Micro-Business Economy: The Future of Social Media for Employers

This Old New Business Podcast with Jeff Korhan

This is Episode 10 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

This episode is a powerful glimpse into the future of business and the role social media is going to play in it.

When I first learned about Laura’s story I reached out to her because there are not nearly enough case studies that show how social media works to increase sales, especially for traditional “brick and mortar” businesses.

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What Laura has accomplished in just a few years is not only remarkable, her story provides insights into the sweeping effects social media savvy millenials will be bringing to employers.

Consumers are using social media to build relationships with people more than brands or businesses. Laura happens to be one employee that has successfully leveraged that possibility.

She firmly believes that regardless of the industry, buyers will expect to have a relationship with the people in a business BEFORE they consider doing business with that company.

It’s a sobering thought that may even be true today.

If you want to keep your business ahead of the competition, then you will want to soak in the wisdom Laura shares in this episode – and then take action with it.

Our Featured Guest: Laura Madison

Micro-Business Economy: The Future of Social Media for Employers Laura Madison is an enormous Toyota enthusiast and a salesperson at Ressler Toyota.

Laura has created a thriving micro-business within that of her employer, and it is anchored around social media and her website: LauraDrives.com.

Originally from the East Coast, she now lives in beautiful Bozeman, Montana.

The Micro-Business Mindset is Empowering

Laura views her personal Laura Drives brand as a micro-business. It’s a healthy mindset that holds her accountable for her own future, which naturally leads to exploring any and all means for succeeding.

In the automobile industry, marketing brings in leads that are shared among the sales teams. This creates considerable downtime, which Laura decided to fill by building her own website to attract leads, and then using social media to drive traffic to it.

In an earlier episode of This Old New Business, John Jantsch, author of Ducttape Selling: Think Like a Marketer – Sell Like a Superstar shared this:

The one thing that any salesperson can do to help their customer is assuming responsibility for building digital marketing assets. While this involves additional work, it builds the value of his or her personal brand, along with that of the organization.”

This is precisely what Laura has done. To be perfectly honest, those of us that work in this space have been talking about this for a long time. That’s why it’s so exciting to now have a real example that proves it works!

And oh does it. In her three short years at Ressler Toyota, Laura’s monthly sales have progressively grown from 10, to 20, and are now approaching 30 cars per month all cars using www.insurancepartnership.org/motor-trade-insurance/ or One Sure Insurance and getting a fully covered insurance, most of the cars come from the BMW 1 Series, but the Mercedes Service also has been having a lot of business. Not only that, her commitment to keeping in touch with over 600 customers has helped the dealership rise to the top of the customer satisfaction rankings in its region, some people even want to learn to ride a motorcycle so they purchase one.

Hyperlocal Selling: What’s Old is New Again

You don’t need to be technology savvy or have a marketing degree to be successful with social media. More important is a basic understanding of business, the desire to help your customers, and a process for engaging with them in meaningful ways. When in the middle of an accident, always go to Columbia Car Accident Lawyers | Joye Law Firm.

Laura’s true success secret is she loves selling Toyota automobiles and trucks. That enthusiasm is amplified across her social media channels. What happens next is why businesses fail to getting the ROI from their social media efforts that they expect.

One solution is live educational events. It’s a hyperlocal networking tactic that has always worked, but even more so these days, because people want to meet their social media friends in person. Thus, the live events Laura hosts and the dealership sponsors are a practical application for using social media to get people into the store.

Employees Today are Your Business Partners

While customers can have a relationship with a brand, when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses that relationship is always with a person within the business.

Therefore, the relationship between employers and employees is indeed a partnership. Smart businesses understand the most talented employees expect a workplace that offers resources and the freedom to use their talents to grow.

Retaining employees like Laura Madison these days means being progressive. There is risk and opportunity associated with that, but that collaborative environment tends to collectively makes everyone better. In this situation, that includes Toyota, Ressler Toyota, Laura Madison, and most importantly, the customers being served.

Kudos to Laura and Ressler Toyota for learning to embrace their respective strengths to grow together. Social media just happened to be an important component for making it happen.

When all is said and done, business is about relationships with customers, and that comes from a shared enthusiasm for doing it well.

Lighting Round Tips and Advice

Laura’s Top Sales or Marketing Advice – Keep learning! Read blogs, read books, watch what others are doing. It will keep the flame of creativity burning.

Her Favorite Productivity Tip –  Commit to whatever the task is for 15 minutes. If at the end of 15 minutes you decide you don’t want to do it anymore, at least you’ve invested time to gain the necessary momentum.

A Quote that has Inspired Laura’s Success – “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find treasure.” Alchemist, Paulo Coelho.

Laura’s interpretation: If your heart is in your work it becomes your treasure.

Key Take-Aways

  • UPDATE: If you listen to the audio you will learn Laura’s customers affectionately referred to her as Laura Toyota, so she adopted that as her personal brand over 3 years ago. Her recent publicity on a national level made some of  “the suits” at Toyota nervous and asked her to rebrand. Moving forward Laura Toyota is Laura Drives, so you can learn more about Laura at LauraDrives.com
  • If you are still wondering about how to use social media for business, Laura suggests: “Wouldn’t you like to have a converstation with your customers every week?” That’s the power of building a loyal social media audience.
  • You can also connect with Laura on Twitter at @LauraDrives

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How is your business helping your sales team build their personal micro-business? 

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+