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Someone asked a question on a message board the other day, and it started me thinking again about something I’ve been noticing more and more lately.  The question was basically “Have any of you landed any business from your social media connections?”

It’s a perfectly valid question, to be sure—and I decided to take a moment to reply to it.  My answer was a resounding yes, but as I clarified, not in a “Hey, let me hire you right off of Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn etcetera” kind of way some people might be looking for.

In fact, it doesn’t usually happen that way, folks.

This idea that social media is somehow supposed to function as a direct sales channel goes hand in hand with what I have been seeing more of lately—people seeming to want to make social media a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

In the amount of time someone has gone back and forth debating how much time it’s going to take out of their schedule, worrying about what to say and stressing over whether “social media really works,” they could have already set up a profile, started connecting and be well on their way to seeing that yes—it really and truly does work.

Here’s how social media has produced results for me.  By using it for both a mix of business and regular old conversation, I have built:

1. Visibility for myself and my services and products
2. Know, like and trust for my personal brand
3. Connections with movers and shakers in my niche
4. Subscribers to my blog and email list

These are the things that lead to business, clients, customers and sales. Remember offline networking? It works the same way there as well. Somehow add the words “social media” into the picture and we are thrown into a tizzy of over-thinking and begin to forget this.

The main keys as I see them?

1. Being consistent (Popping in once every few weeks isn’t going to help you out much.)
2. Sharing personality AS WELL AS business info (Don’t be afraid to do this!)
3. Encouraging continued connection OUTSIDE of social media sites (Blog, newsletter, free teleseminars, etc.)

I tweeted about this tendency to over-complicate the other day and mused that it essentially came down to “connect, engage, repeat.” Someone replied that this was “simple, yet brilliant” but I can’t take the credit there. 🙂  It really is as uncomplicated as that.

Now, all you have to do is jump in—and I promise, the water’s fine!

I would love to hear your thoughts…

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