Growing your business with Social Media

Growing A lot of what I typically talk about is directed at people whom may not know what twitter is all about. So lets set the stage. Twitter grew by 900+ something percent

just last year. (2009) But where I see trouble is in the integration of these tools for small regional businesses.

Just because something is out there as a tool doesn’t mean it’s right for you. In my opinion understanding the trends and what opportunities are available is the first step to aligning social media to your organizations objectives.

Obviously the big thing about social media is the opportunity to listen. Listening to what people are talking about will empower your business and help you figure out who your target market is and what drives them.

Why people are using social media?

  • Branding
  • Information Sharing and Public Relations
  • Understanding Customers

The trends we see in social media are evolving and moving towards…  “lead generation” with it’s low barrier to entry. Companies over 1,000 employees are using social media for internal communication; whereas 1 – 10 person organizations are using social media for lead generation and sales.

A strong social media foundation begins here:

Linked-in, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Youtube

This foundation leads most companies to start with blogs now or in the near future because it gives the company the opportunity to be authentic. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks will be used primarily to build leads, but the point of marketing is to communicate with your audience and ultimately answer their needs.

Like I was saying with lead generation, social media makes it easier to find your target market. When you go online you can see the online communities and correspondences that exist online.

Social media makes behavioral marketing more relevant, going beyond online marketing.

Small businesses using social media for PR:

Researching new product ideas
Online focus groups
Sponsoring interactive content
Organic Promotion

Social media is a great way to get in front of traditional media. Using profiles to distribute press releases, many twitter media accounts will view your press releases through twitter so you don’t have to submit stories to through email. Press releases can be released instantly via twitter and viewed with twitter itself so there is no need to submit stories through email.

General Overview

One of the biggest items that I discuss with my clients is when venturing into social media ,for marketing your business, you have to start with a plan.

How much time are you willing to invest?
Where is the target market?
How are you going to reach them?
What do you have to say that’s relevant?
What do you have to say this week, next month, and beyond to keep them engaged?

What’s your end goal? Are you looking for top of mind awareness?

Ultimately it will be very difficult to measure progress without specific goals.

Which tools are most effective?
Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter

Simple answer it depends, on your target market. What are they reading? What are they buying? This requires entering the community and posting or opening a discussion.

Nobody likes anyone whose not authentic in “their” community.

Be consistent across the profiles. When I talk about branding, I start with a personal branding statement or positioning statement. Classic example; Volvo = safety. They have built all of their marketing campaigns around safety. You need to have a similar specific emphasis. Social media can help you discover what need you’re filling thus allowing you to grasp or define your positioning statement, so don’t be afraid to explore.

Please leave your personal branding statement or positioning statement in the comments below.