What Happened to the Good old Days?
With the nature of commerce trending more and more to online channels, small business owners today face many unique challenges. In the not too distant past, we may have found the Yellow Pages or registering with the local chamber of commerce and Better Business Bureau to be sufficient advertising for a local business. In today’s hectic online marketplace, the vast number of communication channels and advertising projects can seem like too much to handle. So how do we consolidate our communication channels and get back to the relative level of advertising simplicity we used to enjoy?
Managing the Mayhem
With all of the various communication channels and social media platforms that we engage on, there is an understandable sense of being overwhelmed. How can we, as occupied business owners or marketers find the time to draft content for, and maintain engagement through all of these networks. The simple answer is don’t. I would be comfortable in assuming that if you are still in business, you have found a way to engage your customers and to communicate the unique value or experience your business provides. If that message has been effective and your customers have been receptive to it, why should that change with a broader audience?
Making Media Work for you
I’m not saying you shouldn’t use social media or other online channels to engage existing or potential customers. I would suggest however, that instead of taking time out our already hectic schedules to do so, that we instead find a way to make the time we do have more effective. Instead of feeling obligated to create something new and unique for each audience, why not tell them about the great things you’re already doing? Ideally, you could use your website as a hub of information for customers, letting them see what’s new with your business, what you’re doing in the community and other items of interest. Then, find a way to repurpose and leverage that content using your various social media accounts. For more on writing great content for your business, check out this other excellent article.
Keeping a Cohesive Approach with Content
Given the restrictions of character counts, post lengths and the like it seems to make intuitive sense to reference existing content rather than trying to represent your brand with such tight restrictions. This way, you are also tailoring each post to drive traffic and interest to your website and these types of visitors are the ones most likely to turn into new customers. An additional benefit of this style of communication is that your image remains consistent and your brand is represented in the same light across all of your points of contact. Aside from repurposing content to save time, there are other ways to consolidate your communication and maintain that concise and consistent message we’re striving for.
Collaborating for Message Consistency
Sometimes as an overwhelmed marketer, we are forced to delegate. How can we keep a consistent message when so many employees are putting their respective stamp on our communications? You may find that a universally accessible message hub is the best way to go. There are various cloud-based software programs and distributed marketing services that serve this function rather nicely and are accessible on the go, so maintaining image consistency is simple. You may also discover that consolidating your social media accounts into one dashboard and planning your posts in advance can give you a more cohesive and consistent approach to your online communications. There are several tools that can be used for this purpose such as TweetDeck, and Hootsuite that are easily adaptable and require little initial effort on your part.
There may be some who have yet to expand into these various communication channels. Regardless of how easy technology can make things, this technology can be expensive and the staff to manage these accounts are even more costly. However, investing in the right people and technology can make your life much easier and your company that much more effective in its promotion. The resources to attract and engage customers can be an invaluable resource to a budding startup. While cost may be an issue, if you are confident that your efforts will be successful, there are sources of funding available to get the ball rolling on your expansion campaign.
All of these tips and tools can save a tremendous amount of time and allow for less labor-intensive management of all your accounts and the employees that manage them. Not only will you eliminate the clutter and stress from your engagement efforts, but you will be able to effectively deliver useful information that presents your business in a positive light and drives intent and engaged buyers to your website. Don’t let the stresses of the internet age get you down. The simple days may be gone, but we can uncomplicated our lives tremendously if we learn to work smarter.
Jim Rutherford is an avid reader of Forbes and fishing blogs when he’s not working his day job as a writer for VMC Capital.