Everywhere you look these days you’ll see advice on social media marketing.
Some will tell you that every business should be investing in social media marketing.
It’s time to take a step back and analyze social media from the traditional perspective.
Starting With The Customer
Everything in marketing starts with the customer.
I read an interesting post about this concept that kind of changes my thoughts. It’s about manufacturing customers. Actually it’s about finding people that have a need and then figuring out what you can do to fill that need or solve the problem.
If you’re just starting out with a new business or if you’re looking to create a new branch of an existing business it’s a great approach to take.
Most businesses are created this way and you can tell that it starts with identifying a need.
Once you find that need the goal is to find more people that have the same need.
Social media is a new way to find people for both of these approaches. You can use social media to find people that have a need. You can do your research and create a product from scratch. You can also find people like the ones you already have for clients.
The thing with social media is that it’s not something everyone uses. It may seem like that if you’re using social media, but in reality there are still quite a few people that don’t use.
For the most part, people over 40 years old or even 35 years old don’t use social media.
I realize that everyone has a grandma or crazy uncle that uses Facebook, but those are exceptions. If you sell walkers to people over the age of 60 you’re most likely not going to start a big social media campaign.
There are better ways to reach your target customer.
However, if you”re targeting people that use social media then continue reading.
The Nature of Referrals
Referrals have long been a big part of commercialism. If you have a great product and you provide a good buying experience people will tell others.
People are busy. When we’re busy we’re trained to figure out ways to save time. One of the ways we save time is to ask people we know for advice on buying things like cars, golf clubs and services.
This is one area that social media has an impact especially on the younger generation. Those folks are using social media for general social connection, but they’re also using it to share referrals.
Now, the biggest way to take advantage of this is to focus on your merchandise or service. That’s an obvious part of any business. You can really manufacture referrals.
However, you can create another form of a product that people can share.
That’s where business blogging has been successful for so many businesses.
Each blog post you create is something valuable for your target customer. If you reader finds it valuable they will want to share it with others. As humans, we have a tendency to want to help others. When something – like a blog post – helps us we want to help others by sharing that post with them.
Business blogging is about discovery, which occurs with social media. It’s also about earning trust, which comes with social media also. People trust you enough and they want to pass that trust to others.
Once you have that trust you have customers.
It’s a bigger picture than conversion rate marketing.
Owning The Platform and Content
Here is where business blogging has the biggest advantage for social media marketing.
At GBW, we like to look at social media as starting with your website, which is the home of your blog (in most cases).
When you post something on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. you’re giving up control. You’re giving up control of the content and you’re giving up control of the platform.
For example, Facebook has gone through a number of platform changes. All of them have had an impact on companies that have built a following on the platform. They have to change the way they use the platform. Usually the changes come with little, if any, warning.
On the contrary, when you own the platform (your website and content) and the content you’re in control. You’re the source of the information. You share some information on your social channels with the idea of using your site as the main hub.
This way when social media sites come and go (and they do come and go) you can easily change course because you already have a ton of content.
For example, let’s say you built a following on a site like MySpace. You build 1,00,000 followers. You’re doing well there and all of sudden people stop using the platform and head over to Facebook.
All those posts are stuck on MySpace. They own it.
Now, if you have a blog you can easily switch focus. You have all your posts in your archives.
Social media marketing starts with focus on the customer. From there it’s about building your own media company with the information coming directly from a platform you own.
After that you can start focusing on getting that content shared on social media and in some cases on building your following on social media sites.
The real secret is business blogging.