What happened over the last 10 years? For me it went from my mailbox on the doorstep full of flyers and postcards, sales people knocking on the door and my phone ringing with the dreaded telemarketers, to electronic overload. My gosh, my inbox fills up fast, Facebook feed running faster than I can run my fastest mile, tweets being posted every minute and pictures filling up my IG feed so quick that I can’t believe people take this many pictures. My phone battery now dies faster than ever before and at times, I am about to say the heck to it all and delete all my apps. Yet, then I remember I like to be social.
You can’t avoid social media. It is the only way to be social now-a-days. Personally, do what you want. I don’t care if you want to hide forever, lurk around and follow people or be the 10 times a day posting master. However, when we are talking about business, it is different. Being social in business is vital to the grassroots marketing that has to happen if you want to look fresh, young, hip and inviting. No one wants to be stuck in the past and not letting your business be social on the WWW is, well, unsocial. Therefore you might as well be #d2m.
Being social in business is different than the randomness you fill your personal pages and feed with. There you can post randomly, when you want, based on how you feel. Certain days get more of your attention, than others. Your content is sporadic, based on your mood. Business requires organization, content strategy, brand management and marketing focus. Not knowing what you are doing and should be doing could be death to building a business.
I usually like to keep my simple tricks to threes. Yet, social media demanded for more. So, here are four areas to focus, strategize and implement if you want to have the impact you should with your social media efforts.
Brand: Do you know who your business is representing and what you want it to represent? If you have never done any branding work before, you could be creating a horribly mixed and confused image of what your business is all about. Your brand is what your market perceives of you, what they want out of you as a business and your service/product offering. If your brand consists of perceptions that your market desires, you make your client acquisition process easy and effective. You are giving them what they want. You company needs to function how they want to do business with you and your industry. So, it needs to have the sensory impact they desire; logos, colors, smell, fonts, and aesthetics. You are trying to create unconscious and conscious associations that makes them feel you have what they want, at a price they desire. Making it accessible in a way they expect seals the deal.
Channels: There are a lot of ways to be social these days and it can get a bit overwhelming at what to choose. Channels are the methods in which you deliver your message. We are familiar with Facebook and Twitter, but what about Instagram, LinkedIn, blogs, and review boards. Being mindful of the number of people reached, % of the overall market reached and price will help you determine if it should be one on the list or one for the sidelines. Adding new channels every year will be critical, so if you feel uneasy or unable to engage one this year, you can always pick it up soon. Remember that choosing your channels and not letting them choose you will keep you in control of what you are using. Starting and stopping can ruin your brand image, as easily as something with poor credibility in relation to your market. I don’t think I am going to pick an OBGYN from a random recommendation in a yahoo forum group. But, that is just me.
Timing: Once you commit to your channel selection, now it is time to commit to the timing you are going to make posts, drop newsletters or upload images. Consistency is way more important than a bunch one week and nothing the next. Generally, this is the hardest area for people to maintain. Why is consistency so hard? It takes dedication, loyalty and persistence. Don’t get me wrong, you will have good weeks and bad weeks, but the difference shouldn’t be that vast and you should land with more good weeks, than bad. Make sense?
Content: So, if I was to draw this out for you, you would see this cycle back up to brand. Your brand should be the defining force that defines your content strategy. You don’t want to be overly random or you won’t keep peoples attention. Your strategy should be designed around the seasons, months, weather and preferences that society is generally in at that time, in relation to your industry. Designing and planning content strategy well in advance will help you front load content and get ahead of the curve. It makes posting and implementing the content that much easier. Being careful with content is just as vital as staying consistent with the timing of your postings. You got to be careful. Really, really, careful. Just recently Gap Kids went under fire for posting a campaign in which some felt it crossed racial lines. Can you see it? Shoot, it took me a couple of minutes and this is my career. While I am not a Gap brand ambassador, I can say they didn’t do it intentionally. Why would they when their African-American market share is as big as it is? Unless they have a good PR person who planted the conspiracy story for extra attention and hence marketing(which is very, very likely), they have no reason to want to do something as intentional as this. But, you have to be careful that, innocently, nothing is left for someone to throw back at you.
Strategies within strategies will start coming to surface, such as what your hashtag strategy will be, that furthers the marketing results. Get the basics under your belt and let us know when you are ready for more.
When the hard work is done, social media becomes an easy and fun part of your business. The return on investment is huge and one that keeps a marketing budget reasonable. #BCNU and don’t forget to have fun…#gday