How Many Channels Are YOU Using?
If you're a Baby Boomer like me, you probably fondly recall the HUGE selection of TV channels we had on our TV dials growing up. (Selection of the word "HUGE" was sarcasm, of course. We had a total of seven channels, and maybe eight if it wasn't raining and the rabbit ears were tilted just the right way.) Basically, we were CAPTIVES of one of those seven stations if we were watching TV back in the day.
This past weekend, when renewing my cable service options, I asked my kids and husband which channels they really watched. The list was MASSIVE. Everyone had his or her own unique selections, many very surprising to me. A few major network shows, but also shows about dirty jobs, gypsy sisters, ice road truckers, international soccer matches, dance moms, duck call inventors, no-nonsense court judges, farm vets, zombies, wedding gowns, diner food, pranksters, shark tanks and guessing game shows featuring leggy models holding money-filled briefcases. Bottom line: To satisfy the family nowadays, we needed to have a myriad of those channels—something to reach every possible taste, type of viewer and demographic.
And that led me to think of all the ways we can market ourselves today. Back then, you had traditional media, promotional products, direct mail, personal sales calls and a few others. You usually took ONE message and blasted it out to the masses or to select prospects. But YOU were telling the story. Promoting. Pushing YOUR message.
Not so today. Consumers have evolved, gotten younger, savvier. They have grown up with choices we never had—finite preferences and a new world of advertising where THEY call the shots. They want you to know them, understand their needs and wants and pain and preferences, and go where they are. Reach THEM through the channels they inhabit. And not only THAT, they don't want to be SOLD; they want to be ENGAGED, to interact, to choose YOU to connect to them. They don't want a "pitch;" they will make their choices based on what their connections are and what their peers say.
So what's a marketer to do?
You need to MAKE time to be where your buyers are. Yes, in the traditional media (some buyers are still using those). But many others are looking to CONNECT with you on SOCIAL MEDIA. Facebook, Twitter. Pinterest. Instagram. It doesn't take long once you're up and running (and know the basics). You just have to make a plan, create the content and launch it. It takes less than an hour a day to do it right. But WHAT you post is critical. And make sure you don't just PROMOTE. You need to provide the type of content they want, or buyers will shut you down.
Social media buyers are looking for five things:
- Special offers and insider advantages (before the masses hear about them.) These should be priced at suggested retail so your customers can share the specials with their end users.
- Sales and business tips to help them grow and profit more.
- Informative content they can pass along (trends, factoids, history, how-it's-made snippets) that is immediately sharable on THEIR sites (written for the end buyer)
- Behind the scenes peeks at your company - personal news, what's happening, milestones, so they are more connected to you.
- Chances to engage with you... ask them questions, take a poll, have a contest, ask their opinion (but please respond when necessary and share the results)
Remember: They're inviting you into THEIR world. Not the other way around. If they block you, you're done. So give them what they want and you'll have followers just as captive as this Baby Boomer is to the series "Impractical Jokers." Hilarious!
Best of luck in being more "Social."
Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS