The most popular question for marketing experts is “How do I make money using social media?” I used to say that this was the wrong question — but people still keep asking it, so now I’m going to do my best to answer it.

 

How you make money using social media

First and foremost, every social media channel is a relationship building too. And each channel has a focus on different aspects of how to build the relationship. In fact, relationships will often start with one social media channel and move to another and another and another — until that person becomes an integral part of your network or community. Here is a real example of how this happens.

Start with Twitter

Twitter is a social media tool that allows you to follow and watch people from afar — no existing relationship is necessary. Think of Twitter as a sort of news stream or a more physical comparison might be entering a restaurant or bar and simply listening in on the conversations that are going on there. No existing relationship is necessary. You can just bump up against people, swap a few words or share some information and go on from there.

After you’ve developed a sort of “familiarity” with the other person, you may decide to connect with them on LinkedIn.

Impress with LinkedIn

After you’ve gotten interested in someone on Twitter, you may decide to get to know them a little better by following them on LinkedIn. Through your Twitter conversation, you may have decided that this person should be a part of your network and you add them there.

Use your email

Now that you’ve become professionally familiar with someone, you may have exchanged a few emails and explored some potential opportunities of working together or sharing contacts and introductions.

Schedule a call or meeting

Now you’re ready to schedule a call or meeting – get on the calendar, use skype or get together physically if you’re in the same place.

Meet Spontaneously at a conference or city you’re visiting

Now you could be traveling to a conference or a city and want to get some meetings in. At the last minute, you decide to check in with the folks you know in that city and see if you can schedule something.

How is anyone supposed to manage all of that?

The short answer is to use some kind of Customer Relationship Management tool. But the standard tools that are out there, aren’t really designed with social media contacts as their focus. SalesForce.com is a great tool and it has a social media function — if you can afford it. So what else can you do?

Use a SOCIAL CRM – Like Nimble

My solution to this problem is to use Nimble. Nimble is a new social CRM tool. Well, it’s not that new, it’s been around for a couple of years – but the latest update has really transformed how I manage my social relationships. Over the next few posts, I’m going to be sharing my Nimble experience with you — and I urge you to follow along and try it yourself for your business.

What’s a social CRM?

You’re probably familiar with traditional CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools that track contact information and opportunities and projects. Those are great if you are in a business that sells widgets and doesn’t depend too heavily on your social media contacts.

But today’s small business owner that works heavily online and deals with tons of virtual relationships needs a CRM tool that allows them to follow a conversation, offer a solution and move THE RELATIONSHIP through a pipeline and not just a sales proces.

This is where a social CRM — a CRM that is primarily focused on managing social media conversations can be really handy.

DAY 1: Connect your social media accounts and import your contacts

This is super easy to do — just sign up for the free trial and upload as many contacts as the system will let you. Connect all your social media accounts and play explore the system. Just click around and get familiar with all the different tabs.

Day 2: Think about what you’re trying to accomplish in your business through relationships

Now this is the part that you should spend some real serious time thinking about. If you don’t have a good goal or strategy — this isn’t going to work.

For example, I’m launching some new products and want to start building partnerships with other business owners who are selling complementary products and services to my own.

They don’t know me yet — so I’m going to have to figure out a way to get into a conversation with them that is relevant. I also want to look for opportunities where I can be of service in helping them achieve their goals. Maybe they will want to be a guest contributor to my blog? ?Maybe I can contribute to theirs — but I won’t know any of this unless I can watch that stream carefully.

Day 3: Tag — you’re it

The first thing that I’m doing today is finding all the people that fit my target audience relationship. I’m creating a Twitter list and putting all of those people in it.

As I look at the various subject matter experts on Twitter, I”m reading their profiles, I’m going to their web sites and I’m trying to gage if we are a good match. Those that are a good match — get placed on my Twitter list of targeted people.

Day 4: Upload my Twitter list to Nimble

Day 5 – Explore and look for connections

Now that you have all your targeted contacts uploaded, all you have to do is watch and get to know them. Look for areas of opportunity and start communicating with them.

Don’t worry – Nimble will synthesize all your messages and select just the most important ones for you to see in your Nimble Daily email.

Are you already using Nimble? Share some of the ways you’ve been using it and how it’s working for you.