The Hidden Value of Digital Networking To Your Small Business
When you think of your social community, who do you think of? Many will only think of the consumers in the community and will aim all dialogue at them. While this can be effective at engaging that one audience with your brand or company, it does not foster the development of a wider community. The hidden value of developing a wider community is that you can call on that community to help you achieve your business goals and make the most out of your budget. Here are some considerations to help you achieve that.
Are you the sole voice of your social media programs? How many companies involve every level of employee in social media? The sad truth is it is not enough. If your use of social media is, in part, an effort to positively shape the customer experience, then why should engaging consumers be limited to marketing or social media people? Employees on the ground level have a lot to contribute to your social narrative, as does the president of the company and those in between. If you are willing to look to others in your business to assist you in your social efforts, be sure to clarify your expectations. As an example, identify what are appropriate topics of conversation, and what should or should not be commented on.
Consider also using your social media audience as a means to attract new employees to your business. Reaching out to the community through social networking will allow you to find potential workers who are knowledgeable about your brand and who already have shown that they are fans. Don’t forget that you can also use social media platforms to learn more about your prospective employees. It’s amazing what you can learn about a person without ever having to do a reference check, just by using social media.
Suppliers and Partners
No company is an island. Supplier and partner relationships should also be fostered online as well as in person. By engaging and working with suppliers and partners online, you keep lines of communication open. You can extend the reach of your marketing messages through your supplier or partner’s social media channels. You can also use digital networking to create new relationships with potential partners (as well as customers!) The barriers to become digital acquaintances and friends is much lower then to do it through formal channels and can be used as a stepping stone to engage other companies further.
In sum, digital networking is much like in-person networking. The wider your network is, the stronger your relationships are with that network, the more value can be generated from your digital networking activities.