This week it’s the final instalment of the Social Media Marketing for SMEs series. I’m going to be discussing the 2 mistakes that you’re most likely to make when you first start with social media. I’m guilty of making both these mistakes myself to some extent at one time or another. Here goes…
Mistake #1 – Trying to sell too early on instead of first offering value and building up trust
There’s a really obvious question that people who are new to social media often forget to consider…
How is the mindset of a customer who sees a flyer/billboard/TV advert different to the mindset of a customer browsing Facebook?
The customer who’s engaging with traditional marketing has no choice about what she sees. This isn’t the case on Facebook. If you’ve clicked on a link it’s because you chose to – either because it looked funny, interesting or useful. The customer on Facebook is giving up their free time and they don’t expect to have to sit through adverts.
The marketer Seth Godin was one of the first people to popularise this idea in his book Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers. He talked about how people are turning away from traditional ‘interruption advertising’. People fast forward through TV adverts, they use pop-up blockers to hide adverts on the internet and they actively dislike people trying to sell them things without their permission. However if you give them something they want without asking for anything in return, you build up trust until they like and admire you… it suddenly becomes okay to try and sell them something. Social media has made this strategy possible by lowering the costs and changing customer behaviour.
You won’t get social media marketing until you properly understand this shift in thinking. In traditional marketing it would be very unusual to spend time on marketing that didn’t offer some kind of special offer or call to action. In social media it’s quite possible that in the first 5 interactions you have with a prospect you don’t explicitly try and sell anything. And remember – even if somebody doesn’t buy from you they can still benefit you by sharing your content, evangelising your product or brand and referring friends to you. Community building might be a better way of thinking about it than marketing.
Mistake #2 – Not differentiating yourself from the crowd
Setting up a Facebook and Twitter account and populating them with news stories and resource links is free to do. Consequently there are millions of people doing it.
These days that approach simply won’t cut it. With the exception of celebrities and household names the only social media campaigns that are really successful are those that do something bold, inventive and unique. But what exactly could you do? What do you have to offer that’s actually unique? How about the expert knowledge of your staff?
Social media marketing rewards expert knowledge and good customer service – as an SME business owner this is where you should excel.
If I want to fix a shelf in my bathroom I will go to the local hardware store because the person at the till can tell me exactly what I need buy and even give me instructions on how to get the job done. The teenager working on the checkout at B&Q probably doesn’t know the difference between a cross-head and a flat-head screwdriver. Why not use this massive asset you already have, excellent industry and product knowledge, and leverage it in through a clever social media campaign?
- If you make cakes record some cookery lessons and put them on Youtube - You can easily produce something semi-professional looking with a £100 Flip camcorder if you get the lighting correct, write a script and record a few takes. If people follow the recipe at home and then walk past your shop the following week, are they going to come in and try the real thing for comparison? Yes!
- If you’re a personal trainer ask people to post their fitness goals on your Facebook fan page and design them a personalised exercise routine and diet plan for free (you don’t even have to do each one individually just make some templates then fill in the blanks for each person.) Are people going to come back and visit your page regularly to update you on their progress, ask clarifying questions and thank you when they drop a clothes size? Of Course!
- If you’re a business coach invite people to ask you questions about problems in their business and offer them expert advice for free - Oh wait… somebody’s already doing that one
I hope this post has inspired some ideas and given a few people a new perspective on social media for businesses. As usual leave your comments, questions and advice in the comments section below or on the Facebook wall. Next time I’m going to be tackling an issue that lots of people have been asking me about – self mastery and time management.