Im confused about how to use social media for my local business, and overwhelmed, and don’t know where to start?
“Two weeks of research and I’m more confused than ever!
I have been researching for the best way to approach our practices social media campaign. Many of my linkedin connections have graciously given their opinion and many have recommended qualified company’s to handle it but after discussing with several company’s I find myself more confused than when started.
Some say start a twitter campaign for real time conversations and they all say stay active in our facebook account. OK I get that but there have been a few company’s that suggested opening social bookmarking accounts and citation accounts. The latter I had never heard of until now. Even using youtube has made it into the conversations. At the end of the day all we need is a good return on our investment.”
Hi Catherine, I see two main problems that you are having with “getting how to use social media,” and both are very common, so don’t feel bad.
1) Businesses and business owners get tips from lots of places, and they are all usually very useful tips!
But me telling you about youtube, and then you turning around and hearing about social bookmarking, and then running into sally who tells you about how awesome twitter is, and then even BEFORE you implement ONE of those things, someone gives you conflicting advice about something you were getting ready to go try…
There is a lot of techniques, there are many things to try.
On and on. This can be a problem because its hard enough to just get online and try the ONE thing you were going to try, get the results, and then measure that and then figure out what you need to adjust without being distracted.
Its overwhelming. But im not trying to discourage you. Just understand that this is the internet, these things take time to learn to learn and figure out how to use for your business.
THE REAL PROBLEM here is that these businesses don’t have a context, or a strategy that cohesively creates a bigger picture, and outlines objectives built on the brands goals AND realistic expectations.
2) The problem with social media is that it is fluid, changing, active, it is NOT an A+B=C advertising method.
However, i’ll try to break it down like this…
You are engaging in social media because you want to use it to build your brand, engage with your market, attract
new leads, and eventually win loyal new customers.
You need to build an audience, and then you need to engage that audience, you do that by offering valuable content, or clever incentives to reach these people through targeted channels where your audience may be.
Its about relationship building and establishing your credibility…
and if they continue to like you and what you’re about, then you’ll start to get leads and calls from people saying stuff like “hey im finally calling you, i’ve been getting your tips on twitter for some time, and they’ll sound excited like they are talking to the one and only dentist in town.”
Are you the local dentist who is well branded, responds to questions about teeth whitening, pops up in the search engines, regularly blogs, posts tips for taking care of your teeth on twitter, comes to linkedin to educate people who have questions that you can answer?
Its part of a strategy, that all works together and it doesn’t usually happen by accident.
Someone found your website because they searched in google and you showed up, they liked your site and your brand was appealing and you incentivized them to like your Facebook, or follow you on twitter, and now they are allowing you to develop a relationship, so you create some good video content and answer their questions, and every now and again promote a special offer. But you always answer their questions, and you always think of how you are providing THEM value.
You write a few articles like how to keep your teeth from falling out, and some more people find you. Etc.
You can see how things add up and work together… Its not like… i go onto twitter, get an account, sign up for the auto follow service, post some stuff about what you’re doing every once in a while, go onto Facebook, post some stuff every once in a while, and wonder why nothing is happening.
So in terms of where you should start?
Start by thinking of how you can serve your market anything of value. I’d start by checking out if there are other people in your town or locale that are doing what you envision, or would like the end result to look like, and note that.
If you don’t know what you’ d like that end result to look like, go see what they are doing, mirror the things that you like, improve on the things that you don’t.
Is there even anyone in your local market doing anything like what i just described?
The Basic Next Steps?
Start developing some content for your blog, post at least once a week, throughout that week, post a link to your Facebook and twitter accounts, and anything else that you find relevant like tips and articles etc.
Beg/borrow/steal as many testimonials, likes, and follows from your existing patient and email lists.
Keep creating good content, keep engaging your audience, keep building links, keep measuring your results.
It boils down to this…
In order to find out what is going to work for your company… You are going to need dedicate quite a bit of time to figuring that out.
If you are going to learn the ropes yourself and dedicate yourself to it, you should test one thing at a time, and you’ll need to determine how many resources you can allocate, in time and labor. You need to figure out what is going to get you the most impact for YOUR brand… There are a few key parameters to look at.
Or you can hire a company… Hit or miss really… Who may do a good job, and may tell you what they’re doing, and may just continue to do the bare minimum for your monthly retainer. Now you’re in a situation where they’re not motivated to do more, and they’re counting on you not knowing how to keep them accountable, because you don’t know how any of it works.
Anyway, this is a problem that happens too often.
I really think you should start with a market assessment and then have someone build a strategy that works for you.
I do this for businesses, am very transparent, am not out to over-charge or lock anyone into a contract, i enjoy doing this.
Building a plan for each business, and then based on the goals, resources, etc. determine what would be right.
Wow. I just started typing and couldn’t stop here. Sorry for the length, hope it helps answer your questions.
If you want to talk, my assessment and strategy session is free. In any case, best of luck, and feel free to post any more questions you may have, and i’ll try to give you a good honest, actionable answer.