Friday, June 5, 2015

Bullhorn vs. Bridge When Marketing Your Small Business

Bullhorn Shouting

Your inbox shows you a message from a new social media contact which reads:

“Thanks for connecting with me on LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter. I’d like to offer you a special 15% discount on your carpet purchase……”

Offering a special to your readers or followers via social media is not a bad thing, however, there are 2 problems with the above offer:
1. He hasn’t earned the right to ask me for my business! I don’t even know this guy!
2. An auto-response containing an offer is horribly insincere. (Unless they have purchased or requested something from you)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years, you have encountered people who bulldoze every conversation with self promotion, which is about as effective as the street corner preacher screaming at passing pedestrians through a bullhorn.

Social media can be one of the greatest marketing tools in your business’ arsenal, but how do you engage and promote your business without turning off your reader?

1. Earn the right to ask.

Give value first, listen, and repeat. After several cycles of that, you have earned the right to ask. One of my favorite books on this topic is Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.

2. Share valuable content

Being a bridge that connects your reader or follower to content that they care about creates depth and value in your relationship in the eyes of the other person. This strategy also works well when connecting people at successful networking events.

3. One at a time

One of the most common questions I hear from small business audiences is, “There are so many social media channels, how do I use them all and have time to run my business?”
I recommend getting familiar with one social media channel for a few weeks, then add one new channel at a time. It is better to be great at something than to not suck that bad at everything!
One great resource I’d recommend is Twitter Power 3.0, written by my friend, Joel Comm. He is an ace at all things social media, yet explains everything in an entertaining non-geek language.

4. Use these free tools!

1. Create a good looking social media banner. If you aren’t a design ace, find someone on Fiverr to design a banner for you for $5.
2. Join a feed service like Feedly to help streamline your reading and industry news.
3. Join Buffer to schedule your Tweets and other social media communication.
4. Join Hootsuite  to help monitor your conversations and to communicate with your customers on Twitter.You can get up and running with all of these within an hour, and begin to enjoy the benefits of growing your business and credibility. 
Here is a short video I recorded for a small business audience I spoke to recently:

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