Social Media Marketing Taps The Spirit of Entrepreneurship

12/08/2008

Crayon It takes imagination infused with courage to bring a new way of doing business into the mix .. for a small business owner or the ceo of a Fortune 50 company. Brave with vision to take calculated risks is the way I think of entrepreneurs.  In today's down economy it is especially critical that small business owners tap into that spirit, step out of their comfort zone and color outside the lines.

Social media marketing is certainly one direction to pursue. However, even for a small business owner whose success depends on business done with innovation the openness that social strategies bring, along with the myth of lack of control (a post for another day), can be uncomfortable. Here are a few ideas to help ease on down the social media road.
 
Cost is in Time and People Not Dollars

Success for most businesses draws on three resources: human capital, financial capital and time capital. It's no secret that too often small business owners find them self short on all three. However, time capital is what most small business owners take from the resource bank.

Social media helps small business owners work smarter on limited resources/budgets. Most social marketing tools .. or to put into business vernacular .. tactics such as blogs, social networks, social sharing (e.g., videos, photos) are free so the investment is not in dollars or financial capital but in human capital and time capital.
 
Planning Is Critical

As with any marketing strategy (for a small business, a Fortune 100 company or a non profit) social media marketing must begin with understanding the organization's goals, objectives and defining success. Too frequently small business owners put "planning" last on their list of business to dos.

However, without a plan social media is but a cool conversation topic at your next cocktail party and not a business decision. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of a YouTube video or creating an "in vogue" Facebook page. It's even easier to fail in the world of social media.
 
5 Get Started Social Media Marketing Strategies

1. Google Alerts - While more internet marketing than social media, creating Google Alerts provides you with a free way to keep tabs on the pulse of your industry. Google pulls its sources from news sites to blogs. Create several alerts that include: key words for your industry, your company name, branded products and throw in an "ego alert" with your name. Social pundits call this listening to the conversation.

 2. LinkedIn - LinkedIn has a reputation of a pure business networking and is an ideal first step into social media networking. It can be used to support strategies from building business-to-business relationships to creating stronger brands. 

3. Microblogging/Twitter - No time for a Big strategy? Micro blogging, a la Twitter, is the place to explore. 140 characters per message or "tweet" is perfect for busy entrepreneurs to not only develop relationships but extend your personal network. Pop in several times during the course of the day to connect with different people.
 
4. Facebook - For companies with target audiences who are active in Facebook, there are two ways to go. One is with a personal page and the second is building a group page for "fans." In addition to branding, Facebook provides an opportunity to "mix" it up with your customers and build stronger relationships.

5. Blogs - Of all the social media tactics blogs can become one of your most valuable social media assets. Creating relationships through conversations in your virtual 'home' can be powerful. You can authentically reinforce your brand promise, ask for feedback from your customers, build thought leadership positioning, provide extended customer delight support. And if that were not enough .. increase your lift in the search engines.

Buyer beware .. these benefits do not come without a price .. and that price is more human and time resources than Google Alerts, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
 
Something interesting happens when you step from behind the perfect world of a carefully crafted advertising campaign or a media release built by committee .. the spirit of entrepreneurship is set free too.

Inspired by my interview with Jim Schakenbach - The Power of Words

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Comments

Toby,

Excellent overview. I use each of the resources you describe and they have greatly helped to get my business noticed.

Posted by: Lewis Green on Dec 11, 2008 11:30:45 AM

I think business owners right now should def. try different things that they might have not in the past because the playing field is changing.

Posted by: Nick Stamoulis on Dec 12, 2008 10:55:01 AM

Most businesses do not succeed with this type of marketing because they don't take time to make relations with people. It is very important to make people trust you.

Posted by: TheMarketingEffect on Apr 15, 2009 8:14:48 AM

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