The FAX machine was patented in the 1800’s.
It wasn’t until the late 1970’s that the Japanese created a smaller, more economical fax machine. It was revolutionary.
It changed how people sent documents. It saved time, money and energy. It didn’t change your business.
Lawyers were still lawyers, plumbers were still plumbers, and candlestick makers were still making candles.
So what does the dinosaur fax machine and social media have in common?
Like the fax machine, social media is not going to change what you do.
More importantly, it will not make bad businesses good or good businesses bad. It won’t make mega successes out of poorly operated businesses.
Social Media is an equal opportunity provider, strong businesses will grow, bad businesses will suck out loud on a global scale.
You need social media
Back in the 70‘s and 80‘s, it would be silly for businesses not to use the fax machine.
Today, it will be impossible not to use social media and stay relevant.
Here are some common sense steps from a non social media expert.
Step One: Understand the role you play in your success.
If you were struggling with your traditional advertising, plan to struggle with social media. You
can’t treat social media like a fad diet and keep your bad eating habits and expect success.
Advertising, both social and traditional, tells your story. If you are starting off with a bad story, your results will mirror that story.
I suggest, beg is a better word; but “suggest” sounds more professional, that you spend some time examining your business.
- Create a list of what needs to be ﬁxed, thrown away, or cleaned up.
- Get real honest with yourself, how much do you really know about your business? Average Sale, Store Traffic, Highest Selling product, etc. One of Social Media’s many strengths is the measurement component. How are you doing with your key component measuring?
- Do you have a long-term plan? Can you ﬁnd it? Social Media can be a like a 4-lane interstate to success, but you have to provide the map, you have to know to where you are going.
- Do you know why your good customers are doing business with you?
- More important, do you know why people are not doing business with you?
Do not allow the simplicity of these questions fool you. Simple does not erase the danger of ignorance.
Step Two: Perspective
Social Media is not a genie in a bottle that will automatically bring you all that you have ever
hoped to achieve in three easy wishes.
You have built your business through sweat, tears, sacrifice and dedication. Do not buy into the
get rich quick attitude of social media. Social Media is like any other business; it takes planning,
work, budget and sacrifice.
Step Three: Commitment
Commit to Social Media.
Stop ﬁghting it. If you think of Social Media as your Sister-in-law on farm-ville, you are wrong.
Social Media is like losing 30 pounds, it is going to take commitment, hard work, and sweat. You can’t skip a meal on Sunday and expect to see major improvement on the scale on Monday.
Follow businesses on social media. See what you like and don’t like.
Ask your customers? Determine your customer’s social media habits with an in store survey.
Step Four: Find a Mentor
Social Media is like anything else in the world; there are tremendous trainers and there are hacks. Find a tremendous trainer and be a good student.
I am going to give you 4 people I recommend you check out.
- Michael Hyatt’s Platform University. I was introduced to Michael through his book, “Platform” I joined Platform University this month (July 2013), it is helpful, easy to use, and will get you up to speed quickly. (I also appreciate that Michael does not call himself a Social Media Expert. I agree with him, there are no social media experts — things are changing too fast)
(Find out more information about Platform University here)
- Sandy Krakowski at a Real Change. Sandy is a trip. You are either going to love her or she will be too intense for you. I have learned a great deal from Sandy.
(Find out more about a Real Change with Sandy Krakowski here)
- Social Triggers with Derek Halpern. Derek is a combination of in your face and laid back kind of dude. His information is direct and to the point and very helpful. People are people, whether you are dealing with them face to face or through social media. Derek’s teaching is very valuable.
(Find out more about Derek Halpern and Social Triggers here)
- Kim Garst provides some great insight. I enjoy reading her information. She is also very diligent in her work, which is a great example.
(Find out more about Kim Garst here)
- Make a list of all the items you need to ﬁx in your business.
- Prioritize the list from the simplest to the hardest. You may not have the cash to do everything on the list. You will be surprised how many items can be completed with sweat and elbow grease. Always be working on improving your story; a great story is easier to tell!
- Think about ALL the questions that you and your team hear daily. Create a List.
- Create “Free Reports” from those questions. Think like a customer. You know what you know, because it is what you do. The customer does not have your knowledge or expertise, help them with your knowledge.
- “Trade” those free reports for people’s name and email addresses. If you are not familiar with Aweber (my favorite) or Constant Contact, educate yourself. Having a strong, active mailing list is vital for successful social media efforts.
- Do not worry about the numbers at ﬁrst. Try to ignore the, “I added 10,000 names in 10 minute stories.” I am sure that it happens occasionally but that should not be your goal. If you added 30 names in 30 days, you have an opportunity to create crazily committed customers.
- Don’t be stingy. People go to the web for information. If you are always in sell mode, you will be seen as “that guy/girl”. The more information people get from you, the greater credibility you build.
To be successful with any type of advertising you need a great story (business). Traditional advertising provides a general introduction, Social Media helps you build a strong relationship.
With the right story, right plan, and hard work, you can be a social media success.
Go Make it Happen.
After seeing small business owners struggle with advertising, Steve Willoughby created Speaking of Willoughby to help. Helping Frustrated Advertisers Become Successful Marketers is goal one. Steve is a marketer, speaker, leader, and radio host. His two favorite roles are husband to his wife, Derinda, and Dad to his daughter, Tara, (and son-in-law, Eric) and son, Russell. Steveʼs philosophy is simple, Advertising is Telling your Story, Marketing is everything that builds it. The better your story (business) the easier it is to tell. For speaking engagements or interviews, contact Steve. Image courtesy marc falardeau