments I no longer needed to follow the signs – instead I followed the distant roar of voices that got closer with each step I took. When I reached the suite the event was held in the noise reached a crescendo. The distant roar turned out to be hundreds of women excitedly networking with each other; business cards changed hands at a frantic rate as these future entrepreneurs pitched their businesses in the hope that the connection they had just made would turn out to be fruitful. It was an amazing sight. And sound!
After a while it was time to head to the workshop I had chosen, Amanda Steadman’s “Using Social Media to Attract More Clients”. This workshop was packed out as women eagerly waited to hear how to turn their web presence into serious cash.
Amanda is the founder of Wealth Babes, a company dedicated to help women build wealth, which all of the women present were very interested in! She shared how she had come across lots of young American men at an international conference she had attended earlier in the year who had made their entire fortune via the internet. By young she meant 22 and by fortune she meant multiple millions. Some of them made $1m a DAY.
The effectiveness of social media
Social media in particular is a vehicle driven mainly by the Americans with astonishing success. It has become a very important marketing tool in the last 12 months and it looks like it will be that way for some time. Recent research shows that 84% of the marketing industry uses social media as a way of gaining more clients.
Amanda encouraged the audience to get on the internet marketing wave as this is primarily how their clients will connect with them. She stressed the importance of having both personal and business social media accounts, and ensuring that they use the right social media vehicle for the type of client they are trying to attract. For example if their targets are business professionals, they would most likely come across them on Ecademy or Linkedin as opposed to Facebook and Bebo.
An interesting point Amanda made was how our personalities can play a large part in converting visitors into paying customers. Interacting solely by autoresponders and emails can be very impersonal and cold and visitors now prefer to talk and listen to real people. Amanda shared the story Kristen Darkenwald a young American woman who posts videos of herself on You Tube, sitting in a room with her dog on her lap giving sage advice. She has earned millions of dollars this way!
Amanda cautioned that consistency is crucial when using social media. Whatever sites the business person uses to market their company, it is imperative that it is kept up to date. Amanda tested this principle using her own company; for a week she didn’t update her website and traffic to her page slowed right down as visitors saw there was no fresh content. Amanda shared that 20% of the customers on her site are responsible for 80% of her business. Bearing this ratio in mind, entrepreneurs looking to convert visitors into paying customers cannot afford a drop in traffic.
Strategies and trends
To emphasise just how powerful internet marketing can be when the strategy and objective is clear, Amanda cited the case of President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. He used every social media site available to encourage people to vote for him, which ensured that he had the widest possible cross section of people aware of his policies. Apparently President Obama still uses these sites to stay in touch with the American people to find out from them what changes they want to see implemented in their country.
When sending out invitations for a course or a product, Amanda found that people were four times more likely to click on a social media link and respond via that method than through an email. These types of trends are important for the entrepreneur to pick up on as using the wrong method to attract people could impede their success.
The hard work will pay off!
There was some hope for the technophobes in the room who felt that maybe they had missed their opportunity to make full use of all the benefits that social media offers. Amanda encouraged them that if they registered now with Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc, they could have a following of a few thousand in a few months time. It is never too late to use social media to expand a business, but make sure you do it!
Amanda concluded by telling the audience that while some of the things they had heard that evening may be old hat to some, the challenge was to actually go out and do it. She assured them that if they worked smarter they would soon see the fruit of their labour.
Amanda’s golden rules for using social media:
1. Ride the wave!
Billions of people are now online which represents mass opportunities for success.
2. Your social brand
What do you stand for? How do your clients see you? Be clear and simple in your presentation. Trust = a sale.
3. Have a clear social marketing strategy
Where/who are your target market? What percentage of the time are they online? Keep up to date. Don’t overload visitors with information.
4. The power of the few
Use the sites your target audience uses e.g. Linkedin, WordPress, Twitter, Facebook. Also make use of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) rules.
5. Traffic genius
Google adverts, Facebook links, YouTube, Ezine Articles, Auto responders, Creating groups, Membership.
6. Converting into paying customers
Have a great offer/product/service; make your site easy to use.
7. Have a consistent action plan
Keep everything up to date, do the things you know you must do in order to add value to your visitors/members.