The Business of Social Media

I have heard many people say that they don’t think social media is a very good way to meet people. Usually they say that it is only valuable to meet people face-to-face. I guess these people have forgotten how they probably first met many of their clients by a telephone call. Either the client called in as a prospect or as a new producer they spent a good deal of time making telephone calls to introduce themselves and get interest from the prospect. Also, think about those insurance carrier underwriters and brokers that you talk to almost every day. Have you met all of them in person? Did you always know them the 1st time you ever called them? My experience is that the answer is often, no I haven’t met them. But I have built some great, long term business relationships and friendships with a number of these individuals and I still haven’t met some of them.

I look at today’s social media as the new phone call. Best part is, there is no playing tag or leaving voice mail. Over the past 2 years I have met some pretty great people via social media. Sometimes I am introduced, other times, I introduce myself. Some of them I have never met and some of them I have never talked to on the phone. However, that has not impaired our ability to communicate, help each other and do business together.

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In the last few weeks, I have worked with Richard Biever at Copper Lion to have my business cards re-designed and printed. All of this was done via social media and email and payment online. Now you might be asking, how did I find Richard since he is in Indiana and I am in Texas and why did I choose him? The answer is that several months ago Nibby Priest (who I also met via social media) posted a link to what looked like an interesting blog for Mary Biever. That blog was “Tiptoe with the Typewriters“. I liked the post so much that I asked Mary if I could have her as a guest communicator at the Insurance Ecosystem blog. Through following Mary I found that Richard did great design at the Copper Lion. She posted a picture of her new business cards one day and I knew he was the person to design my new cards.

This week I have had a conversation via Twitter with an agent that I have been following for a number of months regarding the need for an APP based on my recent post on YES-Your Agency Needs an APP. I also asked Jason if you could recommend the best area of Detroit for my husband and I to stay over a weekend. He said we needed to talk so we communicated via twitter about a time to talk. When Jason called, he said, this is cool, I don’t think we have ever talked by phone before. He and I discussed my plans for the weekend in Detroit and he gave me his input on where to stay. Now Jason and I began following each other after I began following Ashley. I no longer remember how Ashley and I found each other.

I have many more examples of how social media has provided me with great business and personal connections. I could not have possibly made some of these valuable connections in my regular world without social media. I would most likely not crossed paths with these individuals.

Don’t look down your nose at social media. Learn how it can enhance your life, both business and personal.

Share your great social media stories with us.

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  • Jason verlinde

    Right on Pat! This week I not only spoke with you for the first time (after many Twitter/Facebook conversations) but had lunch with someone who lives 5 miles from my office but our paths only crossed via twitter.

    The value in social media isn’t able to be measured in dollars and cents any easier than you can place a monetary value on a relationship!

    • Thanks for your comments Jason. I heard some recently respond to a question on social medial ROI with this question. Do you know the ROI on your business cards. I thought that was just great. Looking forward to meeting you in person in May.

  • Great article Pat. I have connected with and met so many people, that have great things to share, through social media. Sure, conferences are great ways to connect and meet folks, but social media seems to “fast forward” relationships (and can do so with your prospects and clients). To be able to connect so quickly, find common interests and help where we can online we are finding the real value in what social media can do for us.
    That’s not to say that the in-person meeting is not still vitally critical to building relationships, but interactions online are bringing new ways to also help build those relationships.

    • Jason, thanks for your comments. I really agree with your comment that social media seems to “fast forward” relationships.

  • Ageorge

    Pat, you’re spot on, great insight. I can remember talking to clients that I never met…all done via phone, fax and email. In some cases, I had no idea what they looked like. Social media gives you a window into who your potential clients and vendors are…you get much more of an idea of how they view business and even what type of client they will be…if they have a sense of humor, for example, what their interests are.

    Social media also connected me to some of the people I’ve interviewed in the last year or so… Seth Godin, Amber Nasland, Ishta Gutpa, Luke Williams, and others. Most likely, I would have never “met” these people…but through blogs, facebook, twitter, I got to know them and their work and wanted to know more and share. Eventually I got the opportunity to speak to them on the phone….

    I think it’s also all about what your approach is to social media and how open you are to getting out of you comfort zone.

    • Annie, thanks so much for your comments and insight. Look at the awesome people you have been able to talk to and interview because of social media. As you say, it is what you make of it and expanding your comfort zone.

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  • As a matter of fact – I have met most of the people who have commented on this post via social media. I have never met Kim Woodbridge – the person who helped design and maintains my website. But also, it is through Social Media that I have forged much closer and personal erlationships with business associates – including our relationship Pat. Social Media has indeed helped create a “flat world”.

    • Rick, I agree with you about being to have much closer and more personal relationships with business associates. I think you and I are a great example of that. I’ve know who Rick Morgan is for years, but never had the opportunity to get to know you better. However, social media has changed all of that. And thanks to that relationship, you introduced me to Kim Woodbridge who has helped me so much and supports me technically in designing new websites for new and existing clients. Thanks for your great comments.