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You send out information about your company, your products or services, you, your staff, tips, tricks and articles relating to your business, anything you feel your community may be interested in, or will find useful. This is your content and the content you decide to send out will be centred around the needs and interests of your current and potential customers.

Your content is like a fishing trip. You cast it out into the social media pond, fishing for connections and interest. A few morsels may come your way in the form of questions, perhaps even a request for a bit of free help or advice (and if you want to be seen to be the expert in your field, giving this free advice in public will certainly help that end).  If you’re a consistent and patient fisherman and you’re fishing in the right place, the big fish will eventually start taking the bait. These big fish may take the shape of a great online reputation, solid relationships, or sales leads.

You can start relationships by chatting to people who have approached you for advice, or those you have approached for their advice. You can build on these relationships online or can take these relationships offline to build them further. Eventually, you will have a large community and people will increasingly come to you for help and advice. If you’ve been giving that stuff away freely, publicly, not only will other members of your community have seen your expertise in action, they will spread the word amongst their family and friends. The people you have helped will also spread the word and recommend you to others online and offline. You’ll foster a great reputation in your community. The next time someone wants to buy what you have to offer, they’re much more likely to come to you, than anyone else.

I’m not just spouting a standard spiel here. I can use my own company as a case study. I began by following companies similar to mine, companies peripherally related to mine and companies which fitted my ideal client persona in my local area. I chatted to people online, became involved in existing online communities and offered free advice. I also met with some people offline when the opportunity arose and posted online about those meetings. In this way, I built a solid online community around my business, which complemented my offline community. I use both online and offline methods to keep in touch with everyone.  I still offer free advice to anyone who needs it and this creates great relationships, reputation and then sales leads.

So, fishing with your content, helping everyone you can and demonstrating your expertise, leads to solid relationships first, sales leads and testimonials later.…and that is how it works!

 

Author: Lorraine Windsor

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