Do you want a boost with your business? Engage our members on social media.
If you want to give your networking within our groups an extra boost, (and I am sure that you do!), you really should consider engaging our members on social media as well. That’s right – social media.
Many people in our industry tend to think that time spent on social media is not actually work. Many don’t even think of it as “real world” activity. But people who think in such ways are being left behind daily by those who are actively engaged in social media. But you will successfully be able to change this attitude if you do one thing:
Stop thinking of social media as a pastime and think of it as an actual tool for getting what you want.
Once you have begun to think of social media in this way you will find it to be a powerful avenue for marketing, public relations and sales.
You don’t have to be involved in all of the “big three” (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) but find one that that you feel more comfortable with and get active. And remember, by being active I mean active. Many people never post anything to their accounts but spend time looking at what other’s post and by the same token there are many people who post but don’t follow up on questions and comments. Both of these styles will only get you half results at best. You need to post and you need to comment or follow up.
I find by far that LinkedIn is the best business tool out there in the social media world and I try to use this tool if you want to use only one of these tools. When done correctly LinkedIn has loads of great pertinent business information about a person and their company. Facebook, though it is thought of a strictly social, isn’t completely social. Many companies and industries have their own Facebook pages and Facebook groups. And Twitter is a very good tool not only for the marketing, PR and sales but also for customer service because you can use it as a gauge for what is being said about you.
So how do I use social media for getting that extra boost in the network?
Here are a few beginner steps I would take:
- Make sure your own information is ‘as it should be‘; By this I mean that your LinkedIn profile be completely filled out. Your Facebook page should have your complete company details, contact information, website, professional profiles (like Twitter accounts, LinkedIn company pages), etc., all on there. Keep in mind the information you would like to put in order so that the right kind of people will find you. If there is a specific type cargo or trade lane you want to work with then this should not only be reflected on the site but it should be loud and clear to others looking there.
- Connect with everyone you have met through our network on LinkedIn: I know this sounds so basic but you would be surprised at how many people fail to do so. And by growing your network in this manner you will be pulled closer into many other interesting people in their own personal networks – like others who work in their company, potential clients for you and you’ll even see their relationships to your competitors!
- Look closely at the profiles of these people you’ve just connected with: Very often I find interesting background information on individuals and companies from LinkedIn profiles that you don’t get from people face-to-face.
- Look for network members’ company pages on LinkedIn and on Facebook: Follow them. You will see opportunities throughout the year from simply doing this.
- Check everything periodically: If you cannot handle this daily then how about Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays? If that is too much then how about Tuesdays and Thursdays? At the very bare minimum once weekly. Set yourself a time for this but whatever that time is do not fail it. Though there is sometimes serendipity and good timing involved, most of the opportunities should be treated the way should should treat a successful ad campaign; consistency. The results come when you get known to the targets.
This business of social media is already second hand to many of the people reading this but others are more resistant. To those who resist I just have this to say. You are losing potential business to the people who are engaged and you will continue to do so until you right the ship.
Gary Dale Cearley is the Managing Director of Advanced International Networks Ltd. (AIN), one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business-to-business networking organizations in the world. AIN’s networks include AerOceaNetwork (AON), XLProjects Network (XLP), and AiO Logistics Netowork (AiO). Gary Dale has been in many facets of international freight forwarding for more than two decades from operations to sales to the owner of the first 100% foreign owned freight forwarding company licensed in Vietnam. The companies that he has been involved with have been both generalists and specialists. He has also worked from large European and Asian multinationals (Danzas and Hankyu Express) as well has small start up forwarders. For the past ten years Gary Dale has owned and operated AIN. He has lived in several major cities in four different countries and he is multilingual. Currently Gary Dale runs the AIN operation from Bangkok, Thailand, but travels the world over.
Gary Dale welcomes all sorts of interactions. If you have questions or comments about anything Gary Dale has written here you may contact him directly by e-mail.