The First Lesson in Social Media Marketing

To have the mindset that the understanding and practice of core fundamentials will drive your business more than any system, gadget or gimmick -- your customers trust your sound business judgement and spread the word

Recap Week of December 14th, 2009

Get Your Business on the Social Highway
Engage past, present, and future customers before they walk thru your doors or even arrive in town. Temecula, the town I live in, is a favorite tourist destination for Southern Californians. If your business serves out-of-towners....consider this statement from Julia Rosien who tells us to "Forget pocket guides that aren't so pocket-sized - not to mention out of date." For 2010, expect to see high tech travel guides and info kits that fit in our cell phone, packed with up-to-the minute recommendations.
Have apps, will travel – better! Imagine traveling to a city you've never been before. You want to jump into the local vibe and soak up the flavor. Point your cell phone camera and watch the street before you become layered with information. Hotel and restaurant reviews, directions to tourist attractions, historical information - even the daily special at that cute jewelry store on the corner.

Pulling information from a plethora of social networks, Augmented Reality (AR) pinpoints your location using your phone's internal GPS and matches it up with the compass and viewfinder. What you receive is a clickable roadmap.
Continue the Conversation
Considering limited resources, personnel and budgets... small businesses can still build more cost-effective sales stream by leveraging their on-line conversations with past, present, future customers. Hedi Cohen provides us a fantastically simple checklist that you will find very helpful in starting your social media marketing experience.
Nine questions to ask when developing a Social Media Strategy
1. Does your business tap into people's passions and/or hobbies?
2. Can your business show off its work?
3. Can you give prospects information they find useful?
4. Can you extend your expertise to a broader audience?
5. Does your business provide reasons for people to gather?
6. Can your business disseminate fun or related information via social media?
7. Are there targeted or niche communities where your prospects and customers naturally congregate?
8. Do major blogs cover your business's area of expertise?
9. Does your offering lend itself to creating a small online community and/or bulletin board?
Seven Tips to Extend Social Media Marketing Efforts
1. Listen before you participate
2. Monitor what's being said about your business
3. Integrate social media efforts offline
4. Promote social media efforts online and offline
5. Socialize social media marketing
6. Create a content strategy
7. Make content search-friendly
Measuring Results
1. Revenues
2. Expenses
3. Prospects and customers
4. Feedback
Small Business Mindset and Strategy
"The Business of Being David – How to use social media to make your small business big” by Nick Bowditch will be released in March 2010 but I will tell you the 5 rules of social media marketing now! Listen – Integrate – Engage – Promote - Measure. Here are the first 2 chapters as a preview -- the 5 rules begin on page 5.
What is the one word that can ignite Ur Community?...Passion So you say Ur passionate... then stop talking about your products, features, benefits, cost, bla-bla-bla-bla . Merritt Colaizzi has an article providing 11 lessons on how U can ignite Ur community. Here is my twist on her article:
1. Start a Passion Conversation
Be Bold - Ask your customers what they think
2. Inspirational Leadership
Passion creates Influence (Social Equity)
3. Empower Ur Community with knowledge
Teaching Sells
4. Ur Online Passion will drive Offline conversations
90% of Word of Mouth (WOM) happens offline
5. Pick a cause
Everyone can relate to rallying behind a cause
6. MORE in the article

Oh Yes, Ghost Towns exist online too, so Think 2x Build it 1x
I have made plenty of mistakes, and as a result I am adamant about seeking the expertise, knowledge, mentorship, or coaching necessary to build and maintain a thriving business. Zephrin Lasker has a wonderful article about learning from the successful pioneers of social media. Remember, "These are still early days for social marketing. That said, there are certain best practices through which marketers can avoid building the next generation of ghost towns: "
Have the right users
Just like you can't make good pizza without good dough, you can't build a good social networking group or site without the right members
Engage consumers at multiple touchpoints
Communicate with your member base through multiple touchpoints -- even beyond your social networking site or group
answer honestly. Building a relationship in the social networking space is not very different from a relationship in the real world. You have to be honest and transparent for the relationship to be meaningful
Don't forget most of our lives R spent offline. I picked this article By Willa Plank because of the quote below. From my experience engaging in online dialog with business owners from my own town (Temecula, CA) creates a stronger sense of camaraderie, and a general understanding of common ground at a real grass root conversational level. Something that does not happen when I just 'pop' into a local establishment and try to pick up the conversation from the 'last time' we talked. This is why Social Media is so powerful...yea!

Here is a great article by Jennifer Laycock who is sharing some common viewpoints of the small business owner..."I'm finding that many of these companies have absolutely no idea WHY they need a social media strategy. They just feel the pressure to get involved and hope something will come from it. What it all boils down to is this: your customers are online and they are using social media to communicate. If you aren't, your business is missing opportunities. No one says you have to master every use of social media all at once, but you're doing yourself (and your bottom line) a disservice if you don't at least give some thought toward creeping into the social media space next year to do a little listening." Here is what Social Media Marketing can do for U and your business---Lots of examples
• Reason #1: Social Media Gives U Unprecedented Ability to Listen to Your Customers
• Reason #2: Social Media Gives U the Chance to Build or Introduce a Brand
• Reason #3: Social Media Gives U a Unique Way to Gather Feedback
• Reason #4: Social Media Gives U the Chance to Demonstrate Personality
Don't forget social media is a tool to strengthen offline relationships. Many small businesses already have personal ties to customers in their communities, and these tools are designed to enhance those relationships, not replace them. For instance, you can use social-media tools such as YouTube to give customers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your company, or display more of your personality than you can through an ad. "It also allows you to show your culture," Endline says. "They're not just there to [see] a static promotion from you. They want value." And remember, a social network is "really a big room of people," author Schaffer says. Use it to "meet" potential clients or business partners, but make sure you follow up with an in-person meeting or phone conversation.

Do you have a Social Marketing ROAD Map? “Lack of an effective social marketing strategy” is one of the most significant challenges facing marketers. Without a strategy, organizations typically approach social media by putting the cart before the horse – starting a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account, or other social platform – rather than first mapping a course to achievable objectives. To guide marketers through overcoming this challenge, we created the Social Marketing ROAD Map, a practical method for mapping an effective social marketing strategy. That's a quote from the 'Marketing Sherpa' executive summary which also graphs the least (email content) to most (blogger relations) effective social marketing tactics.
Research - Monitor target audience dialogue about brands and competition
Objectives - Define objectives aligned with target audiences and social metrics
Actions – creating a social marketing strategy with a definitive plan of action
Devices – deploying social platforms based on audience, objectives and strategy

Real Time, Social Media and 'U'. A convergence of these 3 is in the forecast and they are headed directly for us...What are U going to do? Here is a great, short article by Mary Ellen Slayter who has an inside view on the topic of Branding.
Social brands The most successful brands in 2010 are going to be the ones that evolve into social brands. This means that brands that have social voices — real people participating and talking on their behalf to customers in an engaging, conversational manner. The company must be willing to let its employees and its brand advocates become the face of the brand. Consumers demand that, and brands like Best Buy that are evolving into social brands (think Twelp Force) will be the ones that win. Every brand is going to need to become a social brand at some point.
Real-time brands Companies that become dynamic and responsive in real time to their customers and their needs will be the ones that succeed. This doesn’t just mean real time customer service but real time market research, real time product development, and real time customization and personalization of products and campaigns alike. This also means that the products will need to have a digital pulse in them.
Identifying, nurturing and managing relationships Customers increasingly are also influencers (expert, positional or referent), and companies will need to know who those people are and how much influence they actually have. A lot more effort is going to go into this. Along those lines, understanding how customers come together as communities and make collective decisions will be important, too.

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