Social Networking, is it Worth it?

Practicing professionals often try to wrap their heads around whether or not the time and effort to pursue word of mouth referrals via Social Media channels is “worth it”.  We often hear questions like: “What’s the ROI (return on investment) for Social Media?”

My response would be:

“What’s the ROI for your phone, or computer, or being engaged in your industry associations, or even physical networking? Could you imagine running your business without a phone or computer?  In this day and age, the same goes for Social Networking engagement (the online counterpart of physical networking).”

It’s not difficult to grasp that without a healthy, active, and engaging presence on at least one social networking site, you are essentially telling the world you are a dinosaur.  And if you’re not “publishing” and effectively distributing some sort of content that’s valuable and educational for those that have the ability/opportunity to refer you business (blogs, articles, email newsletters, white papers, ebooks),  you are missing the boat in this “digital and connected age”.

As for “what does it take” to actually get business from participating in blogging, social networking, email newsletters, etc., consider the following:

It’s a very old saying in advertising, that it takes five to eight advertising impressions to gain the average person’s “conscious” attention.  Once you have that attention, it’s what you do with it that counts – i.e., have something valuable for them,  so that, when they get around to noticing you,  there’s a reason for them to “pay attention”.

How does this translate into your blogging, newsletters & social media updates?

  • Think of meeting someone at a networking event as impression #1
  • An invite/connection on LinkedIn as #2
  • Their “noticing” your blog post / LinkedIn status update as #3 (and that might take many status updates to happen)
  • Receiving your newsletter in their inbox and opening it as #4 (latest stats are that only about 30% of all email is ever opened)
  • Clicking through to your Website as #5 – and so on

Is Social Networking and Social Media worth the time and effort it takes?A few “notice” you initially, but more will notice over time as consistent publishing, posting, emailing, and updating happens.  For many more it will take months of that consistent effort – and that’s just to consciously “notice” you.
“Familiarity” takes time to build, then the “assumed trust” that comes from repeatedly being made aware of you, and being reminded of your expertise, character, and personality, all of which finally makes you a Branded Expert™.  Then, if they get the chance – they might refer you, which is why you want to be connected to hundreds (if not thousands) of people through social networks, and at least as many in your email newsletter list –  to which you communicate something of value consistently, and regularly.

The good news is, that never before in history has it been easier, or as cost effective (social networking accounts & even blogs are mostly free!) for you to be able to reach hundreds, if not thousands of people at a time.

So back to the original question; Is it worth it? The evidence from our many phoneBlogger clients is a resounding YES, it is worth it. The question to ask yourself now is – –  are you going to give all this social networking stuff a try, and see if it works for you?

The phoneBlogger.net Creation Story

Frankly, phoneBlogger.net™ was born out of exasperation. Let me explain:

A few years back, we had a professional services marketing client with years of experience in her craft. She is a dynamic and gregarious individual; a brilliant writer, authentic speaker, and a powerhouse networker. A client who was a pro at getting referrals through building and maintaining relationships with COIs (centers of influence). For this client, we had designed and built a website that produced a flow of new prospective clients every month – no easy task in this competitive environment I might add!

As marketing advisors for professional practices, we knew that blogging, e-newsletters, and social media were becoming a must in the world of Word-of-Mouth marketing. We knew that fruitful (referral producing) relationships could be built, maintained, and nurtured with these modern Internet tools. We knew that showing up on the radar screens of COIs & past clients, with consistency, and valuable content (educational and informative, not self-promotional), was the key to maintaining our clients’ critical relationships.

Even our client agreed that utilizing blogging as a publishing platform, and newsletters & social media as promotion channels would help her build and maintain her status as a Branded Expert™ (both with referral sources and professional peers). We knew that to be successful we needed to leverage these tools to expand our client’s’ “professional network” and reach, well beyond what traditional networking alone could provide. Unlike with traditional media advertising, all of this could be achieved & tracked every month, at a cost level that most practicing professionals could manage.

But no amount of coaching, or coaxing, or even preaching could get our client to write blog posts, at least not with any consistency. And the reasons? No time, too busy servicing clients & doing traditional networking, held back by perfectionism when writing, no editor or proofreader, no publishing schedule to meet, and most importantly – no accountability partner to hold their feet to the fire to get it done, every month – consistently. And the technical expertise required to electronically publish & promote the content? Well this was simply way outside her computer savvy, interest or propensity.

And this 1 client was not alone. In fact, we were encountering resistance from nearly every client to produce consistent blogs, newsletters, social media updates – it took hours and hours of their time every month. Time spent agonizing over what to write, editing & proofreading, time wasted fumbling around with ever-changing technology, time they simply didn’t feel they could afford to devote to the process. A process that when trying to do it every month on their own, felt like they were on some cruel treadmill they simply couldn’t keep pace with.

So out of exasperation, a simple idea was born: First with one client, then with many, an idea that we refined into a “solution,” a solution we now call “phoneBlogger™”. A solution of “doing it for you,” but still using your words, your knowledge, your expertise, your experience, and your personality (no pre-packaged, canned, or recycled content here!). Hours of your billable time saved every month, as it only requires minutes to be interviewed and to edit over the phone. No technical savvy on your part is required either.

As a phoneBlogger.net client, you gain a tireless walking partner for that treadmill, one that carries the bulk of the burden, so that you are freed up to focus on your practice.

We invite you to experience our simple yet direct website – phoneBlogger.net, and in only minutes, see for yourself what this simple “solution” can afford you.