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Social Media Marketing – Flagging Down Customers
Social media marketing can be explained in many ways and most are very complex for someone who has never used it or been in space. With so many new tools including Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Articles, Back Linking, Message Boards, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Vator, Pod Casts, Video, YouTube, it can be very overwhelming for everyone.
I spoke with Dummies author Wally Wang last night on our radio show and he even said it himself, “It’s something I know I have to do to sell more books, but that’s too much for me. There aren’t enough hours in the day”. Now, Wally may know more than most, as he’s an accomplished author and comedian, but he’s simply part of “the norm” as far as business people go in 2010. In my next article, I’ll outline the steps involved in building a campaign and orchestrating its activities, but for now let’s go over a quick analogy of how it works.
A long time ago, I lived a block north of Wrigley Field in Chicago with 4 of my groomsmen for my final year as a bachelor, before I married my wife. We had a great year. We were one of the only houses in the neighborhood and we actually had a backyard, with grass and a porch! This is a real rarity in big cities like Chicago. We were really looking forward to having a big summer of cooking and playing games with the Cubs (I don’t hate the Cubs, but I’m a White Sox fan – for the record), but when it came time to make a choice on the swimming pool, I noticed more and more that people were making a killing with the parking fees in the neighborhood. So, being the entrepreneur that I am, I decided on other plans for the backyard.
So, I went to the Home Depot and bought all the necessary tools and rented a dumpster and before we knew it we were laying gravel and excitedly preparing for the next game. We had turned our backyard into a parking lot, what? We did the math and figured out that we would all be able to pocket our entire paycheck each month because we could charge $25 per seat and we now had 15 seats!
Well, the next day the Cubs played the Pirates and there weren’t many people at the game. Two of us had taken the subway back to the neighborhood during our lunch breaks and stood on opposite corners of the street directing stragglers from other lots to our places. We ended up having 6 cars and only made $20 each, what a disappointment! It lasted a week and once the parking lot was finished we walked around the other parking lots and noticed they were full. What did they have that we didn’t? They had 6-9 flaggers with bright red flags and signs telling drivers where to park. They had covered every corner and their lots were marked with names and colors.
So we went to the police station and asked them where the busiest corners were during Cubs games. We hired more flaggers and gave them bright (yellow) signs and offered a free beer to anyone over 21 who parked with us. For the next game we had more cars than we could fit and we were getting $35-$45 per seat!!! We now had this good coverage and good clientele heading our way, all because we had brilliant flaggers in the right places, who you couldn’t miss, pointing and guiding the parkers to our pitch. See below for actual coverage:
Social media, the new neighborhood
So, as I got into social media and learned how to use it for business, I started thinking about the easiest ways to explain how it works to those who don’t. had not yet been initiated into it. Of course, there are a million ways to do it, but I try to keep things as simple as possible. Now, most people understand the following things about the Internet and their business: they need a website, they need email, they need the Internet, they need someone. to do “SEO” for them and they need HELP!
What they often forget to think about are all the things that go with those basics, such as: the website, loading speed, quality content, calls to action, a blog, and the ability to Web 2.0 connection to social sites. These essentials are for the website only, which I’ll call “the parking lot” for this section. Your parking has to be good or people won’t pay anything for it. There must be something that makes you better than all the other parking lots. Offer a free download in exchange for an email address to stay connected with your visitors, just like a free beer in the parking lot.
Now to have the lot and give away free stuff to keep people in the know, but the most important thing to do is get people to park, right? Having a great website with all the bells and whistles is a wonderful thing, but not as important as it used to be. Remember that the Internet is nothing more than a virtual world and everything has roles similar to those in the real world. So if this is true and your website is like your parking lot (or a direct representation of your business), is it more important to have a flashy design and little content or tons of good fresh content? The answer is simple, content is king, always. So, make the place where people come to park fruitful and full of information about you and your business so that they want to know more and spend money. The Web 2.0 generation is all about education and creating informed buyers.
With a great content-driven website, we now need to get that one thing that 99% of the world can’t understand, targeted, demographically determined web traffic. There are two ways to go to this arena, throw an inflatable gorilla on the roof or pop people out and wave people in. In reality, you should do both, however, most people can only afford one or are afraid to try the other.
Well, you can spend $10,000 on a big SEO package (the bouncy gorilla) and hope it works. But what encourages the visitor to come and see you? Is it because you appeared first on Google? They will click on it and check you out in all other areas of the web right after seeing your site, believe me. They will check that you have a good reputation and that you have done something other than blow up a gorilla. They want CONTENT. So the other way is to hire these flaggers! These flaggers will be everywhere they look, even if it’s the opposite direction of the gorilla! They’ll wear shirts displaying your message, hats that show when you were last on the news, pants with pictures of your business and/or family or both, and they can even play a stereo with your last podcast or radio appearance. he.
Social Media Breadcrumb
The other way to think of these flaggers, or any flagger, is to think of them as bread crumbs that lead to your website or parking lot. Now breadcrumbs aren’t a given at work of course, but they’re very useful for hungry visitors to find their way around. The way it all works is simple, use your own experiences in the world to think like your consumers. What do you do when you are looking for something to buy or a place to go or someone to hire for a service? Like 80% of the country, you probably log on and type a keyword into Google. Once the results appear, you click on 5-6 sites and read 18% of the page, you get bored and move on to the next one. If you have the choice, you watch a video instead of an article, instead of a website, a third-party endorsement instead of a website, etc.
Since that’s the case, we need to think like our customers in order to start finding them! It means we have to play the game they are playing and be better at it. Social media can also be seen as a breadcrumb leading to you and what you really stand for.
Imagine starting on the south side of town and trying to find a parking spot on the north side of your parking lot. To save time, let’s assume they start in the lower right corner of the image below. In the social media breadcrumb example, the crumbs are also flag men. They attract hungry readers and point them in the right direction. In this example, the hungry visitor or parker sees something you tweeted on Twitter (hopefully you followed as well) and it caught their attention. From there they took your username and found you in a chat room and started reading your blog.
The information they found attracted them and prompted them to pursue their research further. So they clicked the Facebook button on your blog and it took them to your Facebook page where they read about the great things you do, saw videos, and even connected with you. They also saw a link to your podcast and clicked on it so they could listen to you speak. Let’s just say they heard you do your own online radio show about your industry and were blown away by your professionalism. They then returned to Google and wanted to know more, read what they liked and ended up on your Flickr page or watching your videos on YouTube. After following your breadcrumbs on social media, they end up parking on your lot, which is like money in your pocket.
The importance of being available
As you can see in this case, a good visitor to your website is one who is ready to buy. They come with information about you and what you stand for and intend to do business with. People no longer search for websites like fish search for shiny things, they’ve seen them all. What they are looking for is information, content and appeal. More important than what they are looking for is the fact that they are looking for. More than 50% of Facebook users on the planet are 38 and older, this is the generation that created the waste of time on the web and passed it on. The average Internet user increases the time he spends on the web by more than 10 minutes per week each year. The thing is, they’re out there looking and what do you do to be available when they do?
By Eric Rice
President, Boum Media
San Diego Social Media
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