It's All About Creating Opportunity
So why should you learn all of these new applications in social media? In a word: Opportunity.
Here is the new definition of marketing in this new economy: Turn strangers into friends, friends into customers, and customers into evangelists. Here's my "One-Hour Recipe" (If you do this one hour per day, you'll be at the top of Google and become a social media star. If you do this one hour per week, you'll rise ahead of your competition and make an impact):
- Blog—write some content valuable to your target audience, read some other blogs and post a comment or two. 20 minutes.
- YouTube—record a YouTube video related to your blog topic that will have value for your target audience and post it on your channel. 10 minutes.
- Twitter—Write tweets about your new blog and new YouTube video and post them. Use a tool such as HootSuite to schedule three or four additional tweets throughout the day. 10 minutes.
- Facebook—Review and respond to friends' updates and messages and then post an update of your own with a link to your blog and post an update with a link to your video. 10 minutes.
- LinkedIn—Review and update any messages from friends, request connections with those you met since your last visit to the site. Now post two updates with links to your new blog and your new video. 10 minutes.
Voila! One hour. You're done and you're on your way to becoming a social media rock Star!
Here are five key points to remember so you are using social media as a strategy and NOT as a pastime:
- It's about listening. You'll do key phrase research. Google alerts. Twitter. Social Mention.com and industry sites and blogs.
- You want to build a community of friends, followers and connections. You'll want to use a "follow me" button, advertise your presence and outposts. Use email blasts to customers and prospects telling them where to find you online. Work on getting found online—SEO and SEM. Google follows social media.
- You need to broadcast. Engage with your target audience. Link your social media with Tweetdeck, Ping.fm and Hootsuite. Keep it meaningful and worthwhile. Use the 90/10 rule. Nine value-only posts give you the right to post one purely commercial post.
- You need valuable content. Have a solid tone and build your image and brand. Leverage your content across all media types. Blog—video—podcast—Remember that stories sell. Success stories. Case histories. Product comparisons. Top 10 lists. How-to's. FAQs. Controversial ideas and topics.
- Convert them into customers. Get them to do something. Request a catalog, a sample. Give them free consulting, a free spec sample. A promotional product. Invite them to a webinar or workshop. Provide them with the "What's In It For Me?" Send personal thank-you's. Invite them to follow you.
The new rules of marketing focus on value, on conversation, on influence. The most influential communications are "What Others Say About You." What we present will be overshadowed by what we say in person and that is overshadowed by what others say about us. Surveys show that 14 percent of people trust marketing messages, and 78 percent trust personal recommendations.
Here's the thing. Get to know and use social media, but don't stress over it.
If you hate social media, you will suck at social media. Social media is like teenage sex. Everyone wants to do it, no one actually knows how, and when it's over they're surprised it wasn't better.
In the words of Nike, "Just do it." The rules are being rewritten and are changing constantly. Find your voice and use it. Be yourself. Be relevant to the needs of your customers. Trust that the outcome will follow. Good luck!