Social media and do-it-yourself online marketing stuff…
Your Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter accounts can help if they’re used strategically. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. In my opinion, you use social media to build relationships… not to push your wares on people (it’s ok very very very occasionally - like if you’re rolling out a new product or discounting some old inventory).
When you mostly use social media to build relationships, the business will eventually come – if it’s meant to be. If you’re providing value to your fans, connections, and followers… then you’ll begin to form the relationships that can grow into paying customers. Or cause your current customers to like you more and shop with you more often.
Do you have to be on EVERY social media platform? Oh, my gosh, NO. There are too many. Just do one or two really well before you get too crazy with it. Do you have to have a Twitter account? No. Do you need one? Only if you think a lot of “your people” are there. For most local brick-n-mortar businesses right now, Twitter doesn’t hold a lot of value. Personally… I think it’s kind of dumb. But… that’s just me. I’m sure Justin Bieber thinks it’s awesome.
So, how should you use social media? Do you think your fans want you to sell them constantly? Nobody wants that. Share some great tips. Be a friend. Give advice. Share a funny work experience. Anything that can help you connect deeper with your social media network of real people. Yes… they’re people. Have you shared anything lately that might strengthen your relationship with them?
Social media word-of-mouth spreads a lot faster for some businesses than it does for others. If you’re a “hobby” type of store, like sewing, model airplanes, RC cars, hunting, fishing, etc., there’s a group of fanatics that can be won over with a better experience. You can create “how to” videos, take pictures, write a blog… and share them with your fans. They’ll love you for it.
Speaking of sewing… I have a beloved radio customer who does their social media and marketing “extras” very well. The “extras” they do would be their weekly newsletter, tons of videos, a blog, and much more. In fact, check out Sara’s sewing blog here >> Sara’s blog. You might learn something from them. I do. And everything they do supercharges their SEO efforts.
How about restaurants? Yowzer. It’s EASY if you’re a restaurant to be talked about online because we all love a great place to eat. And have you seen all of the photos people are sharing of their plates? You might want to add a little visual flare once in a while since I see so many plates of food being shared on Facebook. But BEWARE! Because people love to share their BAD food experience even more than their good experience.
Have you noticed I haven’t mentioned Pinterest? It’s not because I don’t like it. It’s because I don’t know much about it.
Don’t burn the messenger at the stake for that photo. I thought it was kind of funny. Ha ha. Can a business snag a new customer using Pinterest? Not sure. I can pin / share pictures there? It’s a “social bulletin board for sharing artistic, crafty, delicious ideas” … or something? Anyway, maybe someone can enlighten me on Pinterest. : )
But what if…
What if you’re an electrician, plumber, glass company, mattress store, grocery store, or any type of “necessity” business? If that’s the case, you have a tougher road ahead. Nobody gets excited to talk about you online. You wish they did, but they don’t.
The only way for these types of businesses to get any traction with social media is to think WAY outside the box. Share some recipes, feel-good stories, time and money-saving tips, etc. But I’d make sure most of your social media posts have nothing to do with your business. And that’s ok. A plumber will get noticed a heck of a lot more if they share a story about a boy getting saved after falling in a well than a Facebook post about how they’re “the best in town”.
Actually, if you’re a plumber… one thing I’d be interested in personally would be EASY do-it-yourself tips. “Tip #1: Stay alive! Turn off the power! Water and electricity do not mix!…”
Tip #2: Don’t poor that hot grease down the drain! And hot water won’t help!…”
You get the idea, right? But I’m also going to like your company a lot more if you seem normal and human. If you make me laugh or smile with something you share, or you make me think you’re not just out to sell me something, I’m going to trust you more. And like you more.
When done right, Social Media’s SUPERPOWER is enhancing the relationship you have with your current customers.
Facebook, You Tube, other social media, newsletters, blogs and more… can be very helpful. Just don’t believe for a moment that social media is the magic bullet… or that there’s a one-size-fits all formula to follow. You have to do the work. You have to think a little. You have to be consistent with it. You have to step outside your business and ask yourself what your customers and potential fans would really, TRULY appreciate and be interested in.
Is social media a replacement for advertising? Not in a long shot. I’ve had clients that have tried. They cut their ad budget in half… and felt that social media was going to fill that gap. It didn’t. Within months, they started feeling it in their cash register.
Of course not every situation is the same, but social media, for the most part, is an additional way to improve your relationship with your CURRENT customers.
But you’ll find out for yourself how it impacts your own biz.
Have a great day!