Social Media. Marketing. Social Media Marketing…how is it different from regular marketing? What does it entail? How do you implement your campaign? Is anything about it the same as what we are doing now? There are answers to all of these questions, but the answers keep changing as we all learn more, so check back soon.
This is what we have found over the past four years: almost everything we used to do no longer works the way it used to. We used to advertise in the Penny Saver, in Local Dish, and send out mailings. It’s not a bad thing to do, but it doesn’t get the returns it used to. Advertising on Television and Radio? Not nearly as effective as it once was.. So What’s a business to do?
I may have said these things before, but I think they bear repeating, and some of them will be new:
- First, if you have a Web site that was built in the late 1990’s or even mid 2000’s, it’s obsolete. You need a new one, or you need to update the old one, at the very least.
- Two, establish a social presence on the Web. If you have a product or a storefront, get on Twitter and run specials. Make sure you get followers who will be interested in consuming your product, and who will re-tweet your tweets.
- Three, get on Yelp, and ask your customers to go to your Yelp page and recommend you. This is especially important if you want to market to the 40-and-under crowd. They check Yelp before they even get to your Web site.
- Four, get a blog and use it. Search Engine Optimization is a great tool to embed in your Web site, but it can also be imbedded within your blog. The problem with SEO is that it works on one keyword at a time. A blog can incorporate several keywords into one post, and drive your Web presence up dramatically.
- Five, know your target audience, and the type of customer you want to connect with. A general, broad message may cover all your bases, but that will dilute the power of your Web site and blog. Pick a primary market, and work it consistently and persistently.
- Six, get out and talk to people. There is no substitute for in-person conversations. Walk your dog with your work shirt or name-tag on. Sign up as a guest speaker at trade associations. Don’t think that the Internet alone is going to get you all of your business. It is not.
- Seven, say thank you for referrals. What better business is there than a warm lead from an existing customer who loves you? There isn’t any. Don’t be afraid to send out a newsletter thanking your current customers, maybe with a discount or gift offer, and asking them to forward it on to their friends and family. It won’t work every time, but if you do it consistently, sooner or later you will get business from it.
- Eight, fire the customers who aren’t good partners. If you have made a mistake, admit it and fix it. If you inadvertently hurt a customer’s feelings, apologize. These are the proper ways to handle such situations. But we all encounter customers who we can’t seem to make happy no matter what we do. These people will drain your energy and take up valuable resources you need to build new customer relationships.