Is it true? Is ALL business really social?
What’s so social about calling an 800 number at midnight to order the latest version of fake jewelry while watching an infomercial? Where is the social component there?
Let’s start by asking how that infomercial got on the air in the first place? Was the deal brokered on a golf course or some swanky uptown bistro? Most “deals” are not brokered in office. They happen in social environments.
You could ask the same question about how the new fake jewelry even came to production. Was the process void of social influence?
Finally, what about our late night buyer? Why are they buying the fake jewelry to start with? How do they plan to show it off? What outfit will they wear it with? Who will be impressed by how un-fake it looks?
ALL business is social. Believe me now?
The question doesn’t seem to be dying: Is social media really a beneficial mechanism for marketing?
Some laugh at the question as if it’s not even worth asking. Some have serious doubts about whether this social media thing is really going to stick. (yes, they still doubt)
If there is one thing we do know about social media it’s this:
Social media is not some new way of doing business. It’s a new machine that can help us do business the old fashioned way. The way that works.
The old fashioned way: Social!!!
ALL business is social. Somewhere at the top of the chain, there’s a person who makes a decision.
The single most important criteria to determine who that person will do business with – is a sense of trust for the other party. Trust, perceived or real, is a social component.
Whether you choose to leverage social media or not, to be successful you must do business the old fashioned way… socially.
I don’t know many folks who fully embrace the “Social Media is a fad” idea any longer but there are still those who choose to ignore it because they don’t understand it, don’t have time for it or simply just don’t get it.
This video should help to open the eyes of those who are still procrastinating. I have a few comments following the video if you’re interested:
I post this today from Socialnomics.com as a warning to those procrastinators out there. It’s not that Social Media is a great way to market yourself or your business. It’s not that there’s a lot of people using social media every day. The issue for those who choose to stay afraid of it or not have time for it is that social media is already becoming the dominant platform for all online commerce. What’s even more important is that it’s becoming a dominant platform for ALL commerce period.
There is no choice any longer for businesses to engage through social media. Businesses that don’t will risk the loss of current customers to those who are willing to engage and will be out hustled for any new business in the future. It’s easy to out hustle when you attend a giant party will your target marketing every single day of the week.
Just in case you missed Facebook Marketing Tip #1… click here
Have a Purpose
There is a definite issue that comes with social media marketing of any kind: Facebook in particular carries a potential pitfall of being a serious distraction to a business owner or marketer.
The only real way to avoid this pitfall is to set a few rules of engagement and most of all, have a clear purpose.
Here are some goals that should help you focus your efforts:
Goal #1: Expand your reach
Marketing with Facebook should almost always involve the goal of reaching key people that you don’t already have good connection with. This is also one of the most powerful elements of marketing with social media in general.
If you are a loan officer, you may target real estate agents. If you are an advertising sales professional, you may want to target the heads of marketing for medium to large size companies with proven ad budgets.
Expanding your reach when it comes to Facebook is about finding the key people and requesting that they be your friend. My personal experience is that about 60-75% of all friend requests that I make are accepted, so don’t worry about whether they will or they won’t accept you. This is still business – they know it and you know it.
One last comment about “reach” – Having a large group of friends on Facebook is impressive to your visitor. It’s a form of “social proof” that is invaluable to the conversion of a prospect into a client or customer. If so many people are your friends, you must be worth knowing… get it?
At this point I need to make a distinction between using Facebook Fan Pages as compared to using your Facebook Profile for marketing purposes. The answer is much about preference but it likely involves the type of business that you have. I find that local service based businesses such as mortgage, real estate and insurance professionals get good traction by using profiles but higher advertising based businesses get good traction with fan pages. Here’s the short answer to the question: Use BOTH – Facebook is emerging as the next Google and too many folks jumped on Google too late. Don’t make that mistake. Market with both profile and fan pages; there are good reasons to do both.
For the purpose of this post, I’m discussing Facebook Profile Marketing as a solid social media strategy.
When requesting friendship of key prospects in your target marketing, keep in mind that Facebook is social. Stay away from pitch based interaction completely and build that relationship through engagement.
Goal #2: Provide value
Providing value is key to winning the hearts and minds of your target market. Be free with information that will help your friends on Facebook to better their success in life or business.
The internet is filled with good (not all) content that you can quickly mine out and distribute to your friends or fans on Facebook. Make sure it’s quality and it applies. There’s no reason to just throw information out. Quality is better than quantity in this case. The better the value of the content, the more likely it is to actually engage with your connections. Mediocre content allows your connections to eventually assume that what you post is not worth their time. Don’t let that happen or you’ve blown a good opportunity.
Goal #3: Be interactive
You should spend a few minutes each day joining conversations, liking and commenting on other people updates.
The value here is multifold and worthy of an entire blog post but the short of it is: viral exposure to other networks, visual exposure to the one you are commenting on relational exposure by showing interest as a human being.
Goal #4: Bring the conversation offline
Again, this post is focused on local (sales professional based) business marketing. This type of business is mostly handled on a face to face, handshake basis. To bring the conversation to the next level, hold an event and invite your fans or friends to attend. The event should now start to move the conversation toward business. The event should be a big value gift to your target market.
This is not a new strategy in marketing. With that said, event based marketing is still one of the single most powerful marketing strategies around and too many sales professionals or business owners take a pass on it’s power. Converting even 5-10 new Facebook friends to a seminar, webinar, round table or worthy charity event is like an engagement ring in a hopeful relationship. It’s not a closed deal but you can almost put a date on the sale.
The reality of our times is that marketing with Facebook is no longer an optional endeavor. These goals will help you to be focused and productive in your efforts.
I’m very interested in your comments and I’d love to connect via Facebook and Twitter.
Photo credit given to nikkipilkington.com
It seems like using video for SEO and traffic is all the rage today. Search the terms “video” and “SEO” and be prepared for special reports, whitepapers, blog posts and tech chatter falling like a heavy rain from thedigital sky.
Here are three ways to use video that do not necessarily involve SEO but can add massive benefit to your business by selling on your behalf, increasing your fan base and nabbing sales that you thought you had lost.
Method #1. Product Demos – ThinkShamWow
Despite the ridicule of famed (and defamed) pitchman VinceShlomi, ShamWow has sold about $1 Billion (with a “B”) in towels to date; all on the back of a single commercial produced in a trade show demonstration style.
If you ask most folks they will tell you that Vince made ShamWow work but my contention is that the demonstration is far more powerful than Vince’s pitch. Imagine converting the ShamWow video into an audio only presentation. Listen to it in your mind and tell me if it has near the power of the actual commercial.
The real power behind the ShamWow (1 Billion with a “B”) success story is the demonstration of the product itself, captured on video for millions of people to see – over and over again.
Product (or even service) demos are extremely powerful marketing and sales tools and video is a perfect distribution platform to get them to a focused market quickly.
It’s likely that your business could benefit in big ways from this method of using online video.
Method #2. Post Sale Customer Service (sales)
One missing link in the marketing of many products is the ability for companies to follow up and make sure that the customer is enjoying their product. This too, is marketing. Here’s an example of how online video can (and should) be used to create raving fans:
Introducing:The Zizzbee (Fictional Product)
The Zizzbee Frisbee -A new Frisbee disc with special adjustable vents that make it fly up to 200 yards in one correct toss. With the slight change in one of the adjustable vent louvers it can fly in boomerang fashion or even fly straight up in the air in a swooping fashion with proper technique.
You can learn special tricks, play special sporting games or even join a Zizzbee activity club in your area. Let’s examine the stages that a Zizzbee buyer may go through after purchase.
This is a reasonable stage scenario for a fictitious product.The Zizzbee Corporation could include an instructional DVD with the product which would increase the cost of production and packaging and likely raise the price of the Zizzbee unit or reduce the overall margin per unit or…
The Zizzbee Corporation could include a flyer inside the package with an online registration that would give their new Zizzbee buyer exclusive access to a video library or a series of videos delivered by email that would address their new Zizzbee lover’s needs at each of the stages that I’ve outlined above.
Now get this…Zizzbee Corporation creatively uses the videos to also promote other Zizzbee products that they KNOW their Zizzbee buyer will be interested in. Zizzbee Flyer Wrist Guards, Zizzbee T-shirts and hats or even one month of free access to the Zizzbee Super Stars Club where they can learn Zizzbee techniques that only the best Zizzbee players in the world know and teach. Of course the customer will be billed $9.97 per month for every month they choose to remain in the Zizzbee Super Stars Club.
*End of Fictional ProductDesciption*
Whether you’re selling legal services, insurance, auto repair or Frisbee discs, your business has a post sales customer usage cycle; every business does. If you can anticipate the stages of that cycle, you can use video to help your customers enjoy your product and enjoy buying more stuff from you in the process.
Method #3. Overcome objections in segments
In today’s world of limited face to face sales, the salesperson does not always have the opportunity to handle all objections to the purchase of a product or service.
Using web video and email together can create sales for customers who initially would not take the time to listen. Short videos that overcome objections can be sent to the prospect over a designated period to lower the defenses for a follow up phone call from the sales department.
The best part of this practice is that you create the videos one time and they work behind the scenes while you’re closing the easier sale. Using video in this manner also forces a follow up system that is automated through email or other means, requiring very little ongoing effort or cost to the company. Hey… if you land 1 out of 20, you still got a sale that you would never have gotten without it.
Use one, or all of these web based video methods, and you’ll be glad you did. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post.
Many small business owners and sales professionals are struggling to integrate social media into their marketing plan.
I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s important but where do you even start? Here’s a great nugget…
Start with a good profile page
Make sure you have your entire profile completed so that others canget a feel for who you areandnot just what you do.Upload some photos of you and your family, co-workers, events you’ve participated in and any charity groups you are involved with. Tell them what kind of music you like, books you appreciate and quotes that mean something to you.
I want to use Facebook for marketing, why should I do all this personal stuff?
Of course you should list links to your business websites and complete theemploymentsection of your profile as well, butfirst and foremost, Facebook is…Social.
Absolutely no consumers are scouring Facebook to find a loan officer,
insurance agent, air duct cleaner, dentist orRealtor. Facebook is not a
search engine or yellow page platform.
Think of Facebook like a big neighborhood get together. Of course you can and will get business by meeting people at a neighborhood party but that’s not why people usually go.
They want to meet and connect with interesting people and enjoy themselves. Trying to be all business and no social on Facebook is like showing up at a neighbor’sback yard clam bakein a 3 piece suit, wingtips and a black briefcase. You’ll stand out, but NOT in a good way.
Make sure that other Facebook users can get a strong sense of who you areas well aswhat you do.
Marketing yourself on Facebook starts with a good profile set up. If you are concerned about privacy, Facebook provides some settings thatletyou to identify certain groups of friends to seeyourmore personalcontent. Make sure you don’t just block your entire personal life fromthepeople you are trying to get businessfrom;it’s a big mistake that many business mindedFacebookusers make.
When it comes to business, there are basically three types of web sites to choose from. Each one is valuable in its own way and each one is worthless if not properly put to work. Let’s see which one you need…
A Sales Site
The purpose of a sales site is to sell. Not sell something later, not build a list, not show how great your company is. It’s designed to sell a product or products, on the spot, in the form of an actual transaction.
Sales sites employ a shopping cart at some point in the process. They ask the visitor to buy. Sales sites can be single page sales letters that cleverly pitch an individual product or they can be giant catalogs and categories of products. Amazon.com is a sales site.
The Lead Site
The purpose of the lead site is to simply generate leads. This type of site does not ask the visitor to buy anything; rather it usually offers something to the visitor in exchange for their personal information such as name, email address and maybe even a phone number.
The idea is that the free information offers value to the visitor who is usually seeking such information to solve a problem or advance an agenda.The lead site can be a site that is loaded with multiple pages or posts that are full of targeted information to the visitor. Another option is a simple landing page, also known as a squeeze page that gives a basic and enticing pitch to the visitor to opt in and receive some special information and offers no other content to compete.The basic concept of a squeeze page is to force the visitor to do one of two things: Give up their information to get a solution their problem or get off the page all together and move on.
The Credibility Site
The purpose of a credibility site is to demonstrate how credible your company is to the visitor – imagine that. It should not attempt to sell something, it typically is not very good at gathering leads. The credibility site is to bolster the quality of your companies image and stature in the mind of your visitor.
Many business owners struggle with which site they should choose so they attempt to incorporate all three purposes into one site. There are all sorts of problems that this creates but the most important problem is that it just doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work… don’t try it.
The simplest way to decide on which type of site you need first is to ask yourself: “What is the single goal of this site?” Choose either to sell, to gather leads, or to lend credibility.
Then call your designer and hold his or her feet to the fire to produce the best site to match your goal.
As a short caveat, there is one other type of site your company should consider but it’s not truly a site so I’ve not included it in the short 3 site list. Social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. Most companies should make use of such web properties but for very different goals than the 3 listed above. There are also several hybrid models that attempt to meld two of the three site types into one but this author is unimpressed with the effectiveness of such dribble.
Most companies both offline and online will do well to have at least one of all three types of sites and spend the rest of their money driving targeted traffic to those sites.
Just remember, traffic is no different than a site itself. All traffic has purpose so make sure you drive the buyers to a sales site, the information seekers to your lead site, and your “almost closed but need a little nudge” people to your credibility site.
As always, I’d love your feedback. Please visit my blog, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter to let me know!
The Facebook fan page is an ever evolving weapon in the marketing arsenal of the small business. True to form, the great wizards behind the curtain have made what seems like a subtle change to the function of the fan page.
No more fans!
Well, the move may be subtle but I predict the results will not be. Let’s examine the difference between “a Fan” and “a Like.”
There is no question that a fan on Facebook was not the same as the rabid fan of a sports team or top selling recording artist – but the fan on Facebook was still willing to be called a fan.
What would you rather have, 10 people willing to be your fan
or 100 people willing to say that they like you? I know… I can’t quite decide either.
Although moving to a “like” definitely lowers the barrier of entry for a contact to admit some form of relationship, it’s much less powerful than the willingness to be called a fan.
On the other hand, if the purpose of the fan page is to attract followers and expose your business to the contacts of your followers then the “like” feature will be an easier point of entry and will allow your page to go more viral inside the Facebook community.
The possible absence of the passionate fan may result in an overall lack of passion for your company as well but the balance of this decision by the Facebook gods will soon reveal itself as a yellow brick road for business exposure or play the role of the Wicked Witch.
These days, many folks are carefully trying their hand at web 2.0 marketing strategies such as social – from Facebook and Twitter, all the way to the wonderful world of blogging.
This new world of marketing also brings a new world of terms and concepts that are not easily grasped by the average business owner or salesperson. Not because they are complicated, rather because they are new
One big term and concept that I get asked about is RSS.
=> What’s the bid deal with RSS anyway?
=> Well, it’s not a big deal. It’s HUGE!
RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication but don’t let the name fool ya, it’s not all that simple, even to most smart folks. Here’s the quick glimpse into the mighty power of RSS.
The blog has truly revolutionized the web. One of the main reasons is that blogs are updated so often with new content. The web loves new content so that’s part of what makes them so popular with surfers and search engines alike. Fresh content on the web is like fresh water to a thirsty farmer.
Because blogs are updated so often, it became necessary for viewers to visit these sites more often so as not to miss the great fresh content.
=> Enter RSS…
RSS is a tool that allows for visitors who enjoy your site to essentially bookmark your site.. only better. Instead of having to visit your site on a regular basis, RSS will send any updated content right to your subscribers – the moment it is posted.
The RSS feed as it’s called, sends the information to special RSS Reader that can neatly organize and display all of the subscribers chosen feeds (yours & others). The most popular of these (and my RSS Reader of choice) is Google Reader. It’s free and like everything Google, it integrates with other Google tools as well.
The big deal…
The golden ticket for all small businesses and sales pros is to gain the trust of our target market. This is why we blog, it builds massive trust fast. RSS allows for your content to be followed and read quickly, keeping you in front of your audience every time you post with no extra effort on their part. As long as you are delivering valuable content, this will translate to sales for your business.
Another big benefit…
As a blog owner you are constantly looking for fresh content that will dazzle your target market. Personally using RSS to bring the best content to you will offer a constant flow of great ideas. Now.. use these ideas to springboard fresh and useful content that will make your subscribers and viewers love you like a high school sweetheart.
RSS is a critical blogging tool, both for syndicating your voice to the world and aggregating ideas that inspire you and bring value to those you want to please the most.
The best place to start using RSS is to subscribe to this blog by clicking the RSS or Follow Me links.
“Get your business online.” “Expose your business to world.” These were the common utterings of web designers everywhere.
Times have changed. It’s no longer good enough to simply have a web site. In fact – let’s face it, most web sites are boring and uninformative. They also speak a language that is rarely understood by the average visitor.
==> Enter… the BLOG!
There are vast reasons why blogs have taken their seat as the superior occupier of webdom. I will not delve into these reasons in this post… this is all about The Secrets of Great Blogging. So here are the secrets:
Secret #1 – Choose the right platform
There are several viable platforms to consider when blogging; Blogger, Posterous, Squidoo, Tumblr, and many more.
I’m partial to WordPress because it’s the choice of the most prolific bloggers out there and its very user friendly. WordPress also allows you to host the blog yourself vs. hosting in a mass multi-user environment. Finally, I like WordPress because it’s open source which allows for other creative folk to create all sorts of useful plugins, widgets and themes that can really make your blog sing.
Secret #2 – Register a customer domain
A huge mistake of many “bloggers” is that they simply use the given account address from the blogging service they choose to host their blog. They end up with something like: www.edsbigblog.blogger.com. Not something you’ll likely remember much less want to publish on your business card.
Better to simply have: www.EdsBigBlog.com which is fancy and memorable. This is an absolute must if you’re going to have a blog.
Secret #3 – Bring big value
One of the powers of blogging is the ability to give real valuable content to your core audience in a timely manner. No need to ask your webmaster to update your site with a new page or log in to your site account and go through 20 steps to add content. With WordPress, you can simply craft and email and send it to your post address and you’re done. Furthermore, if you have your post permalinks set properly, you’ll get some great SEO out of the deal too.
What questions does your target audience have? What problems are they facing that you can help them with? What tips or tricks can you deliver that will add value to their lives or their business?
Note: Bringing big value is not about pitching your product or services. You’ll do better to win their hearts first and soon you will win their loyalty and eventually, their pocketbooks.
Secret #4 – Be consistent
The cardinal sin of blogging is to be random in your posting. Blogging does little good for you or your target audience if you don’t post regularly. I recommend a minimum of once per week but more is even better.
If the idea of posting content a couple of times a week is daunting to you, I’ll create a post later this week on easy ways to create content for you blog.
Blogging is fast becoming vital to the success of most businesses and I’ve just given you the real secrets to doing it successfully. Happy blogging!