- by BlogMistress
Chris Isaac spent 13 years doing everything from Sales to IT to Marketing for a family company, after which he headed up Internet Marketing efforts for a Florida-based lodging and consulting business. In June of 2009, Chris founded birdbathBUZZ as a way of helping businesses better understand and use social media to market their brand, products and services. birdbathBUZZ is going strong and Chris is looking forward to the future of Social Media Marketing and Optimization.
Social Media Thoughts for Your Small Biz
by Chris Isaac
So at this point, you’ve either jumped into the world of Social Media for your business or you haven’t. For those of you that have, regardless of your level of success, I applaud you for taking the leap of faith that will, if done right, lead to the creation of Raving Fans and third-party word of mouth advocates for the products and services you sell. For those of you that have not yet at least started to cultivate these relationships and enter into real conversations with your audience, I suggest you either start immediately or begin looking for some other way to sustain your income because the same old, same old just isn’t going to do it anymore.
According to the American Marketing Association, only 14% of people actually TRUST the ads they see. That’s right, only 14%!!! This pales in comparison to the fact that over 70% of people trust online peer recommendations and over 90% trust direct word of mouth referrals from their friends, colleagues and other respected third-parties. This is powerful information, especially in an age where companies are struggling to make the most of their marketing dollars and get the most “bang for the buck”.
And, if you think Social Media “marketing” is anything more than building relationships, establishing trust, creating community, and enhancing word-of-mouth advertising, think again. In fact, if a social media campaign can’t achieve at least these things for you, there’s simply no point in undertaking the effort.
Already in the game? Great! Not so much? Here are some things to think about for everyone that will help you become more connected. Like anything else, it’s best to start with the simple things:
• How can your customers or prospects interact with you? If you’re struggling for an answer it might be a sign that you’re a bit disconnected from them.
• How do you interact with your customers and prospects? If you’re answer is through traditional marketing means I would point out that you’re really talking AT them, not WITH them. Traditional forms of communication are generally one-way and offer little chance for true interaction and relationship building with your clients. Remember that little trust issue mentioned above?
• Offer ways in which clients can interact with your company and get to know you better from a different perspective – This can take many forms… A Facebook page, Twitter account, Blog, or even content-rich media delivered via YouTube.
• Blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, YouTube channels and other social media outlets offer a way into your company from the consumers’ perspective. Invite them in, offer unique and innovative reasons to interact, and watch the sparks fly!
The real benefits of social media “marketing” to your clients:
• Clients & prospects can be a great form of “crowdsourcing” – They are your consumers. Use them to gain perspective and point of view for the best way to offer and deliver your products and services. They can be your biggest and best (not to mention FREE) focus group EVER.
• Ever launched a new product or service and wondered why it didn’t take off like you thought it would? Ever had an idea hit you after it’s too late to take action? Let your clients and prospects be your guide & hit the target mark more often!
• Create Raving Fans and Word-of-Mouth Advertising: Establish relationships over time, create community, offer great information and be rewarded with loyal client and Raving Fans that will talk about you and the products and services you offer because they know you, trust you, like you and want to tell others about how great you are!
With these thoughts in mind, you can begin to see the power that Social Media Marketing holds for you and your business. You have some extremely powerful tools at your fingertips to reach out and connect with many people every day. Figure out who you want to be and what you want to be to your audience and establish yourself as that person or that “industry expert” that has the answers people are looking for. Consult with the right marketing professional, someone you get along well with and that shares your general business attitude and way of doing things. These people can take you very far and help you in ways unimaginable with all of the “new” technology available.
Finally, don’t let Social Media consume you. Stay focused on what you do and continue to do that best. Social Media should be an augmentation to your marketing and PR efforts, not the sole focus of your day. It can easily turn into that without a solid plan in place and tools in place to help you manage your day-to-day activities.
In any event, embrace these new technologies and use them to your advantage. Don’t be the proverbial ostrich that buries its head in the sand. You don’t want to look up in the near future and find that you’ve missed your chance or that someone else has beat you to the punch.
Thanks to Kathryn Shay for inviting Chris to blog for us.