Ah the “buzz” around social media is burning like a wild fire out of control – it’s the bright shiny bauble of our time. Everywhere you turn there’s another guru offering yet another “product” promising to provide everything you need to know to harness the power of social media and magically build your business. The only problem is these programs often are guilting of forgetting what social media really is – it’s PEOPLE behind those screen names.
Promising a magic marketing with technology is nothing new. About a decade ago, there was another bright shiny techno-bauble being lauded as the magic marketing technology anyone could use to effortlessly build their business – an online email newsletter.
Time passed and before long email marketing newsletters lost their shiny new appeal. The “buzz” ceased and they were no longer lauded as the “fast, easy magically delicious” way to build your business online. Just because the buzz has died doesn’t meant that email newsletters are no longer a powerful online marketing tool. It just means that the “gurus” have moved on to the next “hot topic” – which is currently social media. Want to use Twitter to sell more stuff? There’s at least a dozen gurus offering webinars as you read this on how to sign up and use Twitter. The darlings of the day these days are currently Facebook and Twitter – though 18 months ago it was Myspace.com and prior to that it was business blogs which are just now beginning to display the evidence of the promises made five years ago.
Just because the hype has moved on doesn’t mean that any of these “past” beauty queens are not still lovely when viewed through the lens of creating marketing magic. As a matter of fact, none of these technological tools ever officially ended their reign as valuable online marketing tools. Smart business owners didn’t drop their email newsletter when social media came knocking – they used social media to build their list. In my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results, I talk about the phenomenon of email marketing newsletters and how those with a solid marketing strategy in place simply integrated this new tactic. Just because a tactic is shiny and new doesn’t mean it’s valuable – or worthless. A paintbrush in the RIGHT hands can create beauty – Social media marketing tactics can also create beautiful bottom line figures when implemented within a solid marketing strategywhich is focused upon meeting your end consumers’ GDP – (Goals, Desires, Problems) – email newsletters, business blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all have the potential to grow your business.
I was recently afforded the opportunity to “listen in” on recording of an online sales training class being run by one of my clients. She too preaches the “gospel” of “focus upon your customer’s GDP” to create a solid business base. One gentleman on the call was nicknamed by his peers “The Load”. He began the call with a description of how LOUSY his business had been over the past few years – living up to his nickname quite nicely. (My thought when listening to him – “Oh my goodness – he should NOT have a blog!!! I think that’s why my client was sharing this call with me… but that’s another story!) The Load introduced himself on the call by moaning and groaning about how LOUSY business had been for the past few years. Yet later in the class I heard him tell the story of how he’s changing his behavior. He said, “I recently had a customer who was asking the sun moon and stars. Before taking your class, I would have told them to get lost – we don’t DO THINGS like that around here. Instead – because of your class – I listened to them and we focused upon meeting their needs. We did a lot of extra work but we were well compensated. They’re happy – and we made a lot of money on this sale so we’re happy as well.”
When The Load launched his business, delighting the customer was never a part of the plan. When he delighted his first customer, only then did he begin building a foundation upon which a social media campaign could be launched. If that customer tells their friends via Facebook or Twitter – that’s the beginning of social media marketing. However, even if that customer is NOT using social media – yet – they still have connections where they can tell their story. There’s no limit to the bet I’d make that suddenly – everything in The Load’s business will start turning around. His phone will begin ringing – and he’ll have the opportunity to delight more customers.
The Load addressed the unseen business killers at work in his business and began focusing upon the consumer. If he keeps on track, soon he’ll be ready to begin to harness the power of consumer controlled conversations – a.k.a. social media- and put it to work building his business.