Are you ready to learn the teachings of the samurai? I say this because (in my humble opinion) small businesses really need to up the ante when it comes to online marketing. It’s time to develop some social media ninja skills, wouldn’t you say?
Of course, becoming a ninja is no easy task. The path to success can be quite a journey, but if you take the smart approach to social media marketing your business will thank you.
If You Build It… It Doesn’t Mean They’ll Actually Come
We’ve all seen ghost town fan pages and Twitter accounts without tweets. Every time I see these sad vestiges of once hopeful enthusiasm, I die a little inside. Maybe I’m being a little too dramatic. I usually just forget the page, like the owner did.
The reality happens to be that most SMBs want a great social media presence – they just don’t have the time or know-how to pull it off. It’s not just a matter of getting ‘likes’. You can’t approach social media marketing with a “more is better” mindset. Your focus has to be on creating strong connections with your customers. You do this to develop loyalty and brand ambassadors around your business. In other words, you want to create customers that sing your praise and send referrals your way.
Most small business owners don’t move past the “more is better” mentality and end up disappointed with social media altogether. They get brainwashed into thinking that 1000 “likes” will make them popular, but it’s no more true for businesses than it is for people. Your “fans” are about as real as your Farmville crops once you start collecting them online.
Social Media Is About Being ‘Social’ – Stop Advertising
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Now that we have cleared the bad energy that has clouded your ninja social media skills, let us begin your training, young grasshopper! Hi-ya!
The value in social media is directly proportionate to the relevance of the content you share with your audience. How you connect with your fans is crucial. Let’s face it: people don’t want advertisements and specials crammed down their throats. They sure don’t want it clogging up their Facebook or Twitter feed. Do you hop on Facebook to click on ads? Nope. I didn’t think so.
To be successful with social media you need to curate a steady stream of fresh content that resonates with your target market. In order to do this, you have to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Just like the legendary lessons of Miyamoto Musashi teaches: you need to “think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.” It’s about recognizing your customers’ needs and filling the gap.
“Essentially, people use the internet for two things: information or entertainment. Focus on being a combination of both and you will win over your audience.”
Practice Your (Social Media) Kung Fu
Tools have their uses, but if you don’t understand how they work or what they’re for, they’ll just end up gathering dust in the garage. This is how you have to approach social media. Social networking sites are simply tools to help you connect with your customers – so it’s important you devote the bulk of your online marketing efforts to building a presence where your customers are most likely to gather.
For a brick-and-mortar business, online presence needs to have concrete relevance. And that involves a holistic collaboration between the business owner and everyone involved in the success of the business. You truly have to infuse social media and online marketing into your business mentality. Success takes effort.
Focus on Building Value with Social Media
- Reach out to friends, family and customers first. Friends and family – and the customers that you already have – should be the first people you reach out to. Facebook allows you to invite people using their email, so by all means, do it.
- Build relationships with people in your area or niche. For the majority of businesses – whether exclusively online or not – a strong local presence is faster to accomplish than trying to take over the world. Don’t try to be everywhere at once when you first start out. Start small and work your way up from there.
- Partner with businesses that compliment yours. Every industry has non-competing businesses that serve the same customers. Create a powerhouse referral network by co-opting your marketing efforts with other local businesses and people within your niche.
- Engage – don’t broadcast. The fact is, you have to take a hands-on approach to online marketing. Come up with fresh content and use contests and events to entice fans to become customers.
It’s Now Time to Walk the Way of the Warrior
Reading information will only get you so far. Putting that information to practice is a whole new experience. In order to be successful with online marketing you have to view it as an essential component to your business. Social media is digital word of mouth marketing. It’s time to get people talking about your business.
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