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Turning Relationships into Gold Through Social Media Marketing

Donna09B By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk

Social media marketing was one of the topics at last Thursday's 2nd Annual "Inspiring Success: The Women TIES"  (Women Inspiring Entrepreneurial Success) Retreat which was held a the beautiful Lodge at Welch Allyn in Skaneatellas, NY. My friend and colleague from the WCEOhq Radio Show, Diana Palotas, joined me as we drove east on the New York State Thruway together early that morning from Rochester to make the breakfast/networking start of our day.

Women_ties There were about 130 women in attendance, mostly all entrepreneurs who have their own businesses in the Syracuse and Finger Lakes Regions. We were all there for the same reasons; to network and invest in ourselves in the hope to become inspired and empowered to be successful leaders in our businesses. Last year I attended as a guest of Yvonne's who was a speaker last year also on the subject of social media.  You can read about the event last year in Yvonne's post.

We had several inspiring presentations from our women speakers, but I specifically would like to share with you some of what Janelle Fields of JFields Marketing spoke to us about. Janelle was to cover the topic of "Social Media" and Tracey Higginbotham, the President of Women TIES, asked Janelle to try to put the talk in the right perspective so that it wouldn't leave the women feeling overwhelmed, or that they were so far behind the technology curve that they wouldn't know how to begin.

So Janelle's presentation title was "Turning Relationships to Gold Through Social Media Marketing" and she really did a great job of delivering what Tracey had envisioned. I always start my presentation on the subject reminding people that social media is about the people, the conversations, the relationships. Technology just helps us deliver it. So I was very pleased to see Janelle starting off in a similar way.

West_Young_Wo-Men Janelle related today's state of the ever-changing, not-knowing what's working social media era to that of the gold rush of 1848. "Go West Young Wo-Men and mine those relationships for gold!" People back then packed up all that they owned and headed west in search of gold. They did it even though they didn't know what to expect or what obstacles would get in their way. But they persevered and some became very successful, others, well, did not.

Today many are trying new things and we're seeing successes and failures. Janelle pointed out that Google recently announced that they are pulling the plug on Google Wave. To see that Google is struggling helps us to realize that we're all in this together.

So we need to remind ourselves that we first have to engage in the conversation. Listen to what is being said and sell later. Too many times people and brands interrupt the conversation by coming in immediately trying to sell something or trying to reach their own goals too fast.

Janelle shared with us some interesting charts that showed that we currently have 1.75 billion people worldwide engaging in some type of social media. However, 90% of those are "Lurkers", those that are just reading and observing, 9% are occasional contributors and only 1% are the heavy contributors. Seems pretty lop-sided, don't you think?

Janelle conducted some interesting research regarding the members of the Women TIES organization and found that of the 250+ members, almost all have a website (234), 67 a blog, 64 utilize e-newsletters, 54 have a Facebook page, 34 a Twitter page, only 23 have a company Linked-In page, 21 an e-commerce site and 12 a You-Tube channel. I would think these numbers are pretty typical across most of small businesses. Next Janelle showed some examples from businesses owned by current Women TIES members that demonstrated what online marketing initiatives they were implementing. This really helped to bring it all together.

So, what can you do today to start to turn the relationships you have with your customers and prospects into gold through social media marketing? Are you a lurker, an occasional contributor, or part of the 1% that is heavily engaged? Yes, it takes time, but running and/or contributing to a successful business takes effort. As the song says "It don't come easy".

Thanks much Janelle for your insights and again to Tracey for hosting such a wonderful day. I hope to be back next year!


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