So this blog is finally getting a lot of attention.  I'm consistently getting 50+ views a day, and you know, when you're used to seeing 10-15, you start to get a little excited.  With more viewers I start to get more worried.  I gotta write bigger, better, perfectly-proofread  blogs now!  Well, I'll at least give it my best.

As I talk to my friends about what they want to hear, how they like the blog, and how I can make it better, there's one thing I consistently hear.  "How does this all relate to me?"  I can see where they're coming from.  Most of my friends have suit jobs, or in other words, formal jobs such as an investment banker, financial analyst, or school teacher.  They aren't interested in marketing and advertising, and they aren't out to brand themselves because the aren't looking for jobs.  How can I write for them?

It all started with a conversation with one of my good friends who works for Edward Jones.  He complimented me on my knowledge of social media and my critiques on current campaigns, but then he left me dumbfounded with two very basic questions: "Why would I use Twitter" and  "What would blogging do for me?"

I'll preface by saying that I enjoy social media.  I blog for my own entertainment.  It's a learning tool, a stress relief, and fun form of communication.  Same goes for Twitter, Facebook, etc.  

However it got me thinking, how can "suits" embrace social media in a way that can make them more profitable, more marketable, and more likely to succeed?"  The answer lies in three key words:  Integrate, Inform, and Energize.
Let's start with a financial advisor for Edward Jones.  At the most basic level, it is an FA's job to attract new clients, bring business to the company, and make profitable investments on behalf of the client.  How is this done?  Mostly through door-to-door sales and cold-calling.  How could social media help in this case?  The opportunities are endless.

1.  Integrate:  Take the current way of doing things and improve upon it.  Integrate current strategy with new media strategy.  Go door to door, make cold calls, but also host a website, create a blog, communicate through Facebook and Twitter.

2. Inform:  You can only tell someone so much at a client meeting.  You'll forget important points, use incorrect wording, or confuse the potential client.  A website or a blog can fill the potential client in with more information, a personal biography, a resume, and an abundance of information that allows them access to what they want when they want it.

3.  Energize:  Social media can energize people to act.  If an FA writes a blog on the importance of investing in a down economy, provides the research and the data to back it up, and communicates this via Facebook or Twitter to everyone in his/her network, you bet your bottom that you'll get some calls.  Your friends will see your advice, share it with parents, friends, relatives, whoever, and in the end, it's your name getting the recognition.

Keep in mind, I am not in-the-know on Finanial Advising.  I'd imagine there are confidentiality laws and certain no-no's you would need to watch out for.  But the idea of branding yourself as a smart, successful, and educated advisor and communicating that to everyone in your network can't be anything but good for a career.

The same goes with Real Estate.  I'm soon going to meet with an extremely educated business man who just started a real-estate venture.   His website looks great, if you google his name you get positive results, and he allows visitors to see pictures, information, and driving directions to each property on the market.  Once again though, I can't help but see the possibilities of social media for this individual and his recent start up. 

1.  Integrate:  While I don't think many people are on Twitter looking for houses, I believe it is a valuable network to communicate through.  Someone may click on your tweet just out of pure interest, see your site, and communicate to friends that the business has great properties.  A Facebook page could advertise your apartment and condominium rentals, where college students and newly employed individuals make up a a large market.  Sparking communication and conversation about your business is key.  Making sure the conversation is positive is what you must work towards.

2.  Inform:  This is where social media could really thrive in real estate.  I think pictures are 2009.  Videos are a must to differentiate the men from the boys.  Walk throughs with style is what I believe in.  Maybe some editing, some music, share em on your personal youtube site as well as your company site.  Also, pictures of surrounding businesses, copy on what is around and how far it all is.  Having a blog that contains articles on your experience, press releases on your company, testimonials, information on houses, and articles on why consumers should buy your properties.  First-time home buyers yearn for information, and the internet is their source.  Give them all you can give.

3.  Energize:  Give them every outlet available and influence them to make a purchase.  It's all about presenting homes in the very best possible light and making sure those that see it, communicate their excitement to friends.  Not only can well designed social networks energize buyers, it can energize everyone around them, regardless of if they are in the market for the product.

Lastly, I'm going to mention a teacher.  I'll spare you the small talk, but share a story.  A former classmate who is now a teacher created a personal website that allowed visitors to donate money for a cause.  His class wanted to disect owl pellets and (since it was an urban area public school) didn't have the budget.  He posted a blog on all of the costs associated with the project and promised to post pictures and videos of the class in action.  A few days later, he was just a few dollars short of the goal for the project.  He spread the message through networks, and the networks came through.  Now he is representing the future of teaching, and energizing those around him to contribute.

These are a few examples but I hope that it helps you realize the potential that social networks have on creating successful business ventures.  It's not just embracing them anymore; its integrating, informing, and energizing consumers through them.  It's not just for creatives and brands, it's for suits, small businesses, and those interested in creating a successful strategy for the future.

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