Saturday, February 5, 2011

How to Build a Referral Network Utilizing Social Media

Social media is a great medium in which to build relationships, trust, friendships, business contacts and most important to the readers of this blog, referrals! The best marketing for your business is other people saying good things about your business, thus referring them to you. This is why building referrals is key.
How do you best accomplish this utilizing online social media?
Your first step is to start by being social. You need to talk to people and then add something of value to their lives. Do not try to sell them your product or service. Once people get to know who you are and find you trustworthy, they’ll be more likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Make them want to find out more.
Where are the best places to build referrals in social media?
  • Twitter
    Talk, share, add value
    • Update
    • Communicate
    • Find more people
    • Wash, rinse, repeat. In that order.
  • LinkedIn
    Answers, join groups, be social
    • Join groups and share your expertise.
    • Answer questions in LinkedIn Answers. Show you know what you’re doing, create a solid track record, and create a desire to find out more of you.
  • Online Communities
    Message boards, forums, Ning social networks
    • Add a signature that says one sentence about what you do and a link to your website. Fill out your profile completely.
    • Add value to these communities, make people want to come to you instead of you chasing them down.
  • ReferralKey
    It should be obvious that since I’m writing here on ReferralKey, that I would recommend their system. After all, it’s free and helps you build referrals off of each other where you all have the same goal in mind.
The common theme that I preach here in social media is that you must add value to your network. If you aren’t adding something, what can you take away? Leave the members of your network with the desire to tell others about you and your business. Create raving fans; don’t be a sales man, be a service man.
This article was written by Kim Fenolio. Kim Fenolio is the Interface Monkey and New Media Super Hero at America’s Best Companies (ABC). ABC is a national-level small business association offering hundreds of discounts, advice, information, tips, and other resources on small business issues that can be used right away to start, grow, and manage their businesses more successfully. Kim has been personally working successful social media strategy since the 1990s and is helping ABC realize success in that medium as well.






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