Sharene’s Take on Social Media
Many of our clients lately are asking about whether they should be incorporating social media into their marketing plan. My answer is YES! Marketing is really changing these days. People can block out the message you’re trying to get across with the old traditional methods of advertising and marketing by using Caller ID, TiVo and Junk Mail settings. Magazine and newspaper subscriptions are way down indicating that you have to be more careful with your advertising dollars. We must constantly look for new methods for promoting our companies in places where people are open to the message and don’t feel interrupted.
Today people expect a strong online presence. If you don’t have one you are losing potential customers daily. Everyone between the ages of 20-40 is online for at least part of the day, everyday. They are more likely to search for something on Google than in a phone book. Come on, when was the last time you actually picked up that huge yellow book and thumbed through pages? I used to heft it out to find the phone number for the pizza place. Now I even order my pizza online! Below are some things you should be doing to promote your company (and yourself) if you’re not already:
Your website should have a blog for search engine purposes but it should also provide useful information that your clients and potential clients will find interesting. Give advice on topics that you know about. Write about news in your industry. Provide quick tips to something you’re an expert on. Like an architect could provide hints on choosing a great contractor. People love these types of quick tips. They can read them fast and get back to work.
I, myself, am new to the Twitter thing (just got on in Feb 09) but it is basically taking over the world. You may be hesitant about getting involved in yet another time-sucking device but I believe that Twitter may be the future of communication. It is one of the best ways to connect with people out there these days. People are using it more and more as a business communication tool and less of a “what are you doing right now” thing.
VP of Marketing at Hubspot, Mike Volpe describes social media as being similar to a business cocktail reception. I like this analogy because I personally don’t have time to attend many functions but I am online all day. With Twitter I can listen in on conversations to find out what people are talking about and I can join in by just typing quick notes. I don’t have to leave my desk. Don’t get me wrong, I love to go to those happy hour networking things but I just can’t most of the time because I spend my early evenings running around town picking my daughter up at the dance studio, taking my son to his guitar lesson and trying to squeeze in a trip to the market.
Another great feature of Twitter is that you get to try out and improve new ideas, expand your communication skills and enrich your knowledge of popular culture. It is important to understand your customers so you can spend your marketing dollars more effectively. Hang out where they are hanging out. Find out what they’re talking about and make yourself available. On Twitter you can ask questions and people will answer. They love when you give advice or point them to a useful website. If you are an entrepreneur then please read this article Why CEO’s Should Use Twitter.
If you’re still hesitating joining the Twitter world download this Beginner’s Guide to Using Twitter for Business.
Endless opportunities here if you have the right market and a good idea. Look at what TripAdvisor.com did with their App “Cities I’ve Visited.” They now get somewhere around 10,000 hits a day to their website because of this cool application on Facebook. The dance studio that my daughter attends, Camarillo Academy of Performing Arts, has created its own Facebook page and is adding fans by the day. And since we built their website (shameless plug) Camarillo Academy.com we are tracking the increase in hits they are receiving to their regular website. This is cheap advertising and spreads virally through the largest growing website around these days. If you’re not on Facebook already, do it now.
Have fun with your social media marketing. Humanize your company. People want to interact with people they like. If you make your social media marketing fun and interactive it will draw in more and more potential business. This type of marketing, as all others, requires time and thought. You will have to participate by providing valuable and interesting information that people will want to check out. Flaunt your knowledge about your industry and people will flock to you. Also remember to direct your efforts towards your target market. Don’t waste your time trying to reach everyone on Facebook. Join communities where you will meet people who will use your product or service. Just experiment a bit. These sites are all great for finding out what will and won’t work.