It is no shock that the social media marketing landscape has changed the playing field of business to business and business to consumer. Years ago you had only a few options to get in front of whom ever you needed to get in front of, phone and mail. The choices and possibilities now are endless with the surge of popularity of hiding behind the computer and reaching out to decision makers on social marketing sites like Twitter and LinkedIn.
Are friend requests the new cold calls? are face to face meetings slowly going away? I think a few years down the road we might see this evolve into the new communication way. More and more people contact us directly through a LinkedIn account or even Twitter. Entire conversations about possible new business relationships right through the messaging tool of a social networking website. Finding a decision maker on Facebook or LinkedIn is not difficult, at all. Crafting the right message when you fire off a friend request is important. You usually have only one chance to get this right so it home with it. Sites like LinkedIn offer a templated message that appears by default. I suggest you tweak it out to show your personality. Present yourself like you would in person. Years ago it would take some really interesting perseverance to cold call a company and get the person you actually want to speak with over the phone. Social networking and social marketing has made that step a bit easier but you have to be smart about how you approach it.
As more and more younger generations flood the workforce we will slowly see a stronger shift in the way business relationships are initiated at first. It will still be many years of cold calling and direct mail but someday everything will be digital. We already see the clients that initiate business talks using a social networking site want to continue to communicate through that particular website. Some might shift over to emails but regular face to face meetings and often times phone calls are non existent.