A Great question came up the other day at one of our Business Networking Lunches: "Should I market my business on Facebook?"
Now, the simple answer is YES! ...But wait, there's more.
As it turns out, the owner of this particular company was concerned that his direct competition would work their 'Fan' (now 'Likes') list to take away their client base - via cold-calling and other social media prospecting activities.
Now there's one I hadn't heard before, and I was just about to discount their concern when I began to really think about it. I believe it's actually a valid concern. Imagine you are in a service industry - let's take something with a monthly subscription for example, say Insurance or Investing. If you were to create a FB page to aggregate your client base, you would be culling your entire book of business into a publicly visible page where your competition could swoop down and sic their telemarketing pros on your key revenue stream - significantly impacting renewals and/or upgrades.
Sound a bit paranoid? Perhaps. My response was that the vast majority of Real Estate professionals have embraced social media with their clientele - and that they are a largely disloyal bunch (that's us, the clients of the REALTORS). We are readily available for any other Broker / Agent to pursue, prospect, cold call, or pop-by (with a nice Apple Pie... thanks Mr. Buffini). So here's the $64 question: Do they (REALTORS) do it? - And if not, then why not?
Valid points all.
Rather than answering on my own, I present it here for the consensus. . . along with my '2 cents' as well.
Point #1: Your customers are ALWAYS available for your competition to prospect and recruit. If your industry is not contractual enough to protect your core business / revenue stream, then you are either stressed out beyond all hope already OR you have systems (read: Superior Customer Service / Loyalty Programs) in place to preserve and prolong your valuable relationships.
Point #2: If *you* don't show up there, rest assured that your competition WILL. That said, if your client is participating in Social Media (and they are) understand that they will find your competitor. Not only will they find them, they'll be all the more convinced that your competitor 'speaks their language' and is relatable to them - this is a dangerous situation for you, and potentially hazardous to your book of business.
Point #3: Think Abundance, not Scarcity. Stop focusing on the potential 'Loss' that Social Media could bring. The Social Media pie is WAY BIGGER than what you have access to without it. Even if you were to lose 10% of your client base, it is my belief that you would stand to gain another 20-30% of business over the next few quarters by 'showing up' where your clients, prospects, and referrals live - and that's Social Media.
Point #4: Check your referral volume. The #1 reason for engaging in Social Media is to leverage Referrals from existing 'Fans' - - your 'Key Influencers, your 'Raving Fans', your 'Happy Customers' can share, recommend, forward, suggest, and REFER you business unlike anywhere else.
Remember friends - we don't 'own' the customer. We are just 'stewards' with the wonderful opportunity to serve them, for as long as we bring superior value to them in the marketplace. Engage and Appreciate. Social Media is one of the very Best ways to Stay in Touch to Stay in Business.
Embrace the Change - Stay in Touch!
Tim Mancuso is a musician, public speaker and the former VP Sales & Marketing for Social Media startup ViewMyLife. He is focused on training and coaching business owners and entrepreneurs on leveraging traditional and new media to Stay in Touch with their clients, prospects, and key influencers. Follow On Twitter @TimMancuso or connect on Linkedin.com and Facebook.com