By now, most business people realize that it’s important to have a social media presence.
However, I have a feeling that in 2011, many local business people are going to begin to question just how effective social media really is to their company.
The reason for this, I think, will be because they expected miraculous results without putting in the required work. In fact, they probably don’t even understand just what that work really is and how to implement it.
Yes, social media is free, but it does require time, a plan of action and strategy. In fact, it’s really not free at all.
Instead of blaming the medium for not producing results, first ask: am I offering quality products and what my community wants? If you live in an Amish community, you’re probably not going to sell a lot of Maserati’s. Are you offering product or services that your audience wants? Are you offering quality?
Facebook and Twitter aren’t the problem. It takes a lot of time to engage your audience and network with other professionals that might be helpful to your business. TIME. That is the great price of social media marketing. Your homepage will not grow instantly. You need to do a lot of efforts and you have to employ strategic techniques so you can easily grow your following.
Yes, you have to create excellent content. You also have to engage with your community, you have to talk with them, be interested in their lives, offer helpful suggestions that don’t always relate to a sale for you. Honesty, integrity and transparency are key. Forget the old ways of doing business and marketing. PUSH marketing is dead. This is a new world. Get over it and tap into it.
This can help your efforts greatly – find a few of the dominant social media people in your area and engage them in you, and your product. Once you have demonstrated to them the importance of what you offer, they will share your info with their audience – that is the sweet spot. We all know the importance of Word of Mouth marketing and that is at it’s essence what social media can deliver to you.
Simply monitor your local conversations for a bit. You’ll quickly pick out who is a steady social media participant. Then set about making friends – just make sure you keep authenticity and transparency at the center of all you do. You’re not selling snake oil.
Don’t get panicky, I’m not saying you definitely will have to do this but it might help you at some point. There are numerous ways a social media marketing professional can help a local business effectively and inexpensively.
- None An specialist can help you flesh out a strategy and plan of action. Many times, that is all that is needed for a local business professional to take the reigns and run with the program. You may just need some guidelines to follow.
- None Farm out a portion of your social media efforts. Consistently I run across people who have an understanding of Facebook but don’t ‘get’ Twitter at all. If Twitter seems like a good fit for your business, instead of beating your head against the wall trying to add this to your schedule, (you won’t use it properly if you don’t enjoy it), pay someone to Tweet on your behalf – make sure they are a professional and understand your Strategy and vital things like keywords and hashtags. The teenager who works part time and is texting all time is not your best candidate for this.
- None Schedule get-togethers with your local social media marketer for tutoring in order to keep abreast of new trends and applications that might work for your business. Paying someone a small fee every other month to help guide your efforts can prove to be money in the bank.
- None Remember that video is king. If you don’t have the time or talent to produce your own video (these do not have to be professional quality – at this point in time, home made is more approachable than professionally produced video), hire someone who can. Plan what you want video of and how it should be approached, then let someone who loves filming do the work!
If you are struggling with your social media presence, please remember that you need to take an honest step back and evaluate the professionalism of your plan. I encourage you not to give up, but take the time it takes to learn how to leverage this powerful medium for your highest good.