AUSTIN, TX—(July 3, 2013) Using social media to ensure repeat business with current customers and drive new business to your firm can be daunting.
Michelle Golden, president of Golden Practices, Inc., recently presented ways to perform that daunting task successfully to the attendees and sponsors of the 2013 Women Business Leaders Forum sponsored by the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA).
Social media has made marketing more personal, said Golden. It has created an environment where people have to be more authentic. They have to be themselves. Because it is more personal and authentic, Golden argues it is more effective. Social media tools and their users allow for information sharing, thereby leading to stronger relationships. Golden focused on how the use of blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can help business leaders create and grow personal relationships with current customers, referral sources and people looking for services that they provide.
Golden illustrated how social media is an inexpensive way to push information out to people looking for the services that business owners provide. She explained that the information promoted to followers does not always have to be something original, but can be shared content created by someone else. By sharing information from other sources, businesses are engaging with customers and potential clients without actually having to create content.
During her presentation, Golden expressed the importance of the role of marketing in ensuring repeat business from existing clients. Business owners have to carefully consider content, anticipating questions or problems from their followers and how to help them. She said marketing is about visibility, credibility and reassurance. When using social media, the tone of marketing is very different. It is not about firms themselves, she noted. It is about the buyers and how relevant a business is to their needs.
Developing a social media presence also allows the business leader to monitor what is being said about his or her own firm and deal with any issues that may arise immediately. Once a company develops an online presence, if an issue arises, they can respond and take the issue offline for further resolution. This allows them to repair the relationship and shows others who see the information online that they stand behind their service.
After the general session, some of the ensuing roundtable groups had Golden join their conversations. In those discussions, participants dug deeper with her about real-life examples from her stage presentation and general marketing theory.
Michelle Golden makes it clear: the relationship between social media and business is here to stay. To be competitive and keep growing their firms, business owners are going to have to use it effectively. If they want to reach potential clients and build stronger relationships with current clients, social media is a powerful and inexpensive tool.
Shannon M. Edwards, ERPA, QPA, QKA
President, TriStar Pension Consulting
ASPPA member since 1996