14 Years Young
In 2003 I started my company, and April marks 14 years operating a business.
I wanted to write a blog post for other business owners about social media and my experiences with this from the perspective of a business owner.
When I started our business they called web marketing “internet marketing”. The principles we learned were applicable to any outlet, so despite Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and the plethora of other social media tools not yet having been invented, having them today the same methods can be used to generate leverage for your business. And this applies to anything else in future.
Choosing social media options appropriate for your business and connecting them to your website can generate major impact to your presence in the marketplace and how much business you’re able to generate via the online channel. A website alone is no longer sufficient for generating the best result, there are many other businesses being very proactive out there, and we are seeing with web + social media combined a “two heads are better than one” + “survival of the fittest” result to sales and lead generationg for clients.
Snapchat – I tried it and I don’t really get it
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, however while I am technologically up with the latest, Snapchat eludes me as a business tool.
I don’t understand how overlaying creepy pictures of animals over my face is helpful. My sister sends me snapchat messages which seem more like 30 second presentations of the current state of her life, animated with mythical creatures and I wonder why she doesn’t choose more straightforward methods of communication.
The key takeaways from the tools you just don’t get or don’t see the value in as a business owner are as follows:
- Try it out – there’s no harm in that, you will definitely learn something new irrespective!
- If it’s not of value to you, ditch it and move on – there is belief out there that we have to be using all these tools and be up with the latest new social media tool. The reality is that if you don’t get it and not buying into it, stop using it and reserve your energy for something else.
- If you’re not doing anything on social media, employ someone who can or face extinction – Social media is just as relevant as websites these days, and they play off each other in a strategic plan through leverage. Social media can be used to not only get the word out about your business, drive traffic to your website, but also gain leverage – that is a larger benefit through strategic planning. Quite complex methodologies are being researched and applied to maximum benefit – read my post here about Growth Hacking to get a better idea about this.
- Plan and define your social media as part of your marketing strategy – to get the best out of these platforms it’s about understanding the ones you choose to use, and defining how they will each provide value to you, your business, and your clients.
Facebook – Bad press about your business, spread online and into the news really quickly
One of the typical things about Facebook we hear about on the news is bad news spread quickly via this channel. Someone has an issue with the way they are treated in a cafe for example, and complains on Facebook, retort from owner submitted, and then it’s on the 6pm news headlines.
The reality is that terribly bad service and attitudes will result in bad press – this is amplified by Facebook.
But likewise, it is a useful metric for people to get an impression of your business from “social proof” before they contact you. If they see an active Facebook page with lots of activity and Likes, it generates an impression that you are operating a real business with clients and are proactive.
Effective utilisation of Facebook gives you some good air time and a continual stream of people in front of your brand.
LinkedIn – Armchair business networking?
LinkedIn is a highly valuable resource to connect with people you know, as well as specific people you’d like to make contact with.
If you’re willing, LinkedIn can connect up your address book and find your contacts for you.
LinkedIn can be used for many purposes. I use it primarily to connect with people I’ve met, people in my own industry, and people who I share a mutual connection with that I’d like to stay connected with.
Sometimes we spend too much time focused on our own things, and forget about the wider world around us. I chose to connect with a lot of ecommerce experts in the US for example, because the learning simply by reading their posts and shared links is immense, and the US is far more developed in this area than here.
Again LinkedIn needs to have a defined purpose for your strategy, and it should be a professional one.
I find connecting with people I’ve met on LinkedIn is a much easier way to remember them, and what they do, than digging up old emails.
Consider the following:
- What is the value of developing a strategy to connect to some of the hundreds of millions of business people congregating in one place online?
- Observe others that are active on here, and learn both great techniques as well as what not to do.
- It’s not what you know but who you know – yes an old saying but developing relationships with more people means potential benefits.
- The only thing limiting you from reaching out to someone you don’t know on LinkedIn, is you. Don’t forget there are many other proactive business people out there looking to learn and make new connections!
- Consider writing an article – a good place to start is to see what your existing network is writing about.
Blog writing – Establishing yourself as an authority
Certainly one of the most powerful things you can do is actively write blog posts, yet it is the most neglected area by the majority of us.
I not only write blog posts myself regularly, but I can quantify the substantial return on investment in new business.
Writing blog posts and articles is definitely one of the more time consuming activities, but when we consider how we all spend our days, writing even short relevant articles regularly results in a cumulative positive impact for your business.
My blog writing experience has been rewarding and quantifiable, and I intend to give more effort to this over time, and delegate some parts of the job where possible as it grows. Typically I find being motivated and having something to write about is helped along by the number of interesting events you attend. It can be harder sometimes to come up with good ideas when you’re not getting as many fresh new ones.
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