Helping Small Business Owners think Smart about Social Media

Helping Small Business Owners think Smart about Social Media

Business owners are confused about social media. For good reason because it seems like an unclarifyable entity that everyone is talking about but no one is really explaining. They all have their ears open but they aren’t really sure what they are hearing.

First take a deep breath and relax.  This doesn’t have to be hard. It can be confusing if you start listening to how many things there are that you “Should be doing” vs. asking some questions. Some simple questions really, but often overlooked.

1) What is your goal. A common mistake is to think the goal is to drive traffic to your website. Wrong. Even if a million people visit your website and no one buys what your selling, what good did it do for you to get them there?  I propose you go with a goal like raising awareness of your product. Now we can focus our energies on ways to do that. The more you raise awareness the more energy you create around your product which will result in sales however your goal is first and formost just to educate about your product no sell.

(A lot of marketers are rolling their eyes and shrieking in disgust right now. That’s ok let them cause all they know is how to cram things down people throats. When was the last time you actually purchased something you had to regurgitate to see it.)

You can write a blog.  You can tweet on Twitter. You can post on a bullitan board. You can tell your neighbor. You can go to networking meetings and yell above everyone else in the room what your selling.

All of these might get you a sale or two. What if you stratigicly thought about who your audience is?  It would allow you to plan how your going to talk too, engage, invite them to take a look at your product.

Hallmark had an ad campain recently about cards and little girls opening them up at school and being the hit of the lunch room. Some might think the audience would be little girls but realy it’s the mothers who are going to be buying the cards to give out. It’s the mother’s emotions that the commercial is playing on. What mother wouldn’t want their kid to be the one who gets positive attention because of the cool card they got. It almost verges on your not a “great” mother unless you buy your kid a card that plays music. Your definately a better mother than the one who just put a home made card in the lunch bag.

2) Who is your audience? Who is your ideal client? What action do you want them to take? How do you want to touch them in a way to get them to buy your product or donate to your cause or recommend you to someone else?

3) Where does your ideal audience hang out? Which blogs are already speaking to your audience? Which social sites are your audience participating in?

Most of these questions will bring about a multitude of answers. What do you do with the answers? You sit down and you stratigize with someone who knows how to help you figure out how to get your message out to the audience who wants to hear it. 

Stop! The instructions said, rinse and repeat. So lets repeat that idea again. How do you get your message out to the audience who wants to hear it? When I say “wants to hear it”, I mean your ideal audience. The audience who once they see or learn of you product will buy it.

Social media can help you find and reach your audience. It is not however a platform for you to get on and yell (spam) at everyone about your product. There is etiquette for each forum. If your going to use one of the tools of social media then you need to spend some time learning about it.

I am passionate about helping small- and locally-owned businesses use the power of social networking to build their brand.  So I share everything I know with just about anyone who will listen. Why? Cause it isn’t a secret. It’s social media.

If you have any comments about this post I would love to hear them.

I’m also available for consultations on how to help you make your business stand out in a crowd.

Chuck Franks, PCC