Over the years we’ve seen many forms of marketing, starting with where the word comes from – taking goods to a Market!
But I believe social media marketing is different from every other way we’ve sold, or at least it should be.
Until the printing press was invented, a business selling it’s goods would see their customers face to face. To attract their attention they may have adopted broadcasting techniques, even inventing songs to sing to sell their wares. But they had to look the customer in the eye as they sold to them, and they conversed with them.
Although this has never completely disappeared the later appearance of radio and television meant that business broadcast their message more and more and listened to their customers less and less.
Businesses got bigger and marketing became a mysterious art practised by a separate department within a company…
Overwhelmingly marketers became people whose only purpose was to sell. Often they were divorced from the rest of the business, the product development and customer service. And indeed from the customers themselves!
This slowly drove a wedge between buyer and seller, dehumanising us all in the process.
When the web first appeared marketers were so entrenched in broadcasting that they continued to use it the same way … Slapping banner ads on websites just as if the website were a price of print and introducing the incredibly annoying pop-up advert based on the same model of interruption marketing used on TV and radio.
And let’s not forget all those irritating Internet marketers that wrote long copy that went on for months just like advertorials in the papers!
But slowly a new form of marketing emerged. Born from the most unlikely group imaginable – the geeks!
Computing and the Internet were fairly new, and people wanted to experiment, but to do so effectively they needed to share what they were learning. Forums became the place to do this.
And it is from this spirit of co-operation and helping others that mutual benefit became the currency de jour.
Marketing, and in fact business, is about learning about your customers, and yourself, and making sure your business is there to serve all the humans involved.
You do still need to market your business, you need people to know you exist and what needs of theirs you fulfil, but these days marketing is more honest and quite a bit quieter.
These days it’s about being found rather than running in front of someone waving madly!
So how will your customers find you?
The answers are simple …
1. Be in the right place at the right time
Or in other words be where your customers are! For this to happen you first need to know where your customers are online. Are they in a Facebook frenzy or typing on twitter? Don’t know? Don’t worry, call me!
2. Still be in the right place at the right time!
There’s really not much use creating a Facebook page or a LinkedIn account if it just lies dormant, if you want your customers to see you then you need to update your profiles regularly.
3. Show your wares
The most frustrating mistake so many people make on social media is forgetting to tell people what they provide! Yes this is Social media and yes you need to be social, but you also need to show your wares!
Several times over the last year I’ve bought something only to find a week later that I could have got it from a fellow tweeter or a Facebook friend. And often it would have saved me money as well as made me feel good!
So please tell me what you sell!
4. Be the fount of wisdom!
You are knowledgeable, it’s that simple, you know stuff about your products or the industry you service that I don’t know.
Share your knowledge and people will ask you questions when they need to, then (provided they know what you sell and they happen to need or want that!) they’ll buy from you because you have proved yourself trustworthy.
Also remember to keep these pearls of wisdom in a place people can regularly view them … Your blog!
5. Be friendly.
It is social media, it’s not all about the product, it’s all about the people. If you do steps 1 through to 4 but miss this one you will fail.
Yes you might get a few sales but you’ll miss so so many more.
Talk, ask questions, share jokes, comfort, in short act as if these strangers you are meeting on social websites are real friends.
You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll find that you are not acting any more.
6. Stay in The Yellow Pages.
Not the real Yellow Pages of course but the internets version of it – Google!
This helps people that have lost your details find you again quickly when they do need you, and it helps those that haven’t been lucky enough to meet you online to find the information you share.
If people are looking for an answer they’ll often type it into Google so make sure you show up. If you don’t know how to get page 1 on Google, or don’t have the time, call a good SEO company.
7. Stay in the real Yellow Pages too!
Whatever traditional ways of marketing your business you use don’t have to stop for social media.
Whether you are in the Yellow Pages, or run ads in a newspaper, or go networking, keep it up. But don’t forget to talk about it through social media channels too!
Over to you! Have you ever felt ignored by a business that wants your custom? How do you communicate with your customers? I love to hear your tales so please share in the comments