Is your marketing dead on arrival? It is hard to know where to compete in business these days. On one hand, we all want to stand out, yet on another hand we want to make sure that we get found in all the same keyword searches as our competitors. Thanks to this "surge of social" in the last decade, we all are being told to be visible online, create profiles, post to all of our social media accounts if we want to compete in today's marketplace.
Today I offer 5 tips for business leaders that should be considered before you decide where and how you will compete online in your marketplace:
Before you jump into social media, start by finding out what people are talking about in your field.Go search LinkedIn or Twitter to find out… are people already talking about your business? What about your competitors? You can use search words that your prospective customers would use to see what comes up. For example, if you’re an architect, use Twitter to search for people tweeting the words “need an architect” in your community. You’ll be surprised how many people may already looking for you.
Please, don’t tell your customers to “like” you and “follow” you – why would they do that without giving them a reason why they should.
Everywhere I turn on social media I see “Like us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter.” Really? Didn’t I just get off an email subscription list because I was tired of the spam? Now you’re going to fill up my Facebook page? Seriously, you must give your customers a reason to connect with you on social networks. If you are not sure, start by asking the question, “What’s in it for me?” and then imagine a customer answering it – then make it incredibly easy to like or follow you once they decide that you are really worth it.
Honestly… are you wondering why nobody’s responding to your posts on Facebook?
It’s probably because you’re not asking questions people care about, if asking at all. Remember – forget marketing to these people! Social media is about engagement and having a conversation, not about self-promotion. If a local bar posts on Facebook, “Come in for 2-for-1 drinks” nobody will comment, and it's possible that nobody will show up. If that same bar place posts, “What’s your favorite happy hour special?” people will comment online – and guess what… they are more likely to show up! And by the way… why not actually offer the specials that people posted that they like?
Share. You may not have noticed this, but people love photos.In fact, the single biggest reason Facebook went from a college campus to 1 billion users in 7 years is photos. Photos and videos can tell stories about your business in ways that text alone cannot. Don’t make excuses here – you don’t need a big production budget to share photos & videos. Use your smart phone to take pictures and short videos of customers, staff, fun and cool things at your business, then upload them directly to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. A picture really is worth a thousand words – and a video is worth a thousand pictures.
Why not commit at least 30 minutes a day on social media?If you bought a newspaper ad or radio ad, wouldn’t you invest your time in the content? Or would you relegate it to interns to manage and just hope for the best? Sure, there’s a lot to learn and every week new tools and opportunities across social networks emerge. Your competition is spending time each day reading and learning, listening and responding and truly joining the conversation. If this is an area you chose to compete, just remember: the more time and effort you put in to social media, the more benefits your business will receive.