In the past few years I have had dozens of conversations with small business owners and entrepreneurs about the importance of engaging in Social Media. In so many cases, these highly successful people had little understand of the role of social media in business. To them Social Media = Facebook and surely thats for the kids?
I thought it was about time for me to address the question
What is a “Social Media Strategy” for Small Business?
Applying the Six Minute Strategy methodology, I have created six categories, with six sub issues to provide more detail and depth to the discussion. The six categories are:
- Your Home on the Web
- What does your website need
- Content Creation
- Social Media Engagement
Over the course of this four part post, my purpose is to give you an overview of how these components hold together. This series already exceeds 5000 words and despite this I am not going to have the time or space to go into very much detail.
This will be one of my key objectives in the soon to be launched Six Minute Strategist Pro Membership section of my site. Please keep your eyes out for further news which I will post on my Blog.
Lets get started!
- Some Key Questions;
This is a discussion I have had several times:
Q. “Why do you have a website?” A. “Well, we have to have one, don’t we?”
Q. “So, who comes to your website?” A. “Don’t know”
Q. “Where do they come from?” A. “Don’t know”
Q. “Why do they come?” A. “Don’t know”
Q. “How many people come to your site?” A. “Don’t know”
Q. “Do they find what they want?” A. “Don’t know”
Q. “Do you know anything about them?” A. “No”
Q. “Do you capture any information about them while they are there?” A. “Don’t Know”
Q. “Do they interact with you while they are on your site?” A. “Don’t know”
Q. ” Do you follow up with them after they leave?” A. “No”
If the answer to all these questions is “Yes”, you do not need to read this article, you are probably already doing many of the right things. If most of your answers is “don’t know” or “no” then you should ask yourself the first question again – “Why do you have a website?”
Filling the Sales Funnel
In principle, we are all in business with one objective – to make money. This involves finding customers and converting leads into sales. You may not know your cost of acquisition per customer but if you add up all your sales and marketing costs in your company and divide that by the number of paying customers in a comparable period, that is a close enough approximation.
It is also true that a retained customer, who you have already acquired, represents a much better return on your initial marketing investment – if you sell twice to them you half your per customer cost for that customer and increase your return on investment.
The objective of your “Social Media Strategy” is to fill the sales funnel and convert leads into paying customers. Thats it plain and simple. Article finished.
Well, actually, there is a bit more to it than that, so lets go on shall we?
The Conversion Cycle
One way of thinking about conversion is:
- Find me
- Know me
- Like me
- Trust me
- Do Business with me
- Evangelise me
This is what your online presence should aim to achieve.
By having a presence on the internet, your potential customers have the opportunity to find you (more about how later). Once they come to your website, they can read the content you have provided and get to know you. If your content is engaging and well laid out, you are well on your way to getting them to like you. If your content is informative, helpful and educational i.e. of benefit to them, they are likely to begin to trust you.
This is a KEY point – the content must be written for the benefit of the reader – you are not advertising yourself, you are not broadcasting how brilliant you are. You are providing them with easy to read, well written, interesting, engaging, informative and educational content.
Once they trust you, they will be ready to do business with you. Once the business is complete (and assuming you have been outstanding) they will be ready to evangelise you. This means they go back to the beginning of the cycle and tell their friends and contacts about you. They visit your site and find you….well, I think you get the idea.
Outbound vs Inbound
Why is this different? In the past, small business has relied on advertising, radio and TV ads, the Yellow Pages, Posters etc. All these are forms of outbound marketing and they are essentially broadcast based and passive. You would find what ever means to “get the word out” and hope that some where a potential customer would see the advertisement and call you.
The model is now at best incomplete and at worst broken. It has been over taken by the inbound interactive marketing model encapsulated in a “Social Media Strategy” Here you provide the place for your potential customers to come. The internet means that anyone with a connection can potentially “find” you – you no longer need them to be driving past the hoarding on the highway at the time your name is on the billboard.
The strategy bit is all about what you have to do to help them find you, what you provide them with when they do and how you interact with them from that point going forward.
Skills and Control
This may seem all very difficult and technical and will require lots of (expensive) technical expertise to implement. That is not the case. As we shall see, much of the technology you require is free and the cost of the associated hardware, software and other costs are today a fraction of what they were ten and in some cases only five years ago.
One thing however is critical. You as the business owner must have control of this. You need to understand how the whole process is organised and, even if you have an employee who does much of the work, you need to master the new skills of online sales and marketing. I am convinced if you do not, your competitors will and they will take your customers from you as a result.
Lets look at some numbers.
How much do you spend on:
- Marketing Personnel?
- Your current website?
Putting aside the standard office IT infrastructure and internet connection, which I assume you already have, a Social Media strategy can be implemented for only a few hundred pounds/dollars and some investment of time. I believe that I can convince you that the ROI on this strategy will out perform any of your current out bound campaigns – and as a bonus I will be able to tell you how you can measure how effective you are being.
I know this sounds incredible – marketing which is measurable! Astonishing isn’t it?
In Part 2, I will discuss with you what you need to set up to have your own “Home on the Internet” – and to explain how inexpensive and easy this really is.
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