6 days into 2009 and I’m sure we all have our goals set or we’re busy finalizing what we are going to do. I make these lists and I write down thoughts at a furious pace and still, in the back of my mind, I’m constantly wondering what everyone is collectively thinking right now. By everyone, I’m really referring to small and medium sized business owners. The economy sucks and business is wayy down..
They have to be wondering where the business is going to come from or how they are going to get business utilizing their existing forms of advertising, sales, and marketing. The problem is, how effective do those continue to be? Were they ever? Do they know they are not working? Do they utilize metrics or do they fly by the seat of their pants to measure their effectiveness? Do they understand that there is more for less out there right now? Or is it less for less? Their heads have to be swimming. I know mine is.
Initially I would have said No, SMB’s are not aware of their advertising, sales and marketing effectiveness, but in that sense I was referring to “as it pertains to social media”, as in how effective could all these initiatves be if they were using social media, and that is completely true. SMB’s do not know much about how social media might be able to turn the tide.The power. The effectiveness. The impact.
But they do know plenty about what is and what isn’t working in regards to their sales and marketing initiatives. I love what Christian Maurer says about this:
In today’s business climate, sales organizations think that they have to increase their activities to counteract the increased reluctance of customers to buy. These increased activities will however not necessarily be rewarded by higher revenue.One might end up trying to get more juice from an already squeezed out lemon
So enter Social Media. The darling of the last few years. We go from product centric to customer centric. But how do you articulate that social media could be just what the doctor ordered? Well I could wax eloquent on that question for awhile but I’d like to refer you to Kyle Lacy’s 4 part series on social media marketing for the small business as a primer. It’s a wonderful piece and more so, it exposed me to a great blog for small business called The Marketing Spot. I highly recommend you add it to your list in 2009.
Ok so back to you Mr. and Mrs. SMB how do you go about learning whether Social Media is the cure for what is ailing your business? And how do you do it quickly because you don’t have time to ramp something like this up. WHAT DO YOU DO FIRST?
-You could try and learn about “It” on your own but you need to know what “it” is. This might help.
-But then after you figure out what it is, you then need to know who you can trust or what to look for in a social media consultant, because you don’t have time to be doing this, right?
-Once you figured out what to look for, then you need to decide “who to look for”
-So now that you have “that” person or agency selected, now you have to have a strategy and they have to share that with you, so that you know exactly what they are trying to do for you and your business.
-A blueprint of how that person works is a good thing to have, it lets you know exactly how they work and it is a key component that we talk about all the time and that’s transparency in social media. Amber Naslund does a great job of discussing her “blueprint” in this post.
-Now that we have the strategy and the blueprint, it’s time to implement. Don’t worry though, your accomplished social media strategist knows just what to do.
OK, so you know what it is, you know what to look for, you know who they are, you know what they’ll do and you know how they’ll do it. But the last thing we have to do is we still have to measure what they’ve done.
-We talk all the time about how to measure social media but here’s a simple framework for measuring it’s effectiveness.
With that in mind, I end with this; As long as you know upfront what you are trying to accomplish and you adhere somewhat to these steps above, you may just have figured out how to incorporate social media into your SMB marketing plan! But don’t stop there and don’t rely solely on your social media expert/strategist. Take the time to learn as much as you can as you go, so that you can understand the sea change that is happening within the worlds of PR, marketing, advertising and communication.