The world today has every business talking about Social Media, Online Reputation, Content Management and other terms which may sound Greek to the average person. Terms that have turned that geek from your high school into today’s millionaire. Automotive Dealerships, Churches, Attorneys, Real Estate Agents, and almost every type of business have added so-called digital media experts to their labor pool. Sometimes starting salaries in upwards of $60,000 to $90,000 have been awarded to twenty-year-old-something wonder kids. Unfortunately, the results have not always been favorable and many of these companies are no better off than when they first started entering the digital highway.
First things first! Every business should have a plan. This is where most companies fail when trying to play in the digital playground. It starts and ends with leadership. Many company leaders are very good at what they do, but they do not know how to promote their business digitally. It’s not because the leader isn’t smart enough. It’s because they are afraid to learn digital. These are the leaders that say, “I don’t use Facebook, or know what a Tweet is.” That doesn’t mean their potential customers are not congregating here, and it certainly doesn’t mean to act like an ostrich burying your head in hopes that the situation will change. Embrace technology, and have your management team embrace it too. You don’t have to be an expert, but you do have to use common sense. Now, I know that isn’t you so keep reading along.
In days passed, leaders understood demographics of who listened to what on the radio (before Satellite), what shows were popular on cable television (before TIVO & DVR), how many newspapers were in circulation (when newspapers still existed), and what highways had the most traffic (Flying cars are on the way, we hope). The internet isn’t any different. These same potential customers are now spending thousands of hours in front of their computer getting entertainment, news, and information. They utilize handheld devices (smartphones, tablets, handheld gaming systems, phasers) easily identifying the trends of the day. The only difference in 2014 versus 1990 or even the year 2000 is the shift of where potential customers are lurking. No longer are the days where every progressive city has a mall to attract consumers to shop. It doesn’t make sense to build these massive structures for shopping just like it doesn’t make sense to throw your money in the wind (toilet) when it comes to advertising and marketing.
If you are still with me, you have completed the first stage by admitting that you have a problem. This is the biggest hurdle. So where do you go from here? It’s easier than you may think.
Now, I am assuming you have a website that tells your story. If not, stop reading now and start focusing on your website today. Before you focus on your website, make sure you fire anyone and everyone in your company that has anything to do with your marketing team and the decision not to have an optimal website.
However, if I have not lost you yet then you are probably a company that has Facebook, Twitter, and perhaps even a YouTube account. You may even have a verified Google Plus and Yahoo page accompanying your digital network or you may even dabble in Pinterest. This is a great starting point and now you need a plan to make them start working for you. You can also look in the mirror and be happy that you can briefly understand that your kids are not reverting back to their infant years when they are talking about where they were hanging with their friends (Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, and Instagram). (You don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept it.)
Key point number one is to understand that the consumer does not want to know you are advertising to them. Social Media hot spots are where Person A gives a Shout Out to Person B, or Person C shares a moment on Thursday that happened 10 to 15 years ago. That doesn’t mean you can’t advertise to potential customers. You just have to understand there is a way to talk with the consumer without invading their space.
Let me back up my point here. Facebook has 1.28 Billion active users. YouTube has a large share of 1 Billion. Google has 540 million while Twitter grows each day, currently with 255 million users. Instagram boasts 200 million while LinkedIn has 187 million. Pinterest is sitting at 70 million and Vine has 40 million. What highway, radio station, television show, or newspaper has that kind of reach? If your business is not social, and you are not planning to embrace the future, fire yourself!
Are you still with me? I’m glad because although it makes for an interesting dinner conversation about how you fired yourself, it isn’t pleasant or good for your ego.
Be careful here. Every 20-something with a computer who wears tight jeans, a t-shirt with a clever saying, and tennis shoes claims to be a social media expert. Colleges even offer this as a course, and some of you reading this blog have paid for it.
Social Media was meant for two or more people to hangout (virtually I might add) or communicate in a (virtual) common place of interest. Now something that you might like to know when it comes to your business.
Social Media has become a place for Person A to brag with Person B through Z and all of B through Z’s friends and family about Little A’s Certificate of Appreciation for enrolling in the running club. Then you have someone else chime in saying how happy they are for Person A and subtly tell the group how excited they are for their little one who earned the Perfect Attendance Award. (I know this award has been around forever, but really? We still give an award for doing what you are supposed to do?)
Social Media is not about posting your product or service three times a day on Facebook. It isn’t about placing your commercial on YouTube. It’s not about using 140 characters to remind us to try your widget or read your blog about free-range chickens (or whatever you’re into). Too many so called social media companies love telling you they manage all of their channels. Then they are excited to show you how many times they have posted to your network. Next time asked them point blank if they have ever posted that same content to another one of their clients. That is not social media.
Now to training 101. What if you were able to get Person A to share with Person B through Z and all of their friends and family about your product or services you provide? What if conversations continued about your great product and services on all of the social media channels? In addition, what if every time you earned a new customer they became another virtual mouthpiece for your company’s product or service. Not because you asked them or tricked them into singing your praises, but because they wanted to sing your praises. We are living in times where ordinary people want to promote the businesses and products they enjoy, whether it be a tweet about how excited they are for the latest summer blockbusters, sharing a link on Reddit of a website with really funny T-Shirts, or making a status update about a tasty new flavor of Gatorade, if you use social media to get people excited about your business – they WILL!!!
This is working Social Media. Now, go be Social!
DeliveryMaxx is a full digital service provider for Social Media Marketing, Online Reputation Management, Search Engine Optimization, and complete Content Management program. Clients include automotive dealerships, attorneys, church organizations, non-profits, hotels & hospitality and many more. For more information visit http://www.deliverymaxx.com or contact 888.936.6299.