I was speaking with a few colleagues the other day about the different benefits of social media as a whole, and blogging in particular. The folks in the room had varying levels of social media involvement, from no involvement at all to heavy involvement. Each of us discussed what we hope to get out of social media, why we blog or might consider it, and how businesses can benefit from blogging. The discussion went on for some time, covering the wide ranging benefits from SEO opportunities to more frequent customer touch points and everything in between. After a while, it quieted down a bit and somebody asked me if they had missed anything on the list.
Skip the First Meeting
While our blog serves many purposes, one of them I hadn’t heard mentioned by the group was one of the things that I find most useful. Having a well planned blog and social media presence, with what we hope is interesting and insightful content, allows us to Skip the First Meeting.
So what do I mean when I say Skip the First Meeting? Unfortunately, despite how well you may try to vet things ahead of time, inevitably in our business you run into an opportunity that 5 minutes into that first meeting, after you’ve sniffed each other and gotten a bit more of a sense of your businesses — you both know isn’t a fit. You don’t think alike, you don’t value the same things, really whatever those components may be. Of course generally by this time somebody has ordered food, or driven out of their way, or fired up a PowerPoint or laser lights show, or something else entirely, and it’s too late to do anything but spend the next 45-60 minutes or more there despite you each knowing this isn’t going to work out.
Now, we often head this meeting off at the pass. We’ll send a contact or prospect a link to our blog ahead of time, and also encourage them to connect with and follow us on social networks, and ask them to read through these pieces ahead of time before scheduling that first get together. By doing this, we make much more efficient use of their time and ours. We try to convey the idea here that we want to be involved in strategy and planning and believe in taking a holistic view of marketing, and that shines through in our posts.
When we discover the poor fit, we each save ourselves the time of an unproductive meeting where we just won’t be a fit for each other (although sometimes we do miss those laser light shows). And just as importantly, for those that could be a fit, we’ve fast forwarded over the glossy part of the first meeting and are digging right into the important and meaningful parts that are usually saved for a second meeting.
So while there are probably 100s of reasons to blog and to get involved in social media, if it works for your business you may want to try to Skip the First Meeting.