I have been working in social media now for more than a decade and I have pretty much seen it all – from really nasty trolls to people still trying to using old school tactics to misusing channels and on and on. In reality though the #1 reason people fail at social media is basic and completely avoidable and here’s how:
Not knowing your audience is actually quiet significant. If you don’t know who you are speaking to, it is hard to speak their language. For example, if you have kids you know that each child has his or her own personality. The tone and words you use with one child may not work as well with another. The same is true for your prospects and customers. If you only speak in your industry lingo and/or use terms that they don’t use, you might as well be speaking klingon.
Also keeping with this theme is the fact that if you don’t know your audience, you don’t likely know where they are hanging out, what they are reading, what forums they belong to, what social networks, etc. In the good ole days, if we had big budgets we could throw a bunch of money at newspaper and/or trade magazine ads and we were likely to catch the attention of many. This is not as effective today. Instead, we need to be better informed. We need to know and understand all of these pieces of information about our customers. So, how do you do this? Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Develop Customer Personas
Customer personas are fictional representations of your prospects or customers that help you segment them, determine what role they play in the buying decision, what interests they have, how they make decisions and more. When done well, they really make a difference for marketing your product and/or service.
2. Don’t Jump into Social Media
Ideally, you will seek guidance on how best to approach using social. But, if you can’t do that, never jump right in. First “listen.” In the “business” this means sign up for some networks and learn how to use the tool – I mean actually use it, but without pushing or promoting your business. First just listen and watch to see how are others are using it. Here are some quick reads to help you:
- 3 Clues that Your Social Media Consultant is Clueless
- 5 Ways Small Business Can Leverage Social Media for Real-time Market Research
- Don’t Feed the Trolls – Research Reveals Psychopathy
3. Hire for Expertise
On more than a few occasions I have met and worked with people who, for whatever reason, didn’t want to hire a person with marketing expertise. Instead they hired believing that the person could acquire experience over time. It didn’t work out. Most people I know don’t have that luxury of time in their business.
That’s where I came in. As a Marketing Practitioner with a great deal of experience, I and people like me can at the very least, guide you through the process and help you make SMART hiring decisions. I have helped more than a few business owners through this process by developing their strategy with them, including policies, processes, etc. Then I helped them hire people who while not having all the experience and expertise, have the potential. As a result, the new hires have a higher probability of success. They have the road map, policies and processes to guide them through the initial days. I also prepare a learning plan and act as mentor during a set and agreed upon period.
There is of course more to marketing that what I am eluding to above, but it is a starting point. And, if you have additional points or insight to add, please chime in. Comments are of course welcome.
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