Social Media is all the rage these days, if you haven’t been directed by colleagues to their Linked In, Facebook or Twitter account you’ve been living under a rock. Yet skepticism as to whether social media has a place in the corporate world is still very strong, while retail appears to be able to effectively utilize social media as shown in the article US retailers after Black Friday – who won the social media battle for customers? , service-based firms are having a difficult time understanding how social media can benefit them. If managed correctly Social Media can open a whole new market and yes,,,more business. Social media is more than putting information out for all to see…it is also a means to gaining the necessary data for targeting new business leads and developing those leads into business.
My experience as a service-based company has been that social media provides the resources needed to find qualified teaming partners for international firms in the pursuit of new business. How many of us have kicked ourselves because we find that we have missed an opportunity because we were business chasing after less promising leads? Social media provides the additional eyes and ears out in the field without hiring additional personnel.
My international programs take place in Brazil. I have traveled to Brazil several times over the past three years. As an International Partnership Broker it is my job to research and understand what it takes to break into a country internationally. The past three years have been spent developing the relationships needed to do business in Brazil. The first three trips were spent learning the business climate and culture and meeting with key decision-makers to understand what was needed in Brazil that US firms could provide.
As a result I was able to gather a great deal of information to take back to the states to develop a strategic plan to help US firms enter the Brazilian market. One area that social media has been extremely beneficial to me over the past three years, besides the traditional message push, is that it has allowed me to locate key team players without having to engage in expensive PR or marketing campaigns to find suitable partners.
One perfect example is that while meeting with the Vice Governor of Rio, he indicated to me that Rio needed an alternate transportation resource that could travel over open ocean water. Knowing that the only vessels that could do this were hovercrafts, I put out a search through Linked-In “groups” and found several that I could explore. Through extensive research I was able to narrow the list down and eventually settled on one right here in my own state. The point being that something that normally would have taken weeks to do took me a matter of days.
Social media is just the beginning of the next wave of innovative technology developments coming down the pike. Without a solid grasp of the concepts and benefits that social media has to offer, firms will soon find themselves behind the eight ball trying to catch up. It all starts with a “Strategic Plan”. Just like your traditional marketing plan, but incorporating Social Media tools. How these tools can be incorporated will be discussed in Part Two of this blog “Understanding How Social Media Fits Into a Service-Based Marketing Plan.”
DAVNA Enterprises, LLC is a Marketing and International Partnership Brokerage firm dedicated to the Architectural, Engineering and Construction, Transportation and Technology industries to improve their marketing initiatives and the effectiveness of their international positioning efforts through market partnering and positioning.