Hold on to your seats, here’s the clincher: “The old way of doing business with your customers is gone, way gone. That flat marketing plan, the outmoded agency, those dusty print mailers still lingering in the file, that good ol’, one-way marketing communication, lives no more.
While social media provides businesses the opportunity for a communications renaissance, it is and should remain for the foreseeable future, a means to build and foster communities through engagement and participation. Success in this new arena will require the ability to be transparent, to be unique and refreshingly original, and to create and care for vibrant communities that inspire. That won’t happen through the ‘old way’, and we’re in luck, because the ‘new way’ is already well underway.
Let’s discuss how small businesses are adapting to this new landscape. Here’s the deal: The web has given communication the power of voice; a real, human voice. Peer reviews and people opinions are more influential than ever before. According to Edelman, “Someone just like me” has become the most trusted source of information today. Chris Brogan, co-author of Trust Agents, defines these influentials as, “people who use the web in a very human way to build influence, reputation, awareness and who can translate that into some kind of business value.” So, how do we do that, and how does that translate to real world business, today and right now?
First Step: Build a social media strategy. It can be simple, and may go something like this:
Listen. Remember, the old model’s gone, way gone. Who’s saying what online, and when, were and how are you involved? Are you not? Get involved.
Your Mark. How much conversation is out there on your subject and your business? What content does your communities value? How many people are talking about you, or about your subject?
Get Set. What’s out there, are there issues or opportunities? Is what’s not being said where you add value? Benchmark your position so you can measure your activities and success. Who is talking about your industry, subject, product, cause or service? Who contributes to your position? Who should you be taking to and why? What content can you provide that meets the needs of your communities?
Go. Based on what you learned in researching your budding social media strategy and content plan, pick the tools best suited for your strategy and get going. Distribute, connect, build relationships, engage, participate, and don’t forget the transparent and refreshingly original part. If it’s working, fantastic, if not, revise and keep going.
As always, good luck, The Savy Team.