In the course of my Twittering I have come across Paul Warren from Warcom. He has had some success with social networking in its positive impact on his business – www.warcom.com. So I thought it may be interesting to hear about it.
So without further adieu – here we go!
Part 1: Social Networking with Customers
Since the infancy stages of my business journey, I have always been a strong believer in the adage that ‘there is no better form of marketing than social networking’. Over the past few years, however, the majority of my ‘social networking time’ has been concentrated towards contributing to online forums. Until recently, the likes of Facebook, and Myspace, were rather limited in their social networking scope, especially in relation to Warcom’s core business.
So where do I spent my time?
Whilst having been a long-standing member of the hugely popular forums Whirlpool and Overclockers Australia (OCAU), it is quite clear by the number of posts I have racked up, that I spend considerably more time on Whirlpool (16,000+ posts) than OCAU. Both forums have their positive and negative aspects.
Whirlpool is a bit too ‘regimented’ in my opinion, where its members must adapt to the Whirlpool style in order to fit in. While ensuring that I cross all my T’s, and dot all my I’s, I give potential customers the time they deserve, and the benefit of my industry experience. It is only when armed with intelligent answers, can my potential customers make informed decisions. Mutual respect goes a long way, but do not forget to watch out for the trolls!
On the flip side, when we look at OCAU, their member base is much more free and easy going, pretty much being themselves, and you can let your hair down and just ‘hang out with the boys’ so to speak. Whilst I do not condone over use of expletives and vulgarity, they are allowed on OCAU, and even the occasional ‘skin pic’ seems to float past the admins from time to time!
And then there’s Bigandy…. Do not get me started on this fella!
I do, however, believe that neither of these forums are overly useful (for me) in terms of ‘business networking’, only ‘customer networking’. I will explain what I mean by this towards the end of the article.
So what is my point? What is my plan? Why so much time on forums?
Simple – I am building a ‘Presence’!
From time to time, I jump into the help ticketing system and help my staff out with questions that our customers email to us. Without a doubt, almost every single time, I am told by a customer, “Hey, you’re that warcom guy! I love your posts, they were helpful to me!”
So, with comments as straight forward as that being thrown at me, I can see that my ‘presence’ in those forums, has contributed the following:
- I am building my public online image – customers get to know me.
- I am building my company’s public image – customers get to know who we are, understand what we stand for, and how we view them.
- My contributions in online forums are leading to sales – $$$ is important to stay in business!
- I am utilizing the power of NLP with would be customers! Whilst my presence might not lead to a sale immediately, customers will remember me!
Part 2: Social Networking With Business People
As I previously opined, I believe Facebook and MySpace are next to useless for Warcom pertaining to Social Networking.
Twitter on the other hand – I now believe Twitter is amazing! (it has taken a while!) I have managed to strike up some very mutually beneficial ‘business networking buddies” using Twitter. Notably, the likes of Warwick ‘Mr Get Energised’, Glenn ‘Copyman’, and our resident ‘Energiser Bunny’ Sam from thinktankmedia. If not for Twitter, our paths would have neither crossed, nor afforded us the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other.
So, taking all of the above mentioned into consideration, Social Networking is fantastic for doing the ‘meet and greet’ with customers, and keeping in their good graces, and to meet new faces.
As an example, the speed at which the Internode ‘Social Scene’ has developed is staggering, and if companies fail to jump on board now, they may as well take their bat and ball, and go home right now.
Social Networking is a very powerful tool when done right, however, just like a precision instrument, it is the skill of the engineer behind it that dictates whether it works in perfect harmony with others, or falls dead flat.