The internet has drastically altered the way in which information is shared, and has had a huge impact on business and marketing.
Over the past several years, there has been a huge shift toward inbound marketing techniques, while many outbound tactics (like advertising) have become antiquated and less effective.
More business are finding success sharing their own original content and building a following and relationships rather than advertising to pitch their product/service and/or brand. Here a few tips I have learned.
1) You can’t “BUY” attention.
Traditional marketing, like buying an ad, does not produce the results it once did. We are in a new age. A new way of communication. A new way of marketing.
With business in the online and offline world, it is about building relationships and building trust. People have a choice with whom they do business. You won’t get anyone buying “into” you, let alone buying from you, if you’re not creating a positive presence so that people want to get to know you.
This is something you have to work for. You can’t just buy an ad and have customers knocking down your door. Quite frankly, most people ignore ads. You also can’t just “hang out” online and think that your target market will head your way. This takes effort. This takes time and important groundwork to make sure you attract people…but not just any people, the “right” people – your target audience.
You also need the right systems and tools to build your list of contacts. Tools like a blog, landing pages, opt-in forms, domain names, email auto-responders to name just a few. (Hopefully you have the support, training and systems in place to do this instead of trying to figure it out all on your own.)
This is all about working to consistently to create value driven content to spark dialogue and generate interest.
And that is what will lead to the development of relationships with your future customers and/or business partners. Rarely do people join you or buy from you right away. It takes time to build that relationship. You need to build a following. You need to build your list of “interested” people. You need to build trust. You need to give. You need to communicate with your list on a regular basis and continue to build that list every day.
In today’s business world, you can’t BUY attention. You earn it.
2) Creating an Effective Online Profile.
Your goal is to build an online brand, so people recognize YOU!
In social media, always use YOUR REAL NAME as your username. (Also on your FB fan page if you have one.)
If at all possible, try to have the same username across all major social media sites.
Always fill out your BIO. Be interesting and share what others can expect to gain from being connected with you.
Use a good photo with good quality. Use a photo that shows who YOU are. Include links to your websites/blog etc. so people can learn more about you.
Do NOT create FAKE social media accounts. Some people believe having a “fake or second” account to use for marketing is a productive strategy. It’s not. For example, I see this happening in FB groups as a way to avoid “getting in trouble” with FB. Spamming in groups is not effective in the long term.
Remember…marketing is about offering value and branding yourself…The REAL YOU!
3) Using Social Media means….BEING SOCIAL.
Stop pitching and start giving.
Use the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of the time, be social, be giving, be you.
Share someone else’s tweet, link, comment or photo. Communicate with others authentically.
If you were attending a party, would you be pitching your business, product, service in 80% of the conversations? Of course not! The same applies in social media.
People don’t care about what you “have”…until they know how much you CARE!
4) Not all prospects are the same.
Are you marketing online to the masses? If so, you’re probably struggling. You need to differentiate your prospects.
The more narrowly you can define your target market, the better. This process is known as creating a niche and is key to success for even the biggest companies.
To identify your target market start with this question. With whom do you want to do business? Be as specific as you can.
You can’t be all things to all people and ‘smaller is bigger.’ Your niche is not the same as the field in which you work. For example, a retail clothing business is not a niche but a field. A more specific niche may be “maternity clothes for executive women.”
You also need to have tools and systems in place where you can target market to specific niches. Your marketing should cater to the costumers you’d choose if you could choose your customers.
5) Do you have a “Measuring Stick?”
When it comes to marketing….tracking and measuring results is key. How many prospects hit your website daily, weekly, monthly? How many of those contacts opt-in to your website? How may watch your video? How long are they watching before they click away? At what point do they click away?
If you’re marketing a “replicated” website, are the people who manage that site measuring the system? Are there consistent “tweaks” to the website to improve the marketing performance?
There is always room for improvement and at the end of the day, if there is no measuring, then how can you know where to improve?
6) Being Safe is Risky.
Being the “same” is a way to get by.
Being and doing different is a way to create interest, build a following and create momentum. Try strategizing and create a list of ways that you can be different.
Recommended reads: “The Purple Cow” by Seth Godin.
7) How can I get more traffic?
This is typically the #1 question that most people have with marketing.
The problem with that question is the “Get”. People never say, “How can I EARN more traffic?” or “How can I organically attract people who want to see what I have to offer?”.
As ‘Seth Godin’ says…”Getting traffic is a little like getting a date. You can probable manipulate the system for a little while, but self-reinvention is a markedly better long-term strategy.”
Focus on earning attention with authentic attraction.
8) Recommended Reading.
Here are just a few books I pulled from my library that I highly recommend for anyone in business.
-Socialnomics by Erik Qualman
-Start with Why by Simon Sinek
-Free Prize Inside AND All Marketers Tell Stories by Seth Godin
-Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk
9) It’s not enough to simply have accounts on social-media platforms.
You need to update them regularly, post new content and interact with individuals. For example, every day post a picture, inspirational post, random and strategic question, post great resources and talk back to people.
Keep in mind…once a day for each…is the bare minimum.
Also note that when using a “Fan Page” on Facebook for example, you can take some time to ‘schedule’ posts. It sure makes it a lot easier to consistently post content.
10) It’s as easy as A,B,C.
A) Always Give
People seem to think that the best way to grow their business or brand is to use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to constantly push their own agenda. To constantly pitch to people to use their product, to attend their events, or to join their community. No, this is not how it works.
The key is to create value for people in order to build relationships and a following. This will create infinitely more value for you than constantly “taking”.
Don’t always push your agenda and be a taker. Become a giver – whether it’s at the brand level or at an individual.
B) Become a Participant
Become an active participant in all of the forums that relate to you and/or your brand. Not to push your product/service etc. but rather to participate by asking and answering questions. This allow you to add value while also getting your name/brand out there.
People and brands need to rethink how they market and engage in social media. Start from a “giving” mindset, understand your audience, develop ways to add value and “execute”.
C) Create Connections
You can talk, talk, talk all day long and never make one honest, real connection with another human soul. But you’ve only got one real job….and that is to “create” a connection. Find the connection between you and that “one” follower at a time, heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul.
If you focus on that one connection until it clicks and sticks, then others will watch, listen, and follow you, too. Your only real job is to find, create and nurture that one connection. Once connected, simply do it again and again.