I have to confess, I hesitated for the longest time in writing this series. If there's one thing I've learned over the past several years regarding the use of social media for business it's that 'One Size Doesn't Fit All.'
By that, I mean, what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for someone else. Not everyone has the skill and ability to blog consistently and attract potential clients through their writing. Not everyone is sufficiently 'wired' to make Twitter a valued and meaningful marketing investment.
However, there are some very basic, foundational aspects to social media that can be applied to just about every situation, and that's what I want to attempt to communicate here in this series.
For I've encountered many of you who have just recently plunged head first into the social media waters, and there are times when you're feeling rather intimidated and overwhelmed. There's so much to absorb, it's like you're trying to take a drink of water from a fire hydrant!
This series of articles is for you then. A rudimentary road map, if you will, as you navigate along the social media highway!
Step One // Social Media is a Conversation, not an Ad
First and foremost, remember that social media at its core is an ongoing series of engaging, interactive, connecting conversations. With the advent of Web 2.0, the Internet marketing paradigm has shifted significantly. Gone are the days of incessant self-promotion, glamor shots, and annoying 'interruption' marketing. Consumers have learned to tune out the elevator noise of how great you are, how many designations you've earned, or which Million Dollar Club you belong to.
Today's sophisticated, Internet-savvy consumers want good, consistent, relevant, practical, helpful, and qualified information. They want it served up fresh in formats and social media venues they frequent and use in the course of their daily lives.
At the turn of the century, townspeople congregated at the corner general store, sitting around the pot belly stove to hear all the local buzz. In the 50's, Moms met at each others homes for coffee and conversation, while Dad's huddled around the water cooler at work. In today's culture, people connect, share, and communicate through Internet-based platforms, applications, and mobile technologies.
In order to successfully grow your business through the Internet and make meaningful connections with potential clients, you have to go to where the conversations are taking place, and communicate in ways that contribute to the discussion, building trust/credibility, and adding value to whatever product(s)/services you are providing.
Unfortunately, as creatures of habit, we tend to drag the deeply ingrained baggage of our 'old school' marketing methods along with us and attempt to employ them into the newer social media environment. What typically results is borderline SPAM and more resembles a one-sided self-promoting advertisement than it does an attempt to impart valued information, or stir up meaningful dialog.
The folks at Futurenow make the following observation:
"As proud as you may be of your company and your product or service, most customers only care about how well you can help them meet their wants and needs. If you want more of them to buy, your focus has to be on your customer. How do you communicate that to them? With the words you use on your site. Are you talking mostly about them and their needs or are you talking mostly about yourself?"
The WeWe Calculator is a free tool that quickly analizes the word content of your site, and determines if your published content is more customer-centric, or 'you-centric.'
Therein lies the first secret to your future success in implementing the use of social media to grow your business - invest your time and energy sharing information that satisfies your customers needs/wants. It's not about you. It's all about them!
For Your Additional Reading Enjoyment, consider:
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Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG, Crabbing in the Hood, Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org