I was listening to Bloomberg on the radio today and heard a segment that I knew I had to share. I knew I had to share it because it was a topic that continues to be discussed and debated. In fact, I had similar conversations with two business owners in the last two weeks.
Social media. Does it actually work?
Let me start by sharing the first conversation that I two weeks ago with my barber. He’s been a barber for over a decade, but recently opened his own shop about 20 minutes from where I live. It’s a little more than I’d like to travel to get cleaned up, but it’s worth it. I’ll tell you why in a minute. But first, let me tell you how I found him. On Instagram. He’s all over it. Photos of his cuts are plastered all over his account, along with at least a dozen hashtags in each post.
So, I was impressed with the haircuts I saw. I knew he could fix me up. Was that enough to send me on the 20-minute drive every two weeks? Probably not, but there’s another aspect to his business that got me hooked. I could schedule an appointment online. Playing the waiting game, not to mention the risk of not getting the guy I want, is a pet peeve of mine. While I found on him on Instagram, he secured my business with the ability to book online.
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I frequently ask business owners how they obtain their clients. Not surprisingly, I’m not the only one who started going to my barber because of his social media presence. He recently told me how Gordon Hayward’s wife found him on Instagram. Since then, the NBA star has been a frequent customer. In fact, Bleacher Report recently highlighted his move away from Great Clips.
I shared the story with a friend who is a top real estate agent for Century 21. He just came back from a sales event in the Bahamas, where he was able to learn and relax. He said a variety of sessions revolved around the importance of social media. My friend isn’t active on social media, although he’s finally beginning to see the value through the stories he hears. It’s not too late to start.
Now, let me get back to the specific segment on Bloomberg I heard. It was about how ultra-luxury car dealers were selling their cars. It appears Instagram is a big channel for sales. One of the folks highlighted in the story attributes $2 million worth of car sales, during the first half of 2017 alone, to Instagram. He’s certain there are even more sales that were likely supported by his social media activity.
While Instagram and other social media platforms can lead to sales top-of-mind positioning, the companies who leverage them best, are creating great experiences for their customers. To put this in perspective, take the car dealer I mentioned. They built a green room with video production equipment that allows clients to take pictures and videos of their new cars for posting. Talk about maximizing social media.
The examples I just gave you are relevant to all industries. I can give you plenty of examples of how your company can be leveraging social media to build relationships with prospects and customers, and at the end of the day, sell more products and services.
Look, it’s not easy to do. It takes time and resources to make it work. And obviously, the effort required directly relates to the type of products and services you sell. In some cases, you’ll need a strategy in place. In some, you’ll need to make sure you’re following complex regulations. In others, you can just post and not overthink it.
There’s no silver bullet when it comes to leveraging social media. But, please don’t tell me that social media doesn’t work. It may be difficult to prove, but it works.