I’ve been having so many “social media” conversations over the last year. It seems that a lot of small business owners are looking for ways to make this a part of their strategy, but they’re just not sure how.

In this particular conversation, we were talking about working a structured referral strategy. What I mean by structured is that you are actively “working” referral relationships and NOT to makeing them this wonderful surprise!? Referrals are a result of your customers and contacts selling for you.

So, in this conversation when I sat down and literally drew parallels between the referral process he taught me and how I applied it to social media — my friend’s eyes literally lit up!

In today’s tweet chat we’re going to be talking about how much networking and referral building has changed — and how much it hasn’t changed at all.

  • What’s the difference between referral building and networking? Is there one?

helpitcrashed: Hi folks! #diymkt To me networking is you building contacts, referral is clients networking for you based on experience of your service

lizisaacslwc: Yes, Ivana…networking is about bldg relationships, bldg trust and may eventually lead to a referral and/or sale.

_djh: @DIYMKTchat Q1 Yes, but also referals can be rhe result of networking #DIYMKT

lizisaacslwc: Correct, as noted not the same thing. I do a lot of networking online, groups, WOMM etc and not all always leads to a referral #DIYMKT

  • How much of your business depends on referrals?

helpitcrashed: @DIYMKTchat Probably 90% #diymkt

lizisaacslwc: @DIYMKTchat Q2: 90-100% #DIYMKT

helpitcrashed: @lizisaacslwc Other marketing/Google searches #diymkt

lizisaacslwc: @DIYMKTchat Agree, today the cost of such prgms R very cost prohibitive in today’s mrkt. E’ though now is a gr8 time to run a biz. #DIYMKT

  • Are you running a referral system? Why or why not?

helpitcrashed: @DIYMKTchat Not sure this fits Q3 I use InsiderPages.com for reviews, discount ppl who find me there, sometimes incentivise client feedback

  • What tools are you using to manage your network and referrals?

DIYMKTchat: The key is to have and DO a consistent process that involves sharing expertise and connecting with others #DIYMKT

lizisaacslwc: @DIYMKTchat Q3: One such referral tool is BlitzTime #DIYMKT

lizisaacslwc: Nth wrong w/Chamber and assn events, with BlitzTime U don’t have to worry about travel, parking, food/event and other costs. #DIYMKT

DIYMKTchat: #DIYMKT Then I have this client that uses salesforce.com to manage referrers the way we manage customers – it’s very effective

DIYMKTchat: I also like BatchBook as a tool, but I haven’t been using it as much as I could http://bit.ly/HZxnC #DIYMKT

  • In what ways are you using social media as part of your referral system?

helpitcrashed: @DIYMKTchat Using FB, Twitter, LinkedIn has not done much for me #diymkt

lizisaacslwc: @helpitcrashed preBT Twitter and WOMM referrals were my main methods. Being hit and miss at times. #DIYMKT

lizisaacslwc: BlitzTime offers a variety of networking events providing useful info or tips while speed networking w/ 5-9+individs in intervals. #DIYMKT

lizisaacslwc: It has given me the oppty to being drawn to those who can fill in the missing gaps and vice-versa #DIYMKT

  • What’s your secret for building referrals?

lizisaacslwc: @helpitcrashed VG, it’s impt 2 have goals & objectives 2 accomp.those things effectively and 2B a prt of one’s mktg plan/strategies. #DIYMKT

lizisaacslwc: @DIYMKTchat absolutely correct, the HOW is the most impt to ask #DIYMKT

lizisaacslwc: @DIYMKTchat Impt 2b active in communities. My biz blog I have a list which I am still adding to that I generally use a batch reg. #DIYMKT

lizisaacslwc: W/my blogroll–the remainder are used for presence etc. with using them as time permits. #DIYMKT

  • What is the one thing that we should all be doing to build our base of referrers (people who refer)?

helpitcrashed: @DIYMKTchat I noticed starting up and watching others start-the SAME mistakes-branding hence Biz-in-box! built wth n/wing with other #diymkt

lizisaacslwc: @DIYMKTchat Q5a: consistency–overall branding, mktg mats etc. #DIYMKT

lizisaacslwc: @DIYMKTchat yes, that’s why adding webinars, teleconferences i.e. BlitzTime and others to the mix is impt. #DIYMKT

helpitcrashed: @DIYMKTchat To build base of referrers offer outstanding service and a unique product, referrals are a natural result of that #diymkt

helpitcrashed: @DIYMKTchat More social side, http://insiderpages.com for me as a service gives me the best results AND Google ranking V Powerful! #diymkt

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]