Social Media Tips That Can Save Your Business Hours of Frustration

FixCourse
Brad Smith Partner, Codeless Interactive, LLC

Posted on July 23rd 2012

Social Media Tips That Can Save Your Business Hours of Frustration

The first goal of internet marketing is getting people's attention.

But there's too much noise today. And it's only getting worse.

Your potential customers have thousands of things to pay attention to. And their Twitter Stream or Facebook News Feed is already full of other alternatives to your product or service.

The problem is that companies want to rush in to the tools and tactics of social media, without giving much thought to their marketing strategy.

And the result is that they look, sound, and feel just like everyone else. They're lost in a sea of mediocrity.

So the key to social media is to stand out. If you want to see return on your efforts, then you need to separate yourself from the competition.

Here are 3 social media tips that you can use to save yourself hours of frustration.

 

Social Media Comic: Why Don't Our Customers Like Our Facebook Page? Image courtesy of seanrnicholson

 

Tip #1. Define Who You Are

The first step to any marketing strategy is to define who you are. But not some wishy-washy "mission statement". Think deeper.

Businesses don't take enough time to really flesh out their principles and priorities. The result? They sell commoditized products/services, are virtually indistinguishable from the next competitor, and don't have a clear vision of who their target audience is.

The first step to positioning is by believing in something. Companies today want to "market" to everyone, and are afraid of taking a stand one way or another. But when you try to appeal to everyone, you really appeal to no one.

Instead, you need to "market" to those people who share your worldview. These people aren't just casual consumers, but your raging fans. Start with your strengths:

  1. What does your company/brand really stand for?
  2. Who do you (specifically) serve?
  3. What is the unique solution you provide?
  4. What specific qualities does your company embody?
  5. Why does your company even exist (besides to turn a profit)?
  6. Why are your products/services better than everyone else?

And it also helps you answer the next tip...

 

Tip #2. Position Yourself

How will you be different from all the competition? If you don't come up with a unique positioning, then you'll be forgotten. You'll get traffic, but it will bounce and never return again.

One way to define who you are, is by defining who you aren't. By taking a stand, you're aligning yourself with a specific set of beliefs or opinions. So by default, the "other guys" are your enemy.

This enemy could be a company, a trend, an industry, or an attitude towards business. But it's personal.

For example, Apple believes in amazing products, beautiful design, and easy-to-use interfaces. Their enemy is complexity, scope-creep, and the companies behind bad products. Here are some quotes from Steve Jobs:

"If, for some reason, we make some big mistake and IBM wins, my personal feeling is that we are going to enter a computer Dark Ages for about twenty years."
"Pretty much, Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart. We make it by innovation."
"The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don't mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their products."

Obviously you don't have to be this explicit. But you also don't have to guess about who Apple is, or what they stand for.

 

Tip #3. Do Less

Finally, do less.

When you don't have a lot of time, energy or money, then you need to focus where you invest to make a bigger impact. That means put more resources into fewer things. But what do you start?

1. Focus on the essential: Your website, your blog, and email marketing.

You own each of these channels (including all the data or content you're creating), and they're proven to be the most profitable channels. So start there. If your website is sub-par, your blog's content isn't engaging, or your email marketing is nonexistent, then start here first!

2. Focus on the highest ROI activities: Now figure out where you're receiving "uncommon" results.

Maybe your style of creating content resonates with people and you see a lot of engagement. Or maybe your Facebook page sends a ton of traffic back to your website. Whatever the case, you should be able to identify one or two tactics that are really giving you a lot of return.

There's absolutely no reason you need to prioritize more than two social networks. None. So don't follow what everyone's talking about. Pinterest for your business might be a waste of time.

Because most companies (outside of the Fortune 500) don't have enough time, money or staff to make the returns worth the cost. They will eat up a lot of your time and energy, without giving you the returns you need.

And your goal is to stand out, not fit in. So instead of spreading yourself too thin (like every other business), go deeper and create a more rich, fulfilling experience for your customers.

You'll get a higher ROI on your time & money, while also being able to stay sane in the process.

And you'll have a better chance of keeping people's attention, which is the first step of social media marketing.

FixCourse

Brad Smith

Partner, Codeless Interactive, LLC

Brad Smith is a Partner at Codeless Interactive, LLC, which specializes in custom web development and customer acquisition services.

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Comments

Kent Ong
Posted on July 23rd 2012 at 4:50AM

The most important is setting goals, without goals, we waste a lot of time on social media.

mmclaurin
Posted on July 24th 2012 at 1:43PM

Setting goals is valuable, yes, but all those things are involved in goal setting.  Social media is becoming less scalable by the moment.  You can't just write up a list of things you want to happen and expect anyone to magically make it that way.  There's a lot of experimentation involved.  It takes time and patience, and a committment to knowing who you are -- and aren't.

Mennlay
Posted on August 6th 2012 at 3:43PM

I agree. When setting goals, patience and experimentation is most definitley a virtue.  And with the vast amount advice being thrown from all areas of the "whether or not social media is good or bad" spectrum, it's best to do what obviously works best for your particular company.  And this is something I myself am still learning for my company.

Great post — Thanks!

Ray Bryant
Posted on July 23rd 2012 at 3:55PM

Great post. I especially like the first point about defining who you are.  It is critical to the success of any organization.

One of the ways we have worked with clients is to help them define what we call their "Company Story."  It encompasses all of the things you outlined plus a couple more.  One of the biggest impacts we see from this type of work is that it provides a common story for all employees to tell - a great thing when you are trying to get the message out.

One of the best examples we have seen of a "Company Story" (although we had no hand in developing it) is United States Liability Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary.  They have it nailed.

 

FixCourse
Posted on July 24th 2012 at 9:24AM

Thanks Ray. I really like the idea of the "Company Story", and like you said it goes way beyond a typical "mission statement" (that no employees care about).  People want to connect with stories - and organizations - that resonate with them. And it helps you create loyal customers who actually care about your company, not just people looking for a deal or bargain.

Louisa Chan
Posted on July 26th 2012 at 10:29PM

I like the bit about defining your own voice and taking a stance on social media platforms. Posting links without giving any stand does not add any value.

 

Louisa Chan