Tap into the power of social media marketing

Tap into the power of social media marketing

Through social media marketing, small businesses can gain a lot by simply ‘listening’ to what their target customers are saying online.

Use social media as your powerhouse market research tool

Brand buzz occupies a big part of the social space. Monitoring updates on industry-specific news blogs and social platforms like Twitter LinkedIn, Facebook, and more,  will give you loads of information about trends, needs or concerns, likes and dislikes. All this market research is available to you for free 24/7. Plus new resources are added ongoing.

Business owners can use social media to find studies, reports, blog posts that are free and offer specific information on business trends and target clients. Be strategic by setting up feeds like Google Alerts to have timely developments delivered instantaneously to your inbox.

On a daily basis, you have access to studies, reports, blog posts that can provide you with specific information on your business, industry, target clients.

For example, companies developing products that use artificial intelligence (AI) would be interested in the 2016 survey done by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, AI-Ready or Not: Artificial Intelligence Here We Come!

The findings include:

  • Millennials (33%) know a lot about AI compared too Gen Xers (15%) and Boomers (6%).
  • Millennials are more likely to own or use an AI-powered product.
  • However, across all segments the understanding of AI is limited to robots.

Clearly education about Al will be a major factor in promoting consumer understanding across the board.

Companies have a great opportunity to share AI news and developments online via websites and social media platforms, with real-time question and answer sessions a great way to generate publicity and interest in their AI-enhanced products and services.

Think of social networks as a huge, free, ever-growing database at your disposal 24/7.

Never has it been so easy or so affordable for small businesses to connect directly with their target markets, colleagues and the media.

Think of the social network as a limitless knowledge base. Ask questions. Get answers. Contribute to the discussion. Be yourself. Make connections.

Do you believe in yourself and what you offer?

Of course you do, or you wouldn’t in business. Make sure your customers know that.

Remember, you are a business owner. If you don’t earn an income, your product/service won’t be available for a customer to buy. Your success is their success. Don’t sabotage your success at their cost. You both lose.

You have a unique voice and brand, whether you know this or not, and these are very powerful, positive social media marketing tools.

If you are true to your voice and brand, then you have built-in detectors that will tell you when you might be veering outside your comfort zone into “salesy,” “pushy” territory.

Trust yourself. Trust your instincts. You will attract customers who share your values.

How do you use social media marketing without feeling too salesy or pushy, please share below! Your experience can help someone else.

Or if you are a small business owner that is feeling uncomfortable or has a question about social media marketing, I’m here to help! If you prefer, you can also contact me.

Social media consultants: 5 reasons to listen (MORE) to your clients

Social media consultants: 5 reasons to listen (MORE) to your clients

Listen, because nothing you say is as important as what you will hear. Social Media consultants, here are five reasons to listen up.

1. Listening tells clients you care

Think of some of the best conversations you have ever had. You connected with someone. You felt validated. You felt you were heard. Because someone was really listening to you.

And that felt good, really good. Sometimes it is easy to forget that as consultants, we are considered the “experts,” the ones who have the knowledge. And that can be intimidating.

We forget that clients have their own worries, concerns, insecurities. They just want to know you understand their situation, their reality. That you are listening, not jumping to solutions.

2. Listening saves time, money and frustration

In business, meetings can be a major time suck. Meetings are probably among the top resource drain in corporate business – because no one has to literally pay for them.

For consultants, time is truly money. For the client, especially small businesses and entrepreneurs, time is money. They are investing their time and also paying you. Listening saves time and money. And frustration for you and the client.

The bottom line is that coming away from a client meeting thinking you are on the page is far from confirming you are on the same page. This is especially true in phone conversations where there are no visual cues, only verbal ones. Even then, you can easily be mistaken.

Any good interviewer knows that listening can transform an average interview into a memorable one. Listening can take an interview into a completely different direction – one that uncovers an amazing story or observation. Listening also helps you know what questions to ask.

Taking time to reconfirm understanding on strategy, direction, priorities and more will save clients and consultants time, money, and frustration.

Image of book cover: Smart Questions by Dorothy Leeds

I highly recommend a wonderful resource, Smart Questions by Dorothy Leeds. Among the takeaways outlined in my book review are the skill – and reward -associated with asking good questions, and knowing how to listen.

The book was written for managers and dates to 1987, but I still find it applicable as a consultant, particularly Leeds’ advice to fit the question to the person based on their personality type (commander, convincer, carer, calculator), not only to get better results, but to help build better ongoing communication.

Plus, she suggests turning the tables by asking yourself questions regarding your own motivations and goals. Good advice for keeping it real.

3. By listening, you will actually learn something

Every interaction with a client I have come away with a new understanding, a new bit of information or reference that is immediately applicable or that can be stored away for future use. I have come to view impatience as an unwillingness to listen or learn.

And I’ve found I am not always aware until later when, like a little post-it note in my unconscious, the insight is suddenly available to me. Often it is when I am working with another client. How great is that?

4. Listen because the “Social” in “Social Media” is for a reason

Next time you are enumerating to your client the opportunities social media offers businesses to listen to and engage with their target markets, remember that you are doing the exact same thing.

Listen and learn as much as you can from your client about their industry, competition, current and prospective clients, their unique selling proposition. Certainly, provide a framework to guide your discussion.

But let them talk. You have your expertise, your clients have theirs. Until you understand their big picture and their daily concerns, you won’t be in a position to build a valid strategy and tactical plan.

5. Listening is good business

Listening involves implicating your client in the solution.

In The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy (and Why They Don’t), Sean D’Souza looks at how listening  can make or break a sale. (See D’Souza’s web site Psychotacthics.com for in-depth info, bonus offers and more.)

Most consultants tend to focus on our solution as the solution, he says.

His advice: Work with the client to come to a solution on one concern, then another concern. Show the client you are listening, not jumping to a solution.

Once you have established this rapport, presenting “the solution” (which very well may be the one you were initially focussed on) becomes “our solution” – one you reach together.

You and the client now share ownership.

From my experience, shared ownership encourages a higher level of commitment and mutual respect. So your project starts strong, and is much more likely to end in mutual satisfaction and success.

Satisfied clients are happy to give you testimonials, and refer other businesses to you.

Anybody listening?

Please share your thoughts, insights and experiences.

Social media marketing without smarmy tactics

Social media marketing without smarmy tactics

Just because you are proactive in promoting your business via social media marketing doesn’t mean that you will suddenly morph into the caricature of a slimy salesperson.

How businesses become successful at social media marketing

My clientele range from small to large businesses across different industries, yet they share a common concern: how to use social media without coming across as too salesy or pushy. To them “marketing” means a lot of hype and shameful self-promotion, the exact opposite of how they want to come across to their prospective customers.

As consultant, my role is to shed light on the limitations these business owners are setting for themselves – and to help them embrace and enjoy using social media marketing as a means to connect with customers, colleagues and other individuals with shared passions and interests.

If you have the same fears about coming across like a used car salesman, here’s what I tell my clients. I hope my advice helps you see social media marketing in a different light.

Challenge and change your social media marketing mindset

First, it’s not about you, it’s about your customers, and how your product or service is of value to them.

You are a small business owner with a product or service to offer. There are people out there who need that product and service. Why not make it easier for them to find you?

No matter your business and your target market, social media offers a smorgasbord of options for you to connect by blogging, tweeting, pinning and/or linking to any number of materials online, like articles, coupons, ebooks, newsletters, pdfs, photos, images and infographics.

Small businesses like yours use their blog and their social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn or Pinterest and more, any number of ways to help keep current and potential customers aware of promotions and special offers, new products or services or upcoming events.

Businesses use social media marketing to increase exposure, attract more customers and boost sales locally, and across the globe.

Let’s do a small visioning exercise

What images come to mind when you think about promoting your business via a blog or social media profiles? What do you tell yourself? What beliefs make those messages either positive or negative? True or untrue?

Just because you are proactive in promoting your business via social media marketing doesn’t mean that you will suddenly morph into Irwin Mainway, Dan Ackroyd’s slimey SNL character who peddled ridiculously unsafe “children’s toys,” like “Bag O’ Glass,” “Invisible Pedestrian,” “Mr. Skin Grafter” and “General Tranh’s Secret Police Confession Kit.” I promise.

What does marketing to increase your sales look like to you?

If your thoughts tend toward negative self-talk or icky images, replace them with ones of you feeling good about steering a potential customer to a helpful resource, product or service – yours or someone else’s.

Then picture either getting a sale, a comment of thanks or an endorsement in return. Sure, this may not happen 100% of the time in social media marketing, but if you’re not doing anything yet in this arena, it’s 100% more than you are getting now!

Consider your virtual studio, workshop – wherever you do business – as no different than any brick and mortar storefront. It’s just that with social media marketing, each day brings you the potential to get tons more exposure, exponentially more customers and ongoing sales, and the fun of meeting and exchanging with people across the world – all without leaving the comfort of your office.

What’s your social media marketing mindset now?

I hope you feel energized and motivated by all the possibilities these interactions can bring you and your business. My clients do.

Contact me to learn how I can help you market your business.