Social Media Network Failure!
As a professional networker and a self-proclaimed social media “guru,” I know a few things about building rapport and exchanging referrals online. I still maintain that the old-school method of face-to-face networking is the most effective. However, social media has widened the playing field to allow more players to enter the game. If you want to be in the big leagues with the professionals, there are some ground rules you need to follow!
A Little Background
About 8 months ago, I relocated from New Orleans, LA, to San Antonio, TX. I literally knew only 2 people when I arrived and they had only been here a few months longer than me. To make matters worse, I don’t actually do business in San Antonio! I moved here to be more centrally located to the territory I manage. That makes it much harder for me to meet local people and rebuild my network. I prefer to as many things by referral as possible. I kept the same hairdresser in Nashville, TN, for 7 years after she was recommended by a co-worker. This situation has caused me to rely on my vast social media network more than usual. A recent episode made me realize just how inexperienced most people are at online networking!
I need an insurance agent that can quote multiple auto companies. I don’t have the time or desire to call 5-6 different places to find the best deal. I prefer to give my info once and let someone else do the work. Plus, it’s nice to have a living, breathing agent to call if there is an issue! My first attempt was to message the real estate agent I used to find my rental. I sent an email and waited… and waited… and waited. Later that evening, I saw she was posting things on Facebook, so I commented “Yo lady! Check your e-mail ;-).” Anyone who has met me knows my humor. That was my nice way of letting her know I was awaiting her response. The reply I got was not what I expected, “You making me crazy sir!!!” I assumed she was just being funny and would respond to the e-mail shortly. It has now been 4 days with no response.
The next day, I posted on Facebook asking if any of my insurance friends could quote in Texas or knew someone that could. Several people responded with names, tagging those folks in the process. Not a single person reached out to me to see if they could assist. Thankfully, my manager, who also lives here, noticed my post and sent me her agent’s information. I was going to ask her directly but knew she was in a meeting all day. Hopefully, I can get a good quote and build a new business relationship!
What's Wrong with This Picture?
Personal Referral Fail!
The fact that the real estate agent couldn’t take 5 minutes to send me the name of an insurance agent completely baffles me! What kind of agent would pass up an opportunity to create some goodwill and potentially a return referral in the future? Whenever I contact someone I was referred to, I am sure to let them know who sent me. I am sure that insurance person would have been appreciative of the recommendation and would have been likely to return the favor at some point. The second issue is that she was supposed to be MY agent! That’s the kind of service you provide to someone you want to do business with in the future. I can guarantee that I will think twice about who to call when the time comes.
Time to Weigh In!
What is Your Preferred Social Media Network for Referrals?
Social Media Fail!
Rule #1 – If someone tags you on Facebook to help someone, RESPOND!!! At the very least, you will want to thank the person that tagged you. This has happened to me several times. Someone asks for a recommendation. I tag someone and then, crickets. Guess who I WON’T be recommending in the future!
Rule #2 – It is not the requestor’s responsibility to contact YOU! If I am asking for a recommendation and someone tags you. It is incumbent upon you to make the first contact! YOU are the so-called professional. Of the 3-4 names tagged on that post, not a single person attempted to contact me in 3 days. I understand that you may get busy. However, if you are conducting business using social media, that kind of response time is completely unacceptable. Even IF I heard from someone now, I would tell them I am no longer in need of their services.
Rule #3 – Treat everyone as though they are a goldmine of referrals. You never know what connections someone might have. I literally WROTE A BOOK about networking. I know people all over the country and I treat my referral partners very well. Everyone that dropped the ball on this one lost out on potential future business, not to mention all the social media accolades I heap upon those to assist me!
Sadly, this is not the first time this has happened and it will not be the last. Some people have a lot to learn about effective online networking. Am I perfect? Of course, not! We all make mistakes. The point is to correct the mistakes as soon as possible and not let them fester. They could turn into an annoyed blog rant! I am not going to name any names, but if someone happens to read this that was involved, so be it. Consider this a learning experience.