Today I’m going to tell you like it is on a topic that may not be popular in some social media circles, but it’s a message for leadership and companies that use social media marketing have no choice but to confront.
Get out your pencil and paper.
Go ahead; I’ll wait.
You’ll want to jot this down. The information’s that indispensable. You’ll use it over and over… even if we never see each other again.
But, we will. I can almost guarantee it. (So Follow Me)
And you’ll want to share this information with your social media connections and business colleagues who are using social media for business marketing.
Like me, some of you are probably sick of hearing about easy, guaranteed to work tips for marketing your business through social media, that don’t generate new business or integrate into the reality of the stuff you do each day.
Here’s my take, none of these tips, techniques or tactics matter for a small business owner until you are crystal clear on 7 things, and these things are non-negotiable, here’s why.
Too often, we quickly jump ahead to the new thing, the tactical idea of the week, failing to get good enough at the important thing, first. Most small businesses have far greater foundational needs when it comes to the limited time and resources they can allocate to marketing.
Effective Social Media Marketing For Small Business:
1. Point of Differentiation — You must have a clear and concise point of differentiation that a niche market (segment of mainstream) truly values and understands.
What one thing can you say that positions you as the only company in the world (your customers world) that can do it? Go for the edges — the greenest, fastest, best, largest, most convenient, privileged, open sourced, proven, cutting edge, risky, safe, new, classic, and etc. You can find more on differentiation here.
2. Point of View Content (POVC) — You must have a remarkable report, eBook or guide that clearly demonstrates your methodology or process. I also refer to this as prospect content. Example:10 steps to x, y or z.
The purpose of this specific piece of content is to educate interested prospects on the method or process you use to get them a result and ignite your selling efforts. This tool is the strategic asset your business needs to communicate upon your point of difference. You can find more on my approach to content marketing here.
3. PR Relationships — Getting positive features and mentions of your business, service, products, people and events in the media channels that your niche market consume is essential for social media success.
The credibility that comes with media coverage is something you can’t buy and acquiring this coverage is essential. You can find more on my approach to building relationships with reporters and journalist here.
4. Presentations — You must be presenting seminars, webinars, and workshops based on the point of view content above.
Presenting is a great tactic that is underutilized. Getting a stage (online or offline) presents unique long-term marketing opportunities for you. It places you face to face with a roomful of prospective clients who have signaled their interest in you and your topic by showing up.
You have the rare chance to meet and address people who want to learn about you and what you have to say. And you don’t have to find them — they come to you. As a marketing opportunity, what could be better? You can find a deeper discussion of crafting presentations here.
5. Online Content Platform — Your web site, blog or central content hub must be full of educational content, articles and how-to information. The truth is the act of blogging itself does not matter anymore, but the act of consistently creating content that educates, that is easy for search engines to find and index, easy to share, attracts links, creates a searchable and archivable body of work on a subject and will never be seen as inorganic or a violation by Google has never, been more important.
Create content to answer common problems or questions customers have with your service or product.
6. Marketing Automation — You must employ marketing automation in the form of landing pages that you can measure.
Landing pages describe a sales tactic focused on getting people to take one, specific action. Today, landing pages have simply become a required element in the social media marketing toolbox for every imaginable business, including local brick and mortar types.
Most businesses that do social media still send traffic to their homepage or product page. Where the prospect then must make a conscious choice as to why they’re there or they get distracted by all the other great information they find. Don’t Do That! Use landing pages to drive leads to take one profitable customer action.
7. Business Objectives — You must have a marketing plan that focuses on business objectives.
There’s no way around this last non-negotiable. It doesn’t matter what your business goals are, it’s just more important to clearly identify them. Also have a clear understanding of your customers’ desire and problems, so you can figure out how your social media marketing efforts will provide value to your customers. Connect those desires and problems with your social-media strategy.
The cold hard truth for small to midsize business owners is that spending your valuable time and resources on social media is a huge waste of time for your business if you have not built the strategic foundation that can use social media channels as outposts for your marketing.
I am not saying that social media channels alone are a waste of time as an essential marketing activity, far from it. My real point is that social media channels are growing in importance for SMBs, but hold little value to the business that has not built a strong strategic marketing foundation.