I just got done giving three seminars on Social Media Marketing and the over-riding comments I received were:
- I do not have time
- I do not know where to start
- I do not know how to connect
If this sounds like you, I've got five simple things you can do today to get started and be effective to help grow your business.
1. Develop your plan . As with anything worthwhile in life, you've got to set goals, write them down, and really understand why they're important for you. Take the time to think about what you want to accomplish using social media. Once you've done that, dissect why it is important for you to achieve the goal. Research shows goals are most often met if the REASON for meeting them is strong enough.
Having a strong reason is essential to keep yourself going when things are not lining up the way you'd like. Life starts to happen, and if your reasons are not strong, you are likely to drop your goal. If your reason is that you want to grow your business to put food on the table, and money in the education fund, and to pay off that credit card debt – those are powerful reasons – so keep those in mind as you go through your day – working toward your goal.
2. Do something every day to meet your goal. It can be a minor step or a major step – but take some action each day that will move you forward. We often hear about the huge things in life – like achieving a major milestone, or award and we forget about the small steps needed to get there. In fact we hear about earthquakes and hurricanes and the devastation caused by them. But termites do more damage than all the hurricanes and earthquakes combined. They take little bitty bites but they take so many!
Moving forward is not always about taking giant steps. Tiny little steps will get you there just the same, just take them every day.
3. Think about your strategy . You've got to have an idea of what you want to convey to your market. I'm assuming here you know who your market it and have clearly defined your market – where they live, what they do, what age group they belong to, what sex, what their socio-economic background is, etc. Once you've clearly defined your market, you've got to be clear about the message you want to deliver. When you've got that defined you'll know how to begin to engage your customer in a way that adds value to them.
4. Start by adding value . Remember, people like to be recognized. In social media, there are hundreds of opportunities for you to comment on peoples posts. Begin a dialogue. It is not always necessary to agree (in fact some of my best friends are friends because I offered a different point of view) – but it is always necessary to be polite. Even if you disagree, be polite.
Debate is valuable and even though it is easier to say, "I really enjoyed your post." It's more thoughtful and impactful if you say, "I think you've made some excellent points. My personal experience has been different in the area of the number of times you should update your website. You are more likely to see improvement if you can update your site at least 4 times a week.
In the first example, there is no real opportunity for dialogue. In the second example you are inviting the engagement of dialogue. It is only through two way communication you will form your strongest relationships.
5. Be authentic, be human . We all know the saying people do business with people they know, like and trust. The reason we hear it so often, is because it's true! Are you more likely to do business with someone you know? Of course! So whatever your chosen method of engaging in social media, be sure you leave your personality imprint on it. Have the courage to speak your mind and offer alternative points of view.
Have the courage to admit mistakes. We all make them, and if we can find a way to admit to them it does two things: 1.) Mistakes are humanizing. No one is perfect and you will build relationships faster if you show your human side. 2.) If you can frame a mistake in the right way that shows lessons learned, you will deflate any naysayers who want to capitalize on your mistakes for their benefit.
We see it all the time in politics. If a person freely admits to the mistakes, makes good, puts processes in place to prevent them and then moves forward, others are likely to forget and forgive. However, when someone will not admit mistakes, or tries to cover up, or makes excuses, then all of a sudden it's like fresh meat in a pool of piranhas. It becomes a PR nightmare.
The same can happen in social media on a much smaller scale to you. So have the courage to live up to mistakes, quickly correct them, put in processes to make sure they do not happen again and move on.
If you follow this five simple tips you will master social media marketing in no time!