CAR WASH - Fall 2014 - (Page 75)

marketingminute The ROI of social media i was neVer a fan of the cocktail party networking scene. I will never be one to dart around a room shoving business cards into hands. I prefer meaningful conversations with people, getting to know them and vice versa. But social media networking? That's something different altogether. Done right, it's never a hit-and-run. Rather, it consists of building relationships over months, and even years, by sharing information - both professional and personal - through posts and comments, and responding to questions in various online communities. the more YoU taKe Part in conVersations Via comments anD resPonses, the LIveLIer AND MOre vIsIBLe yOur PreseNCe BeCOMes. I'll refer to the return on investment, or ROI, for putting that kind of time into social media as RON - "return on networking." And for me, it's huge. I've been on Facebook for five years; I also have Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts, among others. All totaled, I'm now approaching 100,000 friends, followers and connections. Those followers expose my name and message to their audiences every time they "like" one of my posts or share one of my links. Recently, someone re-tweeted something I'd shared on Twitter, and he had 130,000 followers! That's a potential audience of 130,000 people I likely would not have reached otherwise. gaining exPosUre Who knows how many of those people may someday become my clients? Who cares? I'll still consider the exposure a good RON and here's why: The RON of social media isn't always tangible, not immediately, anyway. By establishing a continued presence online through regularly sharing content of use to my followers, I'm building my platform and my reputation as an expert. That grows in surprising ways - and lives in surprising places. Late last year, I got a call from a prominent New York City hair stylist, the director of a salon in one of that city's premier department stores. He wanted to talk about some publicity needs and what my company could do to help him. When I asked how he got my name, he explained he'd written some books over the years with a co-author, and she'd heard me at a speaking engagement. The next thing he said came as a complete surprise. "So, then I contacted the corporate office [of the department store chain] and asked what PR agency they would recommend." To my surprise, they recommended me and my company. I don't know a soul in the corporate offices of that high-end retail chain. I can only guess they learned of me through social media. Being on Twitter or Google+ isn't enough, of course. You have to make a diligent effort to regularly post content that people find valuable, including links to informative articles, tips relevant to your topic, and informed insights on topics in the news. You also have to "be a human." Post photos when you go on vacation, celebrate milestones or engage in hobbies. Posting these with a comment adds a personal touch that allows followers to connect on an emotional level. Interaction is equally important. Strive to respond to every comment or question posted on your networking sites. Interacting is engaging, and people who are engaged tend to be happy followers. The more you take part in conversations via comments and responses, the livelier and more visible your presence becomes. The RON includes increased traffic to your website; increased trust in your brand and what you're selling; and greater word of mouth than you could ever hope for by attending a cocktail party or performing a speaking engagement. Marsha Friedman is CEO of EMSI Public Relations, a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Friedman is the author of Celebritize Yourself: The Three Step Method to Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business. For more information, visit www. Follow Friedman on Twitter @marshafriedman. fall 2014 | car wash magazine | 75

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CAR WASH - Fall 2014

Letter from the ICA
Meet the Board
By the Numbers
Overheard Online
Does your company need a rebrand?
Expert advice
On target
Give your business a boost with online videos
What’s next?
The rebirth of Ceccato
Car wash industry loses a true legend
Mighty Wash moves quickly to shape future of car wash industry
Let your site shine
A powerful marketing advantage: Your company’s anniversary
Search engine marketing value proposition
Creating the car wash industry: An inside look
Blast from the Past
Download It!
Marketing Minute
Ask Champ
Mea Culpa!
Advertiser Index
Focus on the Member

CAR WASH - Fall 2014