The purpose of the session is to find out how small companies with small budgets can freely tap the world of social media to improve business and increase sales.
Here’s what we learned from Jennifer Evans Laycock:
Take the ‘marketing’ out of Social Media Marketing because it isn’t about marketing, but rather about conversations.
In addition, there is a reason social media is called the bleeding edge, because it can hurt especially if approached in the wrong way.
Remember, when you are developing marketing plans, that the goal is not to integrate the latest big thing but rather to integrate what works. As a small guy, the people on the leading edge are other marketers and not likely to be your prospect. There’s nothing wrong with leveraging pre-established social tools.
What social media sites should you use when getting started? Jennifer recommends:
Flickr – Post images to draw people in and start conversations about relevant topics. You can also start by engaging in conversations already happening around relevant images.
Twitter – Twitter is an instant way to communicate and share information. In addition, if you provide valuable information it’s likely that one of your followers will re-tweet your information expanding the reach of your content.
Get involved by understanding who you should follow and who you want to follow you.
YouTube – Second only to Google in terms of sites where people search online. Optimize for YouTube, like you optimize for SEO and make sure your videos are found.
LinkedIn - Leverage LinkedIn to make connections with influential people by understanding how many degrees separate you. Ask your connections for an introduction and continue to expand your network.
Question: How do you pull yourself away from traditional marketing? As a small business there is a perception that you still have to invest in offline marketing.
Answer from Amber Naslund:
What we’ve found is that as we built our community organically, we were also creating loyal customers and goodwill from non-customers. The insight you can get from being engaged with your customers one-to-one is more valuable than metrics you will get from traditional media.
Question: What about a customer base that trends older or those that are ‘scared’ of Twitter, etc.
Answer from Christina Kerley:
So many seniors are becoming tech savvy, especially as they work longer. The short answer is that if you help educate an audience, they will be more loyal to your brand for having helped them.
Answer from Jennifer:
Keep in mind that social media are the conversations happening online. Audiences may not be aware of the technology facilitating the conversation.
Answer from Amber:
Really think about who your target market is. Social Media is not for every business. If you are a local liquor store and all your customers are in a two block radius, you probably don’t need a social media presence.
Question: How do small businesses get over the fear of social media?
Answer from Christina: If someone is saying something negative, they have probably already said it elsewhere and to other people. By telling you directly, they are doing you a favor by making you aware of the problem and giving you a chance to fix it.
Answer from Amber: Social media did not create criticism. What we have now is an amazing opportunity to listen better, solve problems and help create happy customers.
Stoney deGeyter, President, Pole Position Marketing
Amber Naslund, Director of Community, Radian6
Jennifer Evans Laycock, Director of Social Media, SiteLogic
Christina Kerley, Marketing Specialist, ckEpiphany
Tim Kendall, Director of Monetization, Facebook