Yesterday I completed my second BNI training at Furze Hill and I am now convinced more than ever – social media is like a BNI meeting. They fit together seamlessly.
This training, with Gill Tiney, was all about referrals – both giving and gaining. But also to look at what kind of referral you’re willing to accept. Now that was a new concept for me, but very important. How warm do you want that referral to be?
The essence seemed to be about getting stuck in and really working at promoting the members of the chapter. And people will thank you for it and reciprocate, which is the whole idea, of course. I guess as I go on it’s the subtleties, the details that make the difference. People remember you doing stuff for the whole group or members within the group do on a more individual basis.
Referral Skills Workshop and Social Media
I felt I needed the referrals workshop because I don’t know many people in Essex. I’m from Birmingham and have only recently moved to the area. This is the one part of the Traffic Lights system I really need help with. So I went along.
At one point during the course the social media similarity really hit home. The question was
Simple ways to promote other people’s businesses
Great, social media of course. For me, this is what I do so I see the opportunities right from the off. So here goes
- if you have used them write a testimonial and turn it into a blog post about their business
- then write it a second time and turn it into another blog post on THEIR site – a guest blog post (it should really be a bit different)
- Tweet about the experience
- Tweet about the blog post of the experience
- You can write a status update on Facebook and LinkedIn about the experience
- And, you guessed it, write a status update about the blog post too
As Gill Tiney pointed out the testimonial you write should be handed out as a paper copy but also the recipient really ought to get a digital copy. So email them a your word doc and they can cut and paste. Easy.
But it doesn’t stop there. You really should go onto BNI Connect and paste the testimonial onto their profile and do the same on LinkedIn. Then, of course, you can tweet all of these at some point!
Using social media for business is all about getting the most out of the content you create – leverage the Americans call it. Doing all of this off one testimonial is certainly leveraging that content.
Know, like and trust – social media is like a BNI meeting
This is huge in both BNI and social media. The overlap is huge. Networking at the BNI is all about meeting and chatting to trusted business people with expertise in their area. On the MSP (Member Success Program) they mention that you already glean a certain amount of trust because you pay to join, you have already been vetted and recommended by someone from the chapter.
But you still have to get to know people so they can like you and trust you. Then they can feel happy to recommend your services to people outside of the group. It’s not an instant thing.
So to on social media. To get people from liking your Facebook page to becoming a paying customer is not straightforward. It takes more than simply putting up a few status updates and the odd image about your business. You have to give something.
Your fans need to get to know you. Help them in some way, give them some tips and tricks on things to do or avoid. Stuff that is related to your business and illustrates your expertise. Always answer any questions you get, help them.
Then your fans will get to like you for helping them and learn to trust you. Then of course they start talking to their friends about you, sharing your posts. And that’s useful. It’s a bit like chatting to your friends and family about the plumber/electrician at BNI. Social media is like a BNI meeting!