How do you leverage social networking as a small business owner?
You must begin with the consumer in mind. How do you take the focus off of your company? Your Brand? What makes you money? This can be difficult fosor many companies. You need to start assessing what consumers are saying about your industry and gain the consensus from your target market.
Most companies are not big enough to hire an outside marketing firm to do polling and research. The average cost for one project could be $20,000.00 to a research firm. Where does this leave the small business or a larger company looking to reduce their marketing & research budget? It leaves you with an answer we found in doing our own sales. You have the opportunity to use 3 strategies to understand the mind of your consumer: Songbirds, National Research & Success Stories.
Songbirds: A songbird is a past client that “sings” your praises. They had a great experience with your sales team and are interested in seeing your company succeed. A typical songbird will have referred you other friends and coworkers because they believe in your service, company and product. You will need to gather 5-7 Songbirds and ask them to commit to meeting 3 or 4 times a year. Your songbirds know what is important to the consumer as they were and are a consumer. They are outside of your profession so they have great outside perspective. They are your informal survey, your opportunity to poll them for your marketing campaigns, branding and your current engagement with consumers.
National Research: Many businesses fall under a larger professional group or national organization. It is crucial to “know your numbers.” By reviewing the research conducted by your national organization you gain an understanding of the trends. It is true that all companies are different and function at different levels but by seeing national trends you gain a national perspective. Many of the reports will show you where the consumers are coming from, their buying choices and buying intervals. This can be used as a basic road map for next year. Compare your sales and consumers with the national research. Do you see the same trends? Are your consumers different? Is there a new segment of consumers you can now go after for sales?
Success Stories: The need to reinvent the wheel. When I was young in the sales arena I had the need to impress others. I wanted to show that I could create all my own systems. I could develop the best scripts. I could make the most sales doing it my way. Why? (To read more about Social Fusion: The Modern Day Approach to Selling go to: Social Fusion