Social Media is everywhere – there’s no doubt on that one – and Business Owners now more than ever before need to 1) educate themselves on its power and features and then 2) make damn sure their business and brand is well represented in it.
By now most of us have heard the saying that even if we’re not actively “doing” social media, our customers are and they’re talking about us! In 2014 you simply cannot be successful in business while still clinging to that old-fashioned stick your head in the sand philosophy anymore. When it comes to social, Strategic Marketing is the only way to think.
So let’s look at a hypothetical case study in strategic marketing (or lack thereof):
Here’s an average small business owner – working 10-12 hrs a day (often more) trying to wear every hat they can and make a real go of it. They know they need to take social seriously and inevitably the first place they check out is Facebook – 1.6B users can’t all be wrong right? “Seems pretty easy just post about my latest and greatest products couple times a week and they’ll come in droves…they will….I just know it…I’m good with people…Where is everyone?”
< time passes…>
“Maybe I need to add a little something to my Posts – give it some pizzazz?” So they start with…”My widgets are the Best!… My widgets come in a satin lined box with a glorious red bow just for Valentines…Widgets are now 2-for-1…..3-for-1… Aah Facebook sucks!” Throw these posts into a boiling pot with 10K other Widget brands and you have Noise. Voila!
So they start thinking maybe another platform could help – there’s only a bazillion of them out there to choose from – so they head on over to Twitter. “I should be really good on this one, seriously I mean I only need 140 characters – how hard is that? Buy #widgets from me!….I’ve got #lots of #good #stuff you know #widgets….My #Widgets will make you #fidget :)… I’m #cheap too…..#Hello??? Aah Twitter’s a waste of time…!! Nothing but geek-speak and hashtags damn it!!” Editors Note: #1 Twitter complaint.
“What else can I try – LinkedIn? What’s the point? I’m not looking for a job so that can’t work!”
“Google Plus eh?….Hmm not many people in my circles…Nah, I just don’t get this thing.” Editors Note: By far Google Plus’ #1 feedback.
So after a little while we can see a growing trend of failed posts, tweets and updates (yes, I resisted the overused hashtag). Simply stated, amplify this situation by about a thousand ( at least ) and all you hear is the Noise. And that folks, is one of the main problems with Social Media – all that Noise.
Here’s where the social media gurus & ninjas invariably chime in about automated social media management tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social and how they can help. Yes these tools have streams to help see through the Noise (somewhat) with filters you can set up & customize. But the Noise is always there, humming along in the background and don’t think for a second those other widget salesmen aren’t doing the same. Always, the Noise remains.
Strategic Marketing in Social Media
Strategic Marketing in Social Media is about sending out a clear, unique signal about your Business, your people and your products – the human story if you will. It’s not about chasing Likes or worse getting sucked into “buying” 5K of them for $10! But how do we tell our human story when all the other widget salesmen are doing the exact same thing? How do we make ourselves come across as different?
Well, the last thing you want is to be another one of the marketing herd – you will only get lost in the Noise despite your very best efforts and intentions. For real success, we need clear, definable strategy coupled with specific tactics to rocket that signal – your signal – out like a laser beam. And yes, I went there with the laser beam analogy :)
One of the most common tips I give clients is very simple:
True, measurable success on Social is directly
related to the amount of time you put into it.
Not every social media platform is right for every business and you certainly don’t need to keep up with the Jones’s next door trying to emulate their every move. Who are you trying to be yourself or them? I read a line in a magazine recently that had a great take on this: Emulate your idols until they become your Competition. I would honestly say that if we’re willing to really focus on that goal then more than 90% of us can easily accomplish this first part.
The real challenge is that next step or the inevitable point successful businesses reach, which i call the Now what? phase. And that is where social strategic marketing & tactics ultimately determine who’s left standing. While it’s true that anyone can “do” Facebook ( a platform originally designed to meet girls ) without effective strategy, a LOT of time can be wasted spinning wheels or as a friend told me recently getting lost down the rabbit hole. Lord knows, we’ve all been there… So what is the point of “doing” Facebook if you’re not getting anything back from it?
Time for a Business is measured in billable man-hours which equal wasted profits. Not exactly the ideal scenario for success. So my advice, in closing here is be aware of the competition, sure, but focus on what you do best. Being yourself, being original – there’s only one of you right? Adamantly stick to the goal of developing a social media marketing strategy and hone your laser beam. The rest is all just Noise anyway.
If you’re struggling right now or just need a little help, trust me you are not alone! Remember that one hour of Consulting will help to make sense of things right now and should set you up with the foundation & strategy needed to grow your Business over the next few months. Who knows, you might even see a little Social Media success on the horizon too.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post on strategic marketing in social media, I appreciate it :)
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