Social Media Lunch ‘n Learn taught ‘taboo’ lessons on social profitability: you CAN sell through social networks!

When Matt from Web Friendly started his presentation on social media in the boardroom at Central Park Business Centre, he described the pivotal point that made him believe what is commonly disbelieved: that you CAN sell through social media.

It was at a networking event, where he met people who called themselves "social media marketers."  Formerly, Matt had been actively using social media to have fun, what he called “wasting time.”  “What’s a social media marketer?”  he would ask them curiously.  When they explained themselves, he would reply with comments like “have you heard of this tool, it makes it much easier…”  Pretty soon, the so-called “social media marketers” were taking notes on Matt’s ideas.

As he claimed his own title as a "social media marketer," everyone warned him not to "sell" on social media.  He said, “Forget that, I want to see how much money I can make doing this.”  So he broke all the rules, annoyed a couple ‘professional’ Facebook users, and made a business out of selling with social media.

Today he is the owner of Web Friendly, a Vancouver-based Internet marketing company that, among a long list of other things, conducts intense two-day workshops to teach business owners how to use social media for making a profit. Check out this video:

But it’s not just ‘anybody’ who is privileged enough to take his (surprisingly affordable) course.  He puts candidates through a test to make sure they’re tech savvy enough that they’ll actually do something about what they’ve learned.

Although we could go on and on about Web Friendly and the interesting story of its existence, let’s get back on topic and cover what we learned in our Social Media Lunch ‘n Learn from Matt:

Social media is great for research: People are always venting their emotions on social media, so Facebook and Twitter are great places to find out what people are feeling about a particular topic. Every time Matt posts something, he asks people for feedback. That way he knows what they want, and can develop products surrounding their demands.

Social media can be used for marketing: Take for example. Every day they post two lunch specials on Twitter. This has built a profitable online take-out delivery service which supplements their dine-in business.

Social media can be used for building relationships: When you post interesting content on your Facebook wall, Twitter feed or Blog, people start having conversations. Also, when you’re consistently answering the question Twitter asks “What happening?” you begin to develop relationships with your network. Matt recommends you make a point of meeting in person those people you connect with to see how you can benefit each others’ businesses.  He always encourages this type of ‘joint venture.’

Social media is good for crowd-sourcing: When Matt was doing research for his presentation, he asked his network for good screen-shots relating to social media. Within minutes he got a flood of responses. So there you have it, that’s crowd sourcing.

Social media is newsworthy: Why spend money on cable or time flipping through paper when you can go online, subscribe to a news feed on Twitter such as @24hoursvan and @VancouverSun to catch the latest headlines as they happen?  You can also keyword search for your specific industry news which will keep you on top of your game.

Social media can be used for buying and selling: The traditional way of buying say, a computer, would be to go to electronics stores, spend a day researching, and then make a decision based on your limited knowledge of the technology.  But if you ask, for example, Chris Pirillo on Twitter (a trustworthy expert in electronics who gets paid for sales made through the discount links he posts), he’ll reply with his best opinion within your budget.  It’s faster and it has global reach.

Social media is for promotions: Japadog, the infamous hot dog stand in Vancouver, posted on Twitter that they would be setting up at SFU for a day and offered a $1 discount.  The result?  Hoards of students lined up in the rain to buy a Japadog priced between $5 to $10.

And finally, social media is a great way to use video to promote your business:

Here we were given a contrast:  You could have an actress describe your company in a commercial, which gives no personal feeling, or you can be the presenter of your company.  Take for example the Young Drivers video that Web Friendly produced:

And what about viral videos? Well, let’s watch the video on The New Dork that went viral, with 700,000 hits:

The promoter of this video? If you’re a keener, you would have guessed “Grasshopper.”   But that’s not obvious. Rather than selling its product through the video, the company used it for spreading its brand.

Lots of information? That’s how the attendants felt!  It was very valuable and lots to absorb from a business standpoint.

Join us for our next Lunch ‘n Learn in May, which will be about driving traffic to your Web site with SEO (Search Engine Optimization)!

Catch the slideshow below, or visit our Flickr photostream to view the pictures we took!

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