It seems like 2012 was the year of Social Media. Not only did we have even more new players, but there appeared to be more pressure than ever for businesses to get on the bandwagon of posting and tweeting to their market.
And just when it seemed the business owner managed to get his or her Twitter and Facebook accounts, Pinterest and even a ton more interest in Google+ showed up on their radar. Not to mention that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all had facelifts meaning previous profiles needed a tune up.
Every time I spoke this year the #1 burning question remained the same - "How am I, the small business owner, supposed to keep up on all this stuff and how is it going to help me get more business?"
I would say that 2012 was more accurately the year of Social Media tools maturing in the small business marketplace, but 2013 is the beginning of an Online Renaissance. A time when business owners can finally find their voice and yell their message from the online rooftops.
Stop worrying about where you should be online and how long a post should be. That will overwhelm you rather than motivate. Instead, start thinking of what your passion, your company and you can bring to the table to help your target market.
You have the ability to become the "new" media. You have the ability to influence people in a positive way. You have the ability to make a difference. Isn't that really why you got into your business to begin with?
So what is the key to successful Social Media in today's environment? Create a strong strategy instead of focusing or worrying about the tactics. Leverage social media.
As less and less people are turning on their television sets, or reading a print magazine in lieu of electronic publications and the internet, the influence of traditional media is giving way to bloggers and what's trending on Twitter. Start thinking strategically about what you want to post and not so much about which site that's going to happen on.
How can you do this?
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, authors of the New York Times bestseller Trust Agents, launched their new book in 2012 called “The Impact Equation.” They talk about the concept of pretending you own a TV Channel. To build your strategy for social media, they suggest you think about what types of programs you would air on your TV Channel. Let's face it, they can't all be the same or no one would watch, but if you have an overall theme, like “Golf” because you are appealing to golfers or the Oprah Winfrey Network because you are appealing to women, you can certainly think of all kinds of shows that might be interesting.
Maybe one program (or series of posts or categories) is “interesting people or clients”. Another might be a "How To" show. Yet another might be a Talk Show that shares conflicting opinions on a specific topic. How about the Daily or Weekly News?
The premise here is that if you focus on your passion and EVERYTHING you can bring to the table to share that passion, the followers and customers will follow. Remember people are smarter and savvier shoppers. They will buy from you because they like and trust what you are standing for and not because what you're offering is the cheapest.
So find that voice, get excited about it and get it out there and share it. People are dying to tune in!
What type of TV channel would you launch?
Nice piece. I believe the key to effective Social Media is content, content, content. The more the better. Whether you're using Twitter, Facebook, or whatever, people will become regular visitors to your site if they believe they will always find something useful there, something, enlightening, informative, interesting, or entertaining.
I agree with you that your passion imbued in to your social media activity will shine through and attract people. My channel is all about small business growth strategies through sales and marketing for the most part. I find that after a few years people know me and expect this content and like it.
If I were to share just one way to be successful with social media it would be to remain consistently creative. I think without creativity it's just too difficult to get above the noise, which is formidable. There were more than one million tweets about the inauguration. That gives you an idea of the type of noise that's being created now. Unless you're different, you're toast imho.
Excellent information. I agree that content is the most important piece of an effective social media marketing campaign. It's very important to provide useful information to your customers so that it will continue to drive traffic to your website. At Del-Air Electrical we try to provide useful tips to our customers (http://www.delairelectrical.com/) on Facebook and through our blog. Understanding how to provide the best information to your customers through social media is very important, and I appreciate the information in this post!