Social Media.. What Site or Sites Are Best for My Business?


Few Companies Take the Time to Select the Social Media Sites that Will Be Best for Them

I don’t know how many times I have read purported experts telling organizations that they should have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Plaxo, Friendster, MySpace, etc. I have heard them specify up to 10 sites that they state are critical to your business. Do they really know? What is their proof?

If you go looking for sites on your own you will see that Wikipedia lists over 190 different Social Media sites. On top of selecting your Social Media sites; businesses are told they must be blogging and oh, by the way, you should do podcasts in your spare time.

The reality is that there are way too many options and no business, regardless of how well staffed they are, can effectively participate in all these sites or even 10 sites. To make it worse many so-called Social Media consultants or experts spend little or no time understanding your business or helping you develop a strategy. My experience is that their interest is to get you involved in Social Media Sites far more than helping you achieve Social Media success.

What Do You Hope to Accomplish with Social Media and Why?

Before you jump into any site you must first understand or determine what you are attempting to accomplish. You must be able to answer these questions:

  • Who do you want to talk to?
  • Where do members of your audience spend their time?
  • What Social Media sites serve your audience?
  • What is interests your audience?
  • What information can you contribute to meet their interests?
  • How often do you want to talk?
  • What of quality or value do you have to say?
  • What action do you want your audience to take?

I am sure you can come up with other questions that will help to narrow your focus and evolve your strategy.

When you can answer these questions you are then prepared to start evaluating which Social Media sites will best serve your purposes. Certain sites lend themselves better to one objective or another and none are a one-size fits all solution.

The mistake that you do not want to make is to spend time in places where you will not find your customers and prospects or where you have nothing to add to the conversation. My friend, Neal Shaffer, wrote the blog post 5 Reasons Why Your Social Media Strategy Isn’t Really a Social Media Strategy.

Your Social Media Strategy Must Be Evolving

Your Social Media strategy must be evolving. Social Media sites will come and go, customers will redefine their interests, and/or you will change your strategies. You must be prepared to adapt and change as your needs change.

The reality is that businesses must pick and choose their Social Media sites with care. Just like you take care in selecting your product or service lines you must be using the same care in selecting your Social Media sites.

Social Media Has Much to Offer Businesses, but They Must Do Their Homework First

If you take the time to do your homework; your chances of success will increase geometrically.

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Begging for Facebook Fans


Are You Looking to Build a Following for Your Facebook Fan Page?

There are lots of fan pages out there and many, if not most, go begging for fans. Interestingly I see many posts of people saying “Be my Fan”, “Follow My Page”, “Click on This”, etc. That may work with some people, but you will never gain a quality following using that process. That is unless you are a celebrity and people are ready to jump at anything you say or do.

To Be Successful Facebook Fan Pages Need Fans

Without a doubt your page will be far more successful when you have 100s or 1000s of fans; but you will never reach that goal by begging. You must be providing value to generate fans. There are many different ways to provide value or otherwise encourage people to follow you; but you must be providing something in exchange for their clicking “Like” and becoming a fan.

What Do You Have to Offer?

Obviously one of the first things that you can be offering is valuable information. For instance if you are reading this article; you obviously believe that there is value in the information. Providing information that is helpful and can add value to your readers can be the enticement necessary to get them to become your fan.

Some pages gather fans by offering specials, using coupons or other pricing incentives, running promotions, and other activities to encourage participation. All of these actions can help in building your following. Along with those activities you need to be regular in your postings and activities. People are not interested in Pages that stop and start.

On my page UPPROACH I offer Fan Page tips. This is gaining me a following and therefore people must believe that there is value in what I am saying. If I can do it, so can you.

Make your Fan Page appeal to readers by giving them quality!

Building Your Business Using Social Media


Does the World Know About Your Expertise?

I received email this morning from my friend Charlie Cook. Charlie helps small businesses with their marketing. In his email he was talking about a bike shop, Santa Fe Mountain Sports.

Charlie needed to fix the derailleur on his wife’s bike so they could take a ride. An avid biker, Charlie thought he was up to the task, but quickly realized he needed some help. He went to YouTube and searched on “adjusting front derailleur”. He found the video he needed and saw that over 400,000 other people had found it as well. All told this bike shop has over 1.3 million views of their videos that demonstrate their expertise.

Are you demonstrating your expertise? Are you getting your word out?

As Charlie points out even if each person viewed it twice that is 200,000 exposures to potential customers and it is all done for free!

I can help you make Social Media work for you! Contact me at tom@upproach.com and let’s talk!

STOP! Before You Take a Step Forward on Your Social Marketing – Read This!


Social Media Marketing Reality

First, do not get me wrong; I am a proponent of Social Media Marketing and I encourage the behavior. The problem is that it is being sold to you incorrectly. Social Networking Consultants, Specialists, Experts, or whatever you want to call them are not telling you the truth!

Social Media Marketing Is Not a Rainmaker Proposition

Social Media Marketing has the potential to drive business, and, yes, even massive business through your doors. The caveat is that it takes work; lots of work. It takes commitment; lots of commitment. It takes time; lots of time.

There is no getting around it; Social Media Marketing is not for the faint of heart.

Case in Point

Earlier this year I was talking to a friend about Social Media Marketing and the opportunities that it offers a business. While I am firmly committed to that statement; I have since come to realize that most business owners do not have the level of commitment necessary to make it successful.

This friend changed the website; it was not necessarily for the better. In fact, the old site, to me, was far more aesthetically pleasing. The content from the old page to the new page is not significantly different, but they can say things have changed.

As part of the new look they created a blog. Blogs are great but again they require commitment and dedication. This is not a stop-start proposition; this is a commitment and your audience is expecting regular postings. This friend created three or four articles over the span of four or five days in February and has done nothing since.

The truth is they should pull down the blog. This minimal effort gives the impression that there is no follow through within the organization and does not help them and, in fact, does more damage. It is like jumping into the deep part of the lake and making a big splash and then not coming back to the surface because you were not prepared and had not made the prior commitment to learn how to swim.

Social Media Marketing Requires Commitment

It is not that these owners are not committed to their business; it is the commitment to Social Media Marketing that is lacking. Not surprisingly business owners have many other day-to-day tasks that occupy their time and it is hard to think about Social Media Marketing when your biggest customer is getting ready to bail on you or your top salesperson is considering a new opportunity.

Obviously those situations loom larger and their immediate impact on the business is far more important and the effect is far more quickly realized and felt. The truth is that most business owners and managers do not have the time available to put into Social Media Marketing.

Before You Jump In; Ask Yourself If You Are Ready to Follow Through

Do not just stick your toe into the water to determine the temperature. This is a situation where you make the commitment, jump in, and stay there for the long-haul.

Next Time I Will Talk About Trying To Do Too Much

Social Media Consultants talk about using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Mashable, Websites, Blogs, Digg, Del-i-cious, YouTube, and others. The truth is that it takes an entire department or staff to monitor all of those sites and a tremendous commitment. Trying to do too much; too fast will leave you frustrated and unsatisfied. Do not do it!

Social Media – Can We Learn from Restaurants


We Can Learn from Restaurants

I believe there are social media lessons to be learned from restaurants. The other day, after finishing a meal at the Olive Garden, I started thinking about what does my business and the businesses of my customers have in common with a restaurant. What can we learn?

I started thinking about the entire sequence of a meal and how that affects the customer.

The first thing that the restaurant owners decide is what type of restaurant do they want. Will they be fast food or full service? Will they be inexpensive, moderate priced, or expensive? What type of food will they offer: a wide variety of foods, a particular specialty, or a specific ethnicity.

Where will they locate the restaurant? Who will be their target market or customer?

Once you move beyond fast food, most restaurants understand that they need to get the food moving to the patron. There is nothing worse, than a table full of people just sitting and waiting. Restaurant owners have learned that you need to get the customer or patron involved immediately.

In the past they would immediately serve you water, but today they start by taking your drink order. Why? Because it is quick and easy. People decide quickly on what they will have to drink. The next question is whether you want an appetizer; again these are food choices that are quick to assemble and get to the table. After the appetizers are ordered and before they are served your main course order is taken. This takes longer to prepare, but you have your drinks and your appetizers to keep you occupied.

So What Does This Have To Do With Social Media?

How are you doing at deciding the questions to be asked for your business? What are the parameters for your choices and decisions? Why are you doing what you are doing? What are your goals and objectives?

10 -15 years ago businesses began creating web sites. The question I ask is why? The answer for many was that they were told if they did not have a web site; then they were not serious about their business. A few years later the question was whether they were using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and keywords; because, if they were not, then they were not serious about their business. Today the question is whether the business is using Social Media; because if they are not then they are not serious about their business.

The problem I see with all of these options is that the reasons were often incorrect. Instead of doing the methodical process that a restaurant or any business, for that matter, follows; businesses rushed into web sites, SEO, and now they are rushing into Social Media.

Choosing to Participate in Social Media

A business’s participation in Social Media should be thought out.

  • What is the goal?
  • What is the expectation?
  • What is the expected benefit?
  • What is expected of the visitor?
  • Who is the expected visitor?
  • How do you want the visitor to respond?
  • Are you going to capture visitor information?
  • What information do you want to capture?
  • How are you going to capture the information?
  • What do you have to offer in exchange for this information?

If you are not asking and answering these questions; it will be like driving without a destination. You will not:

  1. Know where you are going.
  2. You will not know whether you are heading in the correct direction.
  3. You will not know when you get there or if you get there.
  4. You will never be able to correct your course.

Social Media is not something you put on auto-pilot and then leave it alone. The great thing is that it is easy to change course, but only if you know the course you are taking.