In our company we have discovered the Social Media as a buzz word several years ago. Actually we were not even a company, just a few professionals of the market working in other good (back then) companies. Though, through exchange of information, discussions, ideas, radical changes in personal and business life, and a strong beginning of friendship we decided to do something of our own.
So what is new about all this
Actually the tricky part in all this was that we had to start from scratch when we decided to form a company. We had no clients. Not even one. We just knew companies with executives trusting us for knowing the job but that was all¦ Some of them became clients (one at first), others didn’t.
So we had to cope with the very challenge of how to attract clients, build up reputation (without clients), serve the client and the general web community€ out there, keep up with the fast pace of web, build an increasing and better client base, make synergies, produce our work and still have a life.
We noticed that our past reputation followed us. When we said that we were involved or build this and that project for large companies or organizations people sat down and listen to us. But, after a while we noticed that it was not our past experience which got the job, but that we actually knew what we were talking about. So, we were talking with clients through experience and notÂ by reading some material somewhere. Additionally to that was the very fact that we cared for each project separately. We wanted the client to have results and have the best for his goals. Of course, all the different aspects of having a business continuously kicked in.
Making new clients
We examined our assets. These were:
- No budget for marketing (leaflets, google adwords, printed advertisement or participating in magazines, etc).
- We had no clients. No one knew us as a team/company. Our website had a low pagerank due to nobody visited this site, no links of ours where in client’s websites, etc, due to nobody knew us. You can see the problem there.
- We had laptops, desktops, internet connection and some nice stationary. That was all. Ah, and some desks. And suits.
- Also we had knowledge of the capabilities of the medium called internetâ€ and web.
- We had good will, determination and this perception that we can offer something good to business out there if just somebody would let us do it and learn that we existed.
What we had to do
- Build a website. This of course to say out loud what we were about. Our business was and is â€“bottom line- services to business to contribute to goal achievements. Ideas, technology, etc serve only for that. In short, help businesses make money.
- Build and establish something tangible beyond a client base.
- Build a client base
- Expand but keep the costs controllable.
- Build a good reputation even if this would cost us some business and income.
- Establish a specific concept with which our clients or perspective clients would say about us after they meet us. This was easy as we didn’t have to try to do it. It just came out naturally, because we just wanted to be useful to a client. Not simply sell Content Management Systems, or Design or Development or e-marketing. This was never our approach and still is not. We wanted to offer bigger value from the one we received. The times we kinda got smoother in this rule, this kicked back. Hard lessons come to establish hard truths.
- Acquire more knowledge and find time to experiment more with new ideas and concepts.
- Try, evaluate, drop, continue, develop some of our ideas. In a few words experiment and gain knowledge.
- Listen, change, adopt, listen more to the whole market community. This involves professionals, clients and anyone of the ecosystem.
- We wanted to NOT engage in any black hat marketing. Not due to fear of Google Don’t Be Evil code of conduct but due to our ethics.
- Enhance web presence with simply seeing more clients. Thus we managed to see 100 different companies in a period of a few months and serve them with 100 tailor made proposals. This was our offline marketing.
What eventually happened
- Carefully we used everything in the web concept to promote our company.
- We participated in discussions, we sent out information for us and our expertise, always keeping in mind not to simply reproduce texts but to say something useful to each one.
- Tested different models of how people listen and found out where we were not listening.
- Establish our presence almost everywhere had any meaning to be â€œvirtuallyâ€ present. In some cases also physical present.
- Communicated, listened to what others said, what others do.
- Expanded on measuring things, drilling deeper in information and finding ideas.
- Being proactive to what we call community that matters. However, still there is work towards that direction.
- Distinguishing between community offer from â€œbusiness build up.
- Still cared for our clients needs.
- Made long lasting synergies in various and different levels and kept the level of caring still high in almost all cases.
- We maintain blogs in the way we find meaningful to have them.
- Changed as persons and adopted new approaches in life and moved them in business.
- We had to work with and try different models of doing our business. Either remotely or other.
- To gain more knowledge we simply asked. Both clients and people boiling with ideas and concepts.
- We still love what we do and we want to expand this to new levels and horizons.
What is the outcome of this?
- Doubled our earnings last year.
- We haven’t spent a single euro in advertisement of any kind. That’s not entirely true as we have spent some 500 euros in total all these years just to test waters in some areas only to prove that our gut feeling was right.
- We are here for almost 7 years by keeping up building reputation, participating and caring and acquiring more business.
- We still want to give back more to the community that help us all these years with knowledge, advices.
- Clients recommend us as best value for money and not as expensive/cheap/good/ etc. This was our goal from day one and still is.
- To build and sustain a reputation like this one, is not a marketing effort. It has to be a reflection of people’s and associates philosophy and modus vivendi. Not simply modus operandi.
- We still have the ability to change and adopt and find new interests.
- Time IS money. It will be paid eventually and the best use of it is a must.
So, what the article title has to do with it?
It’s rather clear actually isn’t it? Advising about Social Media means that someone has done this for the benefit at least of his company and that this has worked with results. More experience in this specific sector was added but the principle remains the same. But, also:
- A budget is good to have to speed up things and hire services. Like ours, for example.
- Some elements remain unchangeable: Determination, Commitment, Necessity, Caring, Participation, Something Good to Offer.
- Investment in people, community and contribution is far from any budget to establish long term value of any kind.
- All models of advertisement are good if they aim to establish permanent things. Until of course these have to change.
- Reputation build is reputation following you. Continuously.
Thanks for reading. For more just feel free to contact us.