twitter

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. When I was 14, my brother bought a hand held CB radio and I was instantly hooked! I quickly progressed to a more powerful radio and spent hours and hours chatting to my friends and making new ones. On several occasions I remember chatting to people late at night, only to wake several hours later with just a crackling radio for company – the person I’d been talking too, had given up on me long ago.

But how much better is social media? Instead of being limited to within my hometown (I think rose tinted glasses may be at play here – my signal probably didn’t reach further than a few hundred metres, despite the enormous aerial in my parents back garden!) now the world is your oyster…

We can build relationships with people on the other side of the world, find people that we lost touch with years ago, and link up with people that we don’t yet know, but who have the same interests as us. This is far removed from the random chats with random people that I had on my CB. Some business’s have embraced social media fully, and are reaping the rewards. Others have dipped a toe in and would like to do more, but don’t have the knowledge or the resources. There are of course some who still don’t even have a web-site!

As I’m writing this, it’s occurred to me that some of my old CB friends are also my facebook friends. Who would have thought that friendships forged on the CB would still be going strong some 25 years later!

I wonder what social networking will be like in another 25 years. It quite obviously has a greater mainstream longevity than CB radio. I believe we’re still in the early stages, with many companies yet to engage fully and exploit it to the maximum. The next few years are going to see massive growth, and personally, I’m ready and waiting to ride this roller coaster called Social Media.

One of the questions I get asked all the time is, does social media really work? Can it bring me new customers and more business?

The answer, for the majority of businesses in the UK (there will always be a few exceptions!) is undoubtedly YES!

However, I heard a great story just the other day which really highlights the potential and power of social media. This particular anecdote concerns Twitter.

There’s a very successful UK entrepreneur called Nigel Botterill. Nigel has built five separate million pound plus businesses in the last five years so, he knows a lot about what it takes to build businesses fast. He was one of the first business people to properly understand the potential and power of social media and he has driven literally hundreds of thousands of people to his websites and generated tens of thousands of pounds of revenue directly through social media over the last few months.

However, the story I heard last week is very powerful. Nigel was running a Boot Camp to train potential franchisors, i.e. people that wanted to franchise their business, over two days at his head offices in Solihull. Tickets cost over £2,000 and the event was fully booked.

On the Sunday evening before the event, Nigel put a Tweet out on Twitter that said, “Really looking forward to my Franchisors Boot Camp tomorrow – off for an early night to make sure I’m on top form (hopefully)”.

Now, this is not one of the most insightful Tweets you will ever see(!) but, what happened next is fascinating and illustrates really well the power of Twitter. One “follower” of Nigel is a guy called Jat Mann who runs a business called PC Pal. Jat has recently franchised his business out and when he saw this Tweet from Nigel (at 9.00pm on a Sunday evening don’t forget) it was the first he knew about Nigel’s Boot Camp. He was very keen to get a place so he tweeted back to Nigel asking for more information. Unfortunately, Nigel had gone offline so Jat jumped on the internet and started filling in every email form he could find on all of Nigel’s websites. One of those emails got picked up by one of Nigel’s colleagues who called Nigel at home at 10.15pm on a Sunday evening to ask whether he would accept another person on his Franchisors Boot Camp.

Long story short, Jat turned up at Nigel’s offices on the Monday morning at 8.30am, paid his £2k plus on credit card and joined the Boot Camp.

The point of this story is to illustrate the ability that Twitter has to generate business and, what’s great about this particular anecdote is that it is completely ring fenced, nothing else was at play here – just Twitter.

Now, it would be easy to dismiss this story as an isolated incident – “Oh, Nigel got lucky!” However, that would be to overlook the platform that had been built over the previous months. Nigel has a large number of followers on Twitter and Jat was one of those people. Nigel engages with his audience on Twitter all the time. Consequently, he is seen as being interesting and interested and, so relationships are forged.

When Nigel launches new products or has new initiatives he is able to let his followers know about these things in the right way, at the right time and a heck of a lot of business gets done as a result.

This kind of platform and access to this community is available to you too – IF you use social media properly.

If you need any help in this regard…..then you know where to come!