My marketing advisor is pushing me to do more with social media, as a tool to market my company. I just don’t know how effective it would be, and I’m concerned about the amount of time I’d have to put in. What do you see as the best ways to go about this, and is it worth it?
Marketing in general can be frustrating, especially when you’re getting started, because there’s usually no direct link between do this, get that out of it. It takes time and effort to build up presence and awareness. And it’s important to be in many places, rather than becoming an expert at just one route.
There are lots of ways to get noticed on the internet. Think through what you’re trying to accomplish and set some goals. Don’t go for the end goal of get more sales – that’s too remote and difficult to measure, especially early on. Think more about general visibility on the internet, visits to your website and connections with potential buyers and referral sources.
A website is essential. If you don’t have one, make that a priority. Hire 4 sets of skills: design, writing, programming and SEO (search engine optimization). These may not all be available in one marketing firm, unless that firm is larger, or has a team of outsiders they work with. Beware if one person says they do it all – the skills are all very different, and require specific expertise.
Think of the website as a destination, and social media as a way to point people towards that destination. Playing on the internet is both a competition for grabbing attention, and a community of influence. You want to get known for having expertise on a particular topic related to what you do. Then attract followers who are interested in what you have to say. And finally have people pay more attention to what you have to say than anyone else.
Your best bet it to set aside time every day to work on your social media program. Spending an hour a day on social media will result in fresh content for all your updates.
Start by looking at others who are influential in your field. See what they’re doing that you like, or don’t like. Look around for blogs that relate to what your company does. Check out key words on the internet to see who comes up first. Note the different ways of getting noticed – from having a website at the top of the search to seeing press release notices, published articles and other information sources referencing the topic you’re looking up.
Think about the voice of your company. What’s the best way to get the word out about your company’s beliefs. What’s educational or of interest to people? Do you write clients stories and case studies, or do you publish research? How are you most comfortable sharing information in written format? As fact based articles, or anecdotes and stories.
Try to find several ways to get the word out about your company. Join Linked-In if you are selling Business-to-Business, and then join groups within Linked-In. If you’re selling Business-to-Consumer, Facebook may be a better environment. YouTube is something worth considering for either B-to-B or B-to-C, as a picture is still worth a thousand words, but that means you’ll need video that looks professional.
Consider connecting what your company does for marketing outside of the internet, with your eMarketing. For example, if your company is doing seminars, or promoting charities, or participating in events that are noteworthy, get the word out on the internet through your LinkedIn and Facebook connections, as well as by blogging about what you’re doing.
Given everyone’s increasing reliance on the internet for information, I’d say you have no choice but to climb on the bandwagon and start to develop your own social media program. Give it time to develop. Think about it as a fun activity, rather than a chore. After all, you’re probably passionate about what your company does, here’s your opportunity to share that passion with everyone else.
Looking for a good book? The Social Media Bible by Lon Safko.
Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., www.StrategyLeaders.com, a business consulting firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurial firms grow. She can be reached by phone at 877-238-3535. Do you have a question for Andi? Please send it to her, via e-mail at AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com or by mail to Andi Gray, Strategy Leaders Inc., 5 Crossways, Chappaqua, NY 10514. Visit www.AskAndi.com for an entire library of Ask Andi articles.