Running a business in the digital age has its perks. It also can be incredibly difficult. Retail stores need to rethink their sales channels and social media networks get you sucked into a deep abyss if you aren’t careful. Over and over again, however, we see business owners make the same mistake. It is based off a misconception that can not only hurt the long term success of your business, but can also keep you from ever getting off the ground in the first place.
The most common misconception about digital marketing is that digital marketing replaces the need to make personal relationships.
When we first create social media accounts for clients, we have to consistently change our client’s mindset about what their networks will do for them. Our clients want to see their networks boom, which can be a great goal, but to what end? Would you rather have a small network of devoted customers who trust you and help sell for you or a large network of individuals who don’t even recognize your name, let alone buy from you?
Many times the client who wants and expects the large network then stops their in person networking and relationship building thinking that one post per day is actually going to lead to new sales. Though, again, if your network is active and trusts you, this may do the trick, but for businesses, you can and should never stop your personal relationship building.
The digital age has made many business owners lazy when it comes to getting their word out. They sit online wondering why nobody has come knocking on their door. Those who hustle, however, reap the benefits.
You now have access to millions of people, if you only reach out. My recommendation for clients is to find the individuals who are are your level or a step above you that you admire and wish to connect with. Start following their social media accounts and commenting on their posts. As you do this, share their posts, too, and tag them so they can a notification that you are publishing their content.
From here… reach out! Write an email or direct message the individual. Let them know how much you’ve enjoyed their articles on X, Y, Z and then get straight to the point. What are your goals for reaching out for them? Do you want to run a joint webinar? Do you have an article that you think their audience would enjoy or benefit from?
The more clear you are, the more likely you will receive a reply. Of course, leading up to this point you’ve been interacting with them on their social media and blogs, so you should already have some name recognition.
In addition to digital networking, keep up your local networking.
Meeting with people and groups keeps us on our toes and from moving away from what the market needs. It helps us refine our message and get real time feedback from individuals we know and trust. This blog post goes into more detail about why networking groups can transform your business and how to get involved.
To make sure that you aren’t making the biggest mistake in the digital age, continually get out of your comfort zone and form actual relationships with people you admire who are one step ahead of you. Even if the relationships start online, you are still treating the account handle or email as a person, and that individual respond accordingly.
Do you still network in person? Have you succeeded at reaching out to an individual you now partner with online?
Be sure to share your success stories!