Strategy can be a really strange thing and can mean different things to different people but without it you really are going nowhere whether it’s in social media or anything else you do for that matter.
Let’s take social media and social media marketing, as it’s what I do. My dad always said to us as kids “you only get out what you put in” and that sort of stuck with me and something I use every day and tell my kids too.
So how does that relate to your ‘strategy’? Easy…first let’s take a look at what makes a successful social marketing strategy.
The first real element of any strategy is you and that’s especially true of social media. You have to want to do it, you have to ‘show up’ and be there for your tribe but you can’t be one dimensional. If you use text a lot, like this post, think about a video or maybe an infographic, just to mix things up a bit, don’t be predicable.
You have to be helpful, you need to let people know how you really can solve their problems, but that only happens if you listen to them, so make sure listening is part of that strategy.
We all know that we have to be ourselves when posting, we have to be authentic in everything we do online, if not and we are ‘found out’ that’s really bad for business. But it really isn’t that difficult. If I am honest it doesn’t take long before ‘we’ shine through as its human nature, we can’ hide for long, good or bad so don’t try.
Never be dull and boring, be as engaging as you can. Nobody buys ‘dull’ do they? No they buy exciting, knowledgeable and interesting. I can guarantee that if you sell like a robot you won’t make many sales…trust me I know through bitter experience. Keep everything you do full of life and vibrant.
So how often do you ‘show up’? Well this is up to you of course but you really do have to be available, if you’re not what’s the point? Now I am not saying you have to be there 24/7 but it really is just a matter of working hard to understand how you reach your clients and prospective clients. We all get caught up but I find if you plan your week it really does help.
So just as a little exercise I want you to:
Take a look at your website. How ‘helpful’ is it to your tribe
How ‘you’ is your website? Are there pictures of the people who work there? Is there a picture of you? All this matters, believe me.
How interesting is your website is it making the decision to buy an easy one, it should be or is it just selling?
Where are you available? How many links to social channels do you have on your website?
This is a great little exercise to find out just what your strategy is and it’s gets you thinking about the next steps.
When I worked in the newspaper industry it became clear around 2004/5 that we were no longer just a publishing company we were in fact a media company because we had access to lots of different channels not just print to get our message and stories out to the public.
We had access to video through YouTube, we could blog using WordPress and as you all know by now that was just the start.
My point is things have changed so much that we now have access to what seems like millions of ways to connect with each other and its growing. We are now all media companies regardless of business size.
Mobile is growing so fast we can hardly keep up. My Chromebook is now my PC and my tablet and Smartphone are never far away so doesn’t it make sense to have them at the centre of your strategy? But please make sure that your website looks good on your phone…its essential these days because that’s how it’s being accessed most of the time.
A massive part of my strategy for social marketing is how quickly I respond to someone. Before we go on think about your response time and is it good enough?
Why it’s important: Marcel Lebrun, founder of Radian6 (now Salesforce Radian6) coined this important phrase – “The social phone is ringing. Are you picking up?”
I think we all get that everyone now thinks that their message to you is the most important message you will ever receive and if it remains unanswered than it really is wasted. This also goes for Tweets, emails or comments on blogs, G+, Facebook or LinkedIn. If you don’t respond then anything they hoped you might supply is wasted, you might not get a second chance.
Think about using something like Hootsuite to monitor what’s being said, it’s a great way to listen and keep in touch with your tribe.
So again what’s your current response time?
Recently I read an article on how it takes one company 45 days to plan a tweet, now I wouldn’t recommend you take that long but you do need a strategy to make all this stuff work for you.
This is a very small part of how my social marketing works and it’s something you are interested in or want to know more about please feel free to get in touch.
Today I am ‘sorting out’ my ‘social’ accounts. Its my strategy of taking back control.
I have been lazy of late by letting an automated service take control of when and who I post to. I was uncomfortable at the time of signing up for this service but I though I would give it a go and see what happened.
I even paid for the service but now its time for a change.
I know that lots of businesses out there in ‘social land’ have this sort of software and they even have companies that carryout their day to day or week to week social media updating tasks, but I am always a little wary when I hear this because it like handing over one of the kids to somebody else and expecting it to all go well.
It very rarely does. Kids kick up a fuss they cry, they throw their lunch and refuse to play with other kids. But everything goes back to normal as soon as the kids are picked up by parent, its someone they know and trust.
Now I know what some will say, they will say that our kids are fine in toddler groups or at school and maybe they are and maybe they aren’t but speaking from experience I was never happier than when it was the school holidays and I was at home with family and friends, that’s when I felt most happy and secure.
So why would a business handover the reputation of their business, which for many of us is a child, to someone else? Why would they risk it?
I would rather take a few weeks or months to learn this stuff, lets face nobody knows everything about this stuff right, than I would give it to someone else to do on my behalf. I don’t get the laziness of why someone can’t spend an hour a day making friends, reacquainting with old ones and meeting new clients.
If someone calls and says “I would like to speak to Keith” I don’t say sorry I don’t speak to clients or potential clients anymore I have someone do that for me, I actually pay them to do it” WTF is that all about?
What’s worse is if you don’t tell anyone and have them believe that your actually updating when its clear to everyone its not you, yes we can tell its not hard to spot.
So please do yourself and your business a favour, if you are going to use social media and even if its only 10 mins a day, do it yourself and engage with your tribe I can guarantee that you and they will love the experience.
Also I don’t get this bullshit “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know what to say?” Your capable of running a business your more than capable of speaking to people FFS.
So on Monday when you go into work go in with the notion that you are ‘taking back control’ and that YOU will be speaking to YOUR clients from now on in whatever way possible and I guarantee by Friday you will be loving it and by the following Monday you will be thinking “why didn’t I do this sooner?”
I am currently reading a book called Breakthrough: Learn the secrets of the world’s leading mentor and become the best you can be! By David C.M. Carter, this is the UK Kindle edition http://goo.gl/7MuPBQ it’s all about your personal breakthroughs and a whole lot more. I would highly recommend it.
I first saw David on a Google hangout with Martin Shervington ( Google Plus Link ) and was really captivated by what he had to say, it really resonated with me.
In the book there’s a chapter called “Know yourself” and it’s a fascinating chapter about getting to know YOU!
But for me ‘Brand You’ is a fantastic term that conjures up all sorts of possibilities because most of us have no idea what it means or how this works.
I want you to think about the big names in social media for a moment:
Richard Branson – Virgin
Tony Robbins – Tony Robbins
Guy Kawasaki – AllTop, amongst others
Robert Scoble – Rackspace
There are more, you can add your own, but you get where I’m going.
This got me thinking about how successful their personal brands are, even though they have massively successful companies. Through social media we get to know them by their first names, some are even on first name terms with them. My point is through social media we now think of them, as people before we think of their companies, however large the companies may be. This is how up close and personal life has become through social media. We feel like we know them because they give us a snapshot into their daily lives.
So lets bring this right back to how this affects to us, the ones who breathe the normal air, how can we ever hope to achieve the same sort of recognition and become Brand You? Well I can tell you it’s not impossible.
Building a Brand You is vitally important to any business owner and you know why? Because you have it whether you like it or not. People’s perceptions of you help to build that brand. Some will like you, some will hate you and some will love you, both personally and in business you might as well accept it. Some would have us believe that there is nothing we can do about this so we might as well make the best of it. But you can do something about it, you must influence it in any way you can so your Brand You becomes stronger day by day.
Network, both on and offline, this is important because to become the best ‘brand you’ you can you need help and don’t be afraid to ask for it
Give as much help and advice as you can on your specialist subject. Give without gain!
Social marketing is a tricky business because whether you have a Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter business and personal accounts they are all linked back to you. This is one of the reasons you can’t be everywhere at once, you need to concentrate on three platforms at most so you can become the best ‘Brand You’ that you can be. Don’t overstretch yourself because no one wants a watered down version of you! It’s better to be a giant on three platforms than a ‘wash up’ on six.
So building Brand You isn’t as difficult as you first thought it was. It’s not an overnight thing, you can’t do it in a couple of weeks but you can do it.
The most important part I have left to the end and that’s being true to yourself! Yes you can change how people perceive you but you have to want to do that to begin with. If there is something stopping you getting the clients you want then find out what it is and change it, it will be something really simple. If there is something stopping you from charging more for your services or products do a full end to end appraisal of what you do and make sure you are adding as much value to your clients lives as you possibly can. Get help with this one if necessary.
You need to build your brand in a positive way because you want people see you in a light that is positive to you and your business or you won’t have a business.
There are lots of ways to build a strong ‘Brand You’ but remember you have to start sometime and that sometime is today. I would urge you to read this post again and then formulate your plan to build the best ‘Brand You’ that you can.
One of the great things about the web is that we can find pretty much everything we need, flights, hotels, train times, online shopping in fact just about anything is right there at our fingertips. Why is it then that businesses find it so difficult to find and ‘engage’ with customers and potential customers?
We hear this comment almost everyday, “we don’t know where they hang out?” This is a common cause of businesses failing because they disconnect with their clients and potential clients. They stop speaking to them then the inevitable happens and they can’t find them and they lose touch.
Here’s a list of what you can do to reconnect with your customers and find new ones:
Look at your top 10 existing clients and list what was/is good about working with them?
Did they pay a lot and on time?
Were they fun to work with?
Did they treat you with respect?
What did they have in common?
Were they all based, roughly, in the same location?
Were they easy to travel to?
What gender and age group were they?
How did you help them?
What were the problems you helped them to solve?
A relatively short list but it will get you started.
Because once you reconnect with them you can show them what they have been missing by helping them solve their current set of problems. Let’s face it that’s what all businesses do, solve problems!
Because your customers are now connected 24/7 through smartphones, tablets, laptops and PC’s they are looking for ‘stuff’ and its probably your ‘stuff’ so you owe it to yourself, your staff and your customers to know who and where they are at all times, because if you don’t you can bet your ‘bottom dollar’ your competitors will.
Google released a fascinating document on how businesses are using digital devices to connect to the web and social media, you can find it here study it carefully because it will help you understand what the online behaviours of your existing and potential customers are and this is something that you really need to know about.
If you want to talk a little more on how to find your ideal customers please feel free to leave a comment below, we would love to know what you think?
Strange how we humans are such creatures of habit? I mean if you wash your car on a certain day then that’s when it gets washed, come hell or high water.
We are no different when it comes to social media and where and when we should post. Over the past month or so I have conducted a little experiment, nothing major just for my own amusement really to see if I don’t post myself, just auto updates, what the engagement would be, that’s one of the things I really love to know is how we engage with each other, but thats another post.
Anyway I was thinking what if over the weekend, its a bank holiday here in England, would Google Plus cease to function, would Facebook cease to exist and LinkedIn and Twitter would be just a wasteland for me. Bottom line is…would anyone care if I posted a little less?
You see as creatures of habit we do tend to feel a little ‘uneasy’ when we don’t do things when we think we should and as we’ve always done.
We have had Jayne’s mum down for the weekend and I have only had the morning to converse with all you good people and that’s fine I am happy with that as we all need a little time to ourselves and to spend with the family, our ‘real’ families 😉
As we were out and about on different days I kept thinking “should I be adding something to Buffer?” ,“what happens if they don’t realise I am not posting?” and “if I don’t send something everyone will leave me”
It doesn’t work that way. Just like our families they don’t expect us to be sitting in their house morning noon and night, they don’t care if we are off doing something else and they certainly don’t mind if we don’t call, text or email them for a couple of days, we don’t need permission to live our lives. Right!
Well there I’ve said it…permission. If you want to do something else, do it!
I use Buffer to send out interesting stuff to all of you and I use Feedly to aggregate my news and I am now using Evernote, thanks to Les Dossey, to co ordinate and make sense of the stuff I do and I love it, but sometimes its just nice not to do anything.
I don’t want ‘automation’ to become the norm for me, I like to mix it up a little and from time to time have a little quiet time to myself. But I also like my posts to be me and not just a headline from another site just so I don’t think you’re all getting lonely or I am panicking that you’ve moved on.
If this weekend, of very little engagement, has taught me one thing it’s that to have a break, from anything, is good for us and to give yourself permission to ‘step away’ is fine it recharges your batteries, it helps you see things in a clearer light and it certainly gives you a renewed vigour to do better work once you return. Better hadn’t tell that to Jayne though!!
So the next time someone asks you to do something or the opportunity comes up to do something where you don’t have a ‘connection’ to the world scares you to death and before you say no and think of a million excuses not to do it just think “what’s the worst that can happen?” and I can guarantee that you will come back a stronger, clearer and more focused person and of course…