Many companies get the highest conversion rates (and best customers) from referrals. People tend to trust their friends, family and colleagues over companies – that’s a given. So, it may be in your company’s interest to use social networking to gain referrals. Like networking in person, social networking for referals involves quite a bit of relationship development and communication. People need to get to know you before they’ll be willing to recommend you to anyone else.
Social networking for referrals also means being on the networks where your potential referrals will be. And if you provide products and services to other businesses – this probably means other businesses. So, for this social networking purpose, it’s not about where your customers are on the social networks – it’s about where the referrals or other businesses are. This means it may make sense to dedicate some resources (time & effort) to networking and building relationships on business networks.
So if your business relies heavily on referrals for new sales, you may want to look where your potential referrals are, instead or in addition to where your potential customers are.
(photo by Athena’s pix @ Flickr CC)