I talk to a lot of business owners who don’t “get” social media.
A year or two ago when I’d speak with them, most were quick to say they didn’t understand it and didn’t need to. Today what I hear is: “I know I’m supposed to be doing that, so I have a Facebook account.” Or, “Yes, I’ve got my teenaged nephew taking care of that.”
Unfortunately, simply posting occasional announcements about upcoming sales or telling people why they should use your service is not social media marketing and it’s not helping you. In fact, if that’s all you’re doing, it could be hurting you.
What’s worse, you’re not taking advantage of what could become the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Why?
Social media is the world’s biggest cocktail party and everyone’s there – including your competitors and your potential customers.
I first heard the cocktail party analogy from marketing guru David Meerman Scott, who used it in his best-seller, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, published in 2007. It immediately clarified for me why social media networks are marketing gold.
Imagine walking into a networking party at a hotel. People are roaming around, engaging with folks they know and being introduced to those they don’t know. They’re talking about the economy, the weather, the price of milk.
You get into a nice chat with someone and he asks what you do for a living. If it were me, I’d say, “I’ve got a national PR company that specialises in publicity.” The person might say, “Wow, I’ve got a friend interested in that. Let me introduce you!”
The friend may or may not be present at this cocktail party.
Read more about making the most of social media:
- How to get noticed on social media
- Capitalising on social media: avoiding the legal pitfalls
- How to avoid a social media catastrophe
But if that same conversation happened on a social network like Facebook, that friend and dozens more would be so close by. They may actually be “listening” to your conversation. That’s what makes social media so much more valuable as a marketing tool. You can be exposed to thousands more potential customers than you would through traditional networking channels.
How does that happen? Social media users stay connected by “following” one another.
If I’m following you, I can see your conversations. Post something clever and I might share it with my followers, who may also share it with their followers.
Before you know it, you and your brilliance may be exposed to hundreds of thousands of strangers. Some of them will become your followers and, voilà! You have a growing audience.
But it won’t happen if you don’t have a plan and don’t apply cocktail party rules of etiquette.
Continue reading on page two…
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