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Choosing A Social Media Marketing Specialist

Do you think spending a couple of hundred bucks on your social media strategy is all that it takes to create the necessary engagement and depth of trust with potential clients and customers, as well as reach a broad audience? No way, Jose! (If you can’t afford more than that, I get it. I have experienced bootstrapping first-hand, and this post is not directed at you.) If, however, you can afford to spend more, but choose not to because you’re thinking “hey, these days anyone can throw some posts up on your Twitter or Facebook account”, let me just stop you right there! Yes, it’s true that your 14 year old nephew can use a mobile app on his phone to create a graphic that can be shared on Instagram or Pinterest and that you can buy clicks and likes for a few bucks any day of the week, but will using a person or a company that doesn’t have the depth of experience or the ability to customize an approach to your specific business really make you money? I don’t think so. You may as well not have a SM presence at all. And a lot of people chose not to. Sadly, those same people are missing out on a ton of sales.

My thing is, if you own a business and want to stay relevant, connect with customers and make sales, you cannot ignore social media, and by extension, unless you have the time and energy to run your Social Media efforts yourself, your absolute best bet is to plan to use and SM specialist to help you and budget accordingly.

Pay careful attention to that last word. “Specialist.” A specialist is a person who focuses on and is an expert on a particular subject or activity; a person highly skilled in a specific and restricted field. My focus is to build relationships with customers on a client’s behalf. In Social Media terms, we call that “creating engagement.”

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but right now, marketing is ALL about engagement. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. People buy from other people or companies they trust. Trust takes time. It takes conversation. It takes active listening – for your sake and that of the customer. Becoming *PERSONALLY* familiar with your business and the customers you serve is my job. Knowing just the right questions to ask is also my job. Both skills need to be present and well-honed in order to create and customize content for the right kind of engagement.

So yeah, if you’ve got the budget for marketing, but are choosing not to spend it on experts, you may want to reconsider. I like a deal as much as the next girl, but in this instance the cliche applies – you get what you pay for.

Remember that communication is key in building relationships. It’s absolutely a necessity to start and continue conversations on your social media platforms to start adding to your business’ trust account. Without that engagement, you will be losing customers to your Social Media savvy competitors every day of the week.

“When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”
Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

What Does The Fox Say? YouTube and Your Business

I’ve heard the question asked over and over again.  Why would I want to use YouTube as a channel to market my business?  I’m going to take the unconventional approach here.  I might get my throat figuratively slit by a few social media gurus when I say this.  You don’t necessarily have to.  Now wait.  I didn’t say you SHOULDN’T.  I said you don’t necessarily have to.

Lemme ‘splain myself.  If you’re a social media professional and your target clients are tech based, gamers, musicians, artists, etc… Then yes.  You should absolutely have a YouTube channel and you should actively use it to market your business.  Maybe you should consider that – even before you should consider blogging.

My target client is altogether different though.  My focus is on the mom and pops.  The small, home-grown, local businesses of Indianapolis and the surrounding towns/cities.  They don’t spend copious amounts of time browsing YouTube for Flula’s latest misunderstood colloquialism or Hannah Hart’s latest episode of My Drunk Kitchen – although they’re both two favorites of mine.  They’re busy making sure that stack of bills dwindles to zero, only to watch them stack back up tomorrow.  MY clients are on Facebook.  Why?  Let’s be honest:  They have little to no time to maintain relationships with people face to face.  Sometimes, this is all they’ve got.  Small business takes a TON of time to manage and run.

Now… ALL that being said:  If you do, indeed, find yourself with a little spare time on your hands, that time would be wisely spent on YouTube.  Here’s why.  What’s the #1 search engine in the world?  You betcha.  Google, baby.  So popular it’s now a verb.  “Google it.”  What’s #2?  Any guesses??  Most people don’t consider YouTube a search engine because of the content it displays – but it is.  YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world.  Now I’m going to weave a tapestry of mind-blowing goodness.  Who owns YouTube?….. (It’s ok, I’ll wait for you to Google it.)…………. (hint, hint.)

Yep – GOOGLE owns YouTube.  So what does that mean?  Adding your videos from YouTube to your website (of course with proper tags, etc…) is perceived integrity in the eyes of Google. Perceived integrity then moves you up in the rankings of google (aka – SEO – Search Engine Optimization)  In other words, this gets you one step closer to being on the front page of Google when people search for your product or service.

Then of course – there’s the opportunity for your video to go viral. And let’s be honest. We all know what the fox says, right? :-/

Social Media ROI objections

As a marketing professional – if you have any focus in Social Media Marketing, you’ll no doubt get the “but we can’t measure ROI” argument.  Big ups to [Olivier Blanchard] for putting this slide show together.  You saved me some serious time!

[slideshare id=1902502&doc=olivierblanchard-basicsofsocialmediaroi-090824230322-phpapp01]

Effective Social Media Marketing Part III (Final)

Using Social Media for Research

Your audience is  your best shot at cost effective research.  Cost effective and small business go hand in hand.  We have to keep up on what works as well as what fits our budget.  That being said, all of us like to be heard.  We all want to know that our opinion is of some value.  Even many larger companies are discovering that valuing your audience’s opinion is a better solution than spending millions of dollars on marketing campaigns.

Maybe it’s been a while since your store has started selling a new brand or a new item plus you’ve also seen that traffic through  your store has started to slack a bit.  Maybe you’re a business that realizes that staying one step ahead of the game is in your best interest – which I hope is the case.  Either way, let your customers know it’s not all about you.  You’re interested in what their wants and needs are.  This is the key to any relationship, be it professional or personal… not just the knowledge of, but the willingness to take action on needs and wants.

According to [Social Media Examiner][Air Tran Airways] “posed the query via a clever website which asked one productive and meaningful question of the audience members: ‘What do you think should be on every AirTran flight?’”  “The response and feedback from fans was gangbusters and quite creative! After several weeks, the message was clear from all of the ballots submitted online. The audience wanted Wi-Fi on every flight. AirTran asked the right question, collected the data and delivered upon that request. Wi-Fi is now an option on every AirTran flight!”

Another example is how [Vitamin Water] crowdsourced a new drink flavor.  You can find the whole story [here].

It could be a simple question about how you can improve a current product.  It may be the aforementioned question run as a contest.  Winner wins  $20 in free merch from your company every month for a year.  Be creative.  Make it something that your fan base wants to share with their friends.  The more creative minds put together, the better!

I Have to Choose between Email and Social Media? … No.

I’ve heard some marketing gurus say that email is soon going to be the dead language of the marketing world.  I say something different.  Language doesn’t die if you know how to keep it alive, so keep email alive, we shall.

Marketing via email and marketing via social media typically reaches two very different audiences.  However, there is absolutely some overlap.  In fact, there’s quite a bit of overlap.

As with any post, any blog, any newsletter, you absolutely MUST keep your audience in mind.  Just because it’s interesting to you doesn’t mean it will be to the people who’ve requested to follow your business… so here’s the plan:

Your first goal is to get your email newsletter list compiled.  Your subject matter needs to be something that is so compelling… So inspiring… So shocking (in good taste of course)… that your audience can’t help but forward it.  Here’s the thing though – you also need to provide a way for your audience that uses both social media AND email to share the story – EASILY.  Humans – we’re such a lazy group! Give us an “easy” button and we’re set.  Make us save a picture to our hard drive, find said picture, upload it to Facebook – then post it… and we’re spent for the day.  So we’d rather just not.  Provide us a button.  Approve.  There it is!  And like magic – more followers.  And you look all the more genius for it.

Looks like you’ve got some writing… or research… or editing to do.  I’ll leave you to it then.

Content Marketing Isn’t Part of your Marketing Strategy??

What’s this “content marketing” catch phrase you keep hearing about?  It’s one of your most powerful marketing tools.  That’s what it is.  If it’s not part of your marketing strategy, it’s time to reevaluate!

Content marketing is essentially selling your brand without (directly) selling your product.  How in the world could that possibly prove to be useful?  Theory is – make your customers smarter and they reward you with their business.  When you take a minute to think it through, it makes all the sense in the world.

Example:  Let’s say you’re a single parent with two young children.  As a single parent, chances are – pizza is one of your go-to dinners. Pizza Joint knows this.  They also know you’re likely looking for things to keep the kiddos occupied over the weekend, but you don’t want to fill their mind with drivel on the television.  Once a day or once every other day, Pizza Joint lets you know about events that are happening in your community that also benefit your family.  Their name is far more likely to be at the top of your list next time it’s pizza time.  Make sense?

A direct sell every so often isn’t a punishable offense, but it’s also not usually the best way to promote via digital media.  Make sure your content is relevant as well as current.

You have an audience to reach.  What’s keeping you?

Tarantula Tarantella

Ohhh boy.  Woke up yesterday morning knowing that I had to do a fear blog because…. well… today is Friday!  I had no clue what to do.  I have enough fears, I suppose.  But none of them (except for one) are paralyzing fears.

My friends who have known me for at least a couple of years – or those who have had the privilege of living with me – know this fear to be my biggest.  Their funniest, but my absolute nightmare.

I think I developed this fear when I was around 12 or 13 years old.  The movie Arachnophobia came out.  My neighbor was scared senseless.  I was bound and determined that i was going to show her what I was made of.  I was one brave chick!  So I watched it over…. and over…. and over… and over again.  Until I fully understood EXACTLY why she was so afraid.  And it stuck.

So yesterday morning, I decided.  I know my fears may be puny – but these silly Friday blogs aren’t really just about me.  They’re also about my readers.  I want you guys and gals to take steps outside of your comfort zone to meet your fears .

In my case, last night wasn’t so much about overcoming any fear because I think a fear of spiders is something of a rational fear.  In this case, it’s more about not letting anything  get in the way of your dreams and your passion.  Not a little spider, not a big snake, not fear of failure and not even yourself.

You’ll have to excuse my appearance. My hair had been under a scrub cap all day and I had to consume 2 glasses of wine and eat a Rice Krispie ® Treat the size of Texas before I even worked up the gumption to walk out the door.  When I got to the place (which will remain nameless due to their less than ethical purchasing strategies… hey, it’s the only place around that had a tarantula.  Back off. I didn’t buy anything.) the associate was with another customer and I had another 30 minutes of pure hell waiting around to hold a creature that I’m fairly certain was spewed from the mouth of Satan himself.  My. Nerves. Were. Shot.

I told the associate of my plight to face my fear of spiders.  I told him I wanted to hold one of the tarantulas at which he said, “on one condition. When I put this on you, you can NOT throw it if you get freaked out.”  Done.  The mission had begun.  I began to feel my nerves actually calm knowing this venture was coming to a close.  That is, until he opened the first container and said, “Ummm no.  That one won’t work.  Any time they pull their fangs up like that – I’m not messing with them.”  I’m sorry… THEIR WHAT?!  It’s ok.  It’s clearly for the best that I didn’t do proper research before I had an 8-legged hairy monster crawling on my arm.

The second monster seems less peeved.  Up and over… and…. ohmygoditsonmyarm!!!!!!!!!!!  Breathing.  Be very still.  Don’t let the monster know you’re scared.  They sense fear.  They like the taste of fear.  The monster most surely is going to bite me.  Ok, you may now remove the monster from my arm.

As it turns out, the monster liked me.  It’s when it had to trade hands to the associate that it decided to bite… him.  Poor sucka. :-)

spiders2 copy

 

Go do something that makes you grow!!!

You want me to WHAT?!

“I can’t give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” – Herbert Bayard Swope, American editor and journalist; first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize

And this, ladies and gentlemen is the truth.  There will be clients that want the world from you.  Once they get the world – they’ll want the sun… and the moon.  And the truth is that you’ll want to provide it for them to your own detriment and to the detriment of your other clients.  There will always be someone that you just can’t please no matter the hours you spend with/for them, no matter the effort put forth, no matter the amount of sleep lost.  Now there will be two possible outcomes.  Outcome #1 – You continue trying to please said client, suffer inordinate amounts of stress, possibly lose other (quality) clients due to time spent on this one – OR – Outcome #2 – You fire your client.  Yes.  YOU are the one in control of your stress level and you are the one responsible for keeping it at a safe and tolerable level.

 
Do the right thing by everyone, always.  Yourself included.  To conclude, a little ditty:  “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away, know when to run.” – Kenny Rogers