In this paper we offer an introduction to the new Internet phenomena – Social Media Marketing explaining:
1. Why it’s important for small businesses to understand it
2. What to do, and how to go about it. (all the site names are links)
3. Where to go to start building a web presence.
Why you need to be marketing via Social Media
Do you need to get into Social Media Marketing (SMM) – Almost certainly YES because a) the other approaches don’t work so well anymore, and b) because it offers a much wider reach, to a more closely targeted audience. And it’s free.
a) Other approaches don’t work any more:
* Cold calling on the street – when was the last time anybody got invited in to make their pitch?
* Cold calling on the phone – talking to voice mail isn’t fun anymore.
* Print and other broadcast media – far too expensive and unproductive.
* Email – authorized sender lists and other filters send these to Trash.
* SEO your marketing site – Google ranks advertisers first and content (in blogs) next.
* Adwords – cost per click is driven up by big brand budgets and only Google makes money.
On top of these is the resistance we all have to intrusive advertising. Our brains, our Firefox or our Tivo, allows us to filter it out.
b) Social Media platforms aren’t intended for marketing, but do help us get messages out there, to people interested in the subject. The creators built these systems so communities could interact, on the Internet. Members avoid advertising like everybody else, but as in other social places, they are open to meeting people and learning and sharing. Participating in these communities, we can meet people who are buying what we sell.
Social Media Marketing is:
1. More effective
2. Wider reach to people who are interested
The Seven Secrets to Being Welcome
Getting started with SMM can appear intimidating. All of these places seem full of experts who use their own special languages. We have to write and publish stuff in ways people want to read. Most of all it seems to take up so much time.
But actually it’s easy, provided we stick to the fundamental principles:
* Avoid Internet Marketing Experts like the plague. Sites are dominated by these characters trying to drive readers to their blogs, in the hope they’ll click an Ad. They know less about SMM than we do, or they wouldn’t act the way they do.
* Find some genuine (there are a few) SMM experts and read what they generously share in their blogs. A great starting place is chrisbrogan.com. Find Chris’ paper “Fish Where the Fish Are” for the most clear explanation.
* Sign up to sites where your prospects, or people they know, hang out. Be social. Fill out your profile as if you’re joining a club. In Social Media, members like to know the person behind the business. It’s just like meeting people at a cocktail party.
* Write blog posts on stuff you really understand. Make these posts short, to the point, and offer genuine expertise. The objective here is not winning a Pulitzer Prize – it’s sharing your expertise. Don’t pretend to know something. Frauds are exposed in a heartbeat.
* Write comments in forums, sharing what you know with people who don’t. Answer questions posted with short comments directly on subject. People interested in the same subject watch the answers to questions. The question becomes the focal point of a mini community. Here you can answer one question and have ten people recognize your value add.
* Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Bad news about a product or service will be around the world in a nano second and consign the perpetrator to oblivion.
* DO NOT SELL. There are plenty of fools who do, but they’re noticed as Spammers. There’s no need to sell. When we know what we’re talking about, people in the market will want to buy.
Anybody following these rules will be welcome on discussion forums and other meeting places.
Easy Steps to Global Presence
We need to think of the Internet as a spinning plate. We can stand in the middle and not move while it goes on around us, but we know there’s stuff going on out there. The perimeter is moving much faster then the center. It’s all a blur.
To join in we’ll need to move toward the outside and be prepared to move more quickly. The further we get out there the faster we have to think, and move. What’s happening isn’t near the center, it’s out there on the edges. In today’s world it’s a case of “be out there, or be square”.
In B2B, the good news is we don’t have to get to the extremes of what the gurus are dreaming up. Our audience, being more focused on business than redefining the world, congregates in places where it’s easier to play a part. Not that far from the center. Further out there will be opportunities in the future so we should stake out a place, but we probably aren’t going to do business there – yet.
Most of the sites out there have been started by people wanting to get paid for advertising, one way or another, and run the site for their own benefit. Why not start at Front Office Box User Group ?- it’s run for your benefit. You can manage your own communities, get all your blog posts automatically sent to content distributors. Get your profiles indexed by Search Engines, and advice from the Social Media Marketing group.
At WeCanDo.Biz create a profile in the directory, receive endorsements from customers and business partners, contact other members via messages and post any business needs to the community. Coming soon will be a business forum.
At implu.com find up to the minute details of 167,000 company officers, create a personal profile and share your “stories” about corporate America. There’ll be blogs and a forum coming soon.
Not many people know but you can set up a business profile on Facebook go to Mari Smith for a guide.
Next go to to Linked In. Here we find 25+ million professionals, like us, wanting to connect for business: reconnect with past colleagues, receive job offers, get help from their peers. Linked In has 1,000s of special interest groups and posts questions and answers in 100s of categories.
Growing fast is a host of special interest sites using Ning and Collective X software. Both offer directories of their sites. There are 1,000s of Ning sites, some with 100,000s members, focused on special interest or geography. Ning makes it particularly easy for us to set up our own, and keeps a consistent profile of us and our “friends” across all of it’s sites. Find some interesting groups, join and join in discussions. You’ll be familiar with the way it all works- the user group’s a Ning site.
Spread your Internet footprint by submitting content at Ezine Articles. From December 2008 join AddsYou for more of the same opportunities. Post the same content in Squidoo lenses and Google Knols. Contribute to Knols Debates. – researchers use these like encyclopedia.
Get a Google account. Post content in your Blogspot blog, publish it in Google Sites pages, make videos and publish on You Tube.
Answer others’ questions anywhere you find them – particularly at Linked In, Yahoo Answers and Knol Debates. People appreciate the help, and Google is watching – by now you’re becoming a world authority on your subjects. (worth remembering 99% of the content on the web is regurgitated garbage – if your stuff is good it’s easy to stand out).
Microblogging and What We Can Do With It
At the extreme edge of our plate we come to microblogging with Twitter, Pownce, Yammer, Plurk and a few more – on the face of it the most meaningless service imaginable, with broadcast publishing limited to 140 characters and a host of complimentary software/services adding value to it. The number of people joining Twitter is growing at a blinding rate, because the members are creating purpose for it as they go along. With Twitter the lunatics really have taken control of the asylum.
Even further out we come to Twingr. This is a site/service letting people create their own communities, just like Ning but limited to the 140 character post size. (It’s brand new so might need some time to fix a few things.)
Why limit messages to 140 characters? Because it cuts to the mustard. People out there want to benefit from our insight, not out literary skills. The limit focuses minds on the meat. Readers can scan hundreds of posts in a few minutes, choosing ones they want to know more about.
Microblogging started with simple status updates – what I’m doing now – between friends. Then it exploded with users and innovation.
Now news services monitor Twitter posts to find out what’s happening. Journalists monitor them to find out what people are thinking. Politicians are doing the same, and engaging a new public with their own ideas. Software companies are publishing service notices to their users. Brands don’t need customer surveys anymore, they just monitor Twitter.
Sales guys are monitoring Twitter to find out who’s interested in what, and what’s being said about their competitors. This is the new source of sales leads, and we don’t have to look for them, they come to us.
More than a million early adopters are publishing news and opinions to the rest of the world. The service is so successful, developers everywhere are writing programs to add value – including Twitter Search, monitoring keywords and sending every post using them to our RSS reader, and Twellow, a directory of Twitter users with more than 620,000 entries.
With Twitter we can find new friends and colleagues anywhere in the world. We can learn of a new opportunity, evaluate and decide within just a few minutes.
We can be so much more productive, because we’ve got access to so much more information and support. It’s the ultimate question and answer service.
What’s Next ?
Beats me! We just need to keep up with pace.
Since 1977 my world has revolved around selling – everything from milking machines to mainframes, and from debt collection to outsourcing. Life has mostly been fun, and usually profitable. Benefiting from excellent training, and working closely with some truly excellent people has shown me the very best of best practice in the science of selling. For more insight and awesome sales management software visit us at Front Office Box