Category Archives: Social Media

Can a Small Local Business Survive Without Social Media?

Social media classes are in high demand. Business development groups are offering them. Chambers of commerce are offering them, because business owners are craving them.

They’re popular because setting up a business page on some social media site looks like a quick and easy way to have an internet presence. it’s not. In a recent post by Brian Solis, Social Media is not your saving grace, he outlines where a social media effort fits in a business’s striving for success.

I encourage you to read the whole post, but here’s the expanded Twitter version (a few more that 140 characters..):

The staff at Directions, Mt. Shasta.

If the business hasn’t thought through who their customer is, what their customer wants that the business can serve, and the unique way the business meets the customer’s needs, social media is a waste of time.

Success in social media means you know how to succeed in business. There has to be a success proposition behind any effective social media campaign.

Read Solis’ article to learn more about having a “success proposition.”

NOTE: The photo to the right is of the able and skilled staff at Directions, Mt. Shasta. Read on to learn more about them…

Let’s look at what “success proposition” means  for a real small local business.

I heard this week that a women’s clothing store in Mt. Shasta that I’ve talked about in workshops and trainings just sold. I hope that the new owners have spent time learning how this business has successfully weathered recessions, hard winters, and changing fashion trends. Here’s how the former owner’s success proposition made her business work.

Directions was in the business of making its customers feel better about themselves. Their top selling item when I last talked to Jane was jeans. But not just pants – “jeans that don’t make me look fat.” How can a clothing store make that kind of promise???

The sales team knows how to help customers get jeans that fit properly, and how to accessorize them for an overall pleasing look. They sell lots of pants. but they also sell a ton of accessories. AND, because there is a strong trust factor, they sell beautiful home accessories also. That sales promise generalizes when customer trust is strong.

This unique selling proposition moves perfectly into social media. Their primary social channels are their newsletter and their blog. Look at their website and think about how enticing that newsletter sign-up form is.

Here’s another example that I’ve talked about in several of the video training sessions here at Take Control, Himalayan Outback. The team at HO thoroughly understands the needs and desires of their three Perfect Customers types. If you’re one of those types, you’ll feel connection within a few seconds when you visit their website.

Facebook works well for them because every post, every picture reflects their connection, concern and solution to the problems and needs of their particular customers. it works because it is a result of hard behind the scenes work before a picture is posted or a word is written.

These examples reflect high use of social media – one shows up on Facebook. The other shows up in the face-to-face social media of good old-fashioned word of mouth as well as a newsletter strategy.

Here’s another great example of a social media following a success proposition:

How Facebook Is Helping a Successful Rural Tourism Business

 

 

 

 

Why Taking Control of Your Internet Marketing Means Losing Control

I have been working for the last week reorganizing ruraltourismmarketing.com. The RTMG blog was created in 2009 when I was a real blogging beginner, and I made some interesting errors that I’ve never corrected.

I’ve been slogging through all my past posts, adding them to newly created categories to make them more accessible to businesses like yours.

If you go to ruraltourismmarketing.com and look at the new menu bar, you’ll notice that it is easier to find all posts dealing with various aspects of internet marketing, business development, branding and more.

Take a look and enjoy. There are some pretty useful posts that have been buried because of an ancient, useless category system.

Mr. Splashy Pants logoWhile sorting through all these past posts I came across one that made me laugh, that illustrates one of the major points of internet marketing, the reality that it all depends on giving up control of our marketing message.

Please go to Social Media: Rural Tourism Business Success by Losing Control and be reassured that some things about internet marketing don’t change. This post was written in Spring 2010 and the embedded video was taped in 2009.

The thing that might have changed is your wariness about the three biggest concerns many people expressed back then about social media: privacy, time and loss of control.

We’ve seen big changes in how many social networking platforms address the privacy issue, although it is still a concern for many people.

Social networking has become so all-pervasive, many small business owners have calculated the cost/benefit and realize that being where people are searching and interacting requires devoting time to social media.

Lastly, considering loss of control of your marketing message may still be a concern, so watch the embedded video and be reassured.

Facebook Graph Search: Word of Mouth on Steroids!

Facebook Graph Search logo

2017 UPDATE: Facebook Search is still available and useful, but has been somewhat downplayed by the company for privacy concerns. It DOES exist, so check your privacy settings.

You already know that “friends” are an integral part of Facebook and “likes” are a necessary part of your business presence.

With Mark Zuckerburg’s recent announcement about the new Facebook Graph Search, those Facebook friends and likes will make old-fashioned, “word of mouth” a vibrant tool for finding what you need when you need it.

Be sure to watch the short videos at the link and then come back.

What does Facebook Graph Search mean for small local businesses?

In the past you might have depended on word-of-mouth for your primary marketing.

Some of you have attended one of my workshops and heard me refer to this as “Field of Dreams Marketing.” You might have figured that all you had to do was “build it and they would come.”

In the past when small towns were autonomous little units where townspeople bought everything locally, that worked pretty well. Then came big box stores and the internet and smartphones and tablets, and Field of Dreams Marketing didn’t work very well anymore. People shifted their word-of-mouth trust to their Facebook friends and strangers on Yelp, and small towns and their businesses were in a real pickle!

Now, along comes Facebook Graph Search and word-of-mouth marketing will challenge Google

Yes, I who have not been all that enthusiastic about Facebook have said it. Graph Search COULD become Google’s greatest headache and your greatest opportunity.

I’m assuming you’ve watched that little video at the link above, so I won’t explain how Graph Search works. You’ve seen it, so let’s look at the implications.

Once Facebook Graph Search rolls out the complete platform, sometime this year I expect, people will be able to find your businesses based on the relationship you’ve built with your own Perfect Customers who are on Facebook.

No keyword phrases, no SEO. Just good old-fashioned word-of-mouth with a new powerful twist. You create and nurture the relationships with your customers. They talk about you and what you do as part of their normal Facebook interactions. And when their friends use Graph Search to find, “(businesses) my friend’s use,” you show up.

How does this work with what you are learning at Take Control of Your Internet Marketing?

Some of you have emailed me to ask about how we approach Facebook in Module 2, where you create your personal profile and interact with your Perfect Customers as friends.

Graph Search makes that step a vital link. Your customers’ relationship with YOU is the most important component of your word-of-mouth success. For so many small local businesses – micro businesses – it is the passion, drive, vision and tenacity of ONE PERSON or ONE FAMILY that makes that business a success. Your Perfect Customer loves YOU and your business.

Here’s how that reality works on Facebook. You carry that relationship you build and nurture with each Perfect Customer into Facebook by “friending” your customers.

As you learn in the Module 2 lessons, you segment them onto a separate list, so that they don’t get everything you share with family and intimate friends. You interact with them on Facebook as friends, securing and growing that connection because you really, truly LIKE them.

Then, when you want to talk more directly about business, you create and maintain a Facebook Business Page for that purpose.

You have built the connections at your Facebook personal profile where you can actively connect with customers by friending them and follow their updates.

You build that relationship that ultimately leads to sales by just being yourself  talking about yourself and responding to their updates – typical Facebook interaction.

You take this strong relationship onto your Facebook Business Page when you’re ready to build and maintain it. These customer-friends will follow you there.

You benefit from Facebook Graph Search because of the strength of the bond you have created on Facebook with your customers. When their friends search through Graph Search for businesses like yours, that relationship will help to send them right to YOU.

It’s a step by step by step process, so realize that building that strong relationship through your Facebook Personal Profile is a first step, and we’ll help you get that robust Business Page up and running soon. It’s part of Module 5.

As I teach in workshops, your internet marketing strategy should be to build an action web, with every part of your internet marketing effort supporting every other part. Organic searches, review sites, websites, and social media all working together to help you connect with your Perfect Customer and creating a relationship that leads to sales.

Take Control is created to help you spin that action web in an order to support your success while giving you time to run your business and have a little extra time for family, friends and fun.

 Here are several additional past posts from RuralTourismMarketing.com re: Facebook’s importance to small local businesses:

Why Small Local Businesses Are Better At Facebook Than Big Business

Do Facebook Likes Mean They Love You?

 

You Think You Have Privacy On Facebook? Really??

hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil monkeysIf privacy is one of your primary concerns in life, then Facebook has an important message for you in their latest proposed updates to their data use policy.

Basically the message is, “If you’re THAT concerned about privacy, you shouldn’t be on Facebook!” I suggest that everyone go to  Facebook Site Governance,  and carefully read what you’ve gotten yourself into.

I personally treat Facebook like shouting from soapbox on a street corner of the busiest city in the world. My assumption and yours should be that whatever you put on Facebook is public, period.

Yes, you can and should set privacy settings and use lists to direct your messages to different audiences of friends. We teach you how to do that in Module Two here at Take Control.

But the reality is that if one of your friends shares your private message, it goes public to his or her friends and can go viral to the world!

Your Facebook Business Page is completely public.

If you want to say something really private to someone, tell them face to face. Don’t broadcast it on Facebook or Twitter!!

If you want to share what you’re doing with friends, but not necessarily the world, don’t use any of the social sharing options on Facebook!! And don’t access any other website using your Facebook Profile!!

The public, viral nature of Facebook is a business opportunity not a problem!

As you read through the proposed Rights and Responsibilities and the proposed Data Use Policy, think of how the system is stacked to help you grow your authority in your field and your increase your business.

1. It clearly states in the Data Use Policy that you shouldn’t use your personal profile to market your business.

Of course not! But, as we talk about in Module Two, it’s a perfect place for you to share your knowledge and experience with your friends who also happen to be your customers.

Read in your newsfeed about a friend having trouble with a toothache and you’re a dentist, what do you do? Share your expertise.

Read something shared by a friend detailing their friend’s trouble finding a place to have lunch with a pet and you offer outdoor seating? Share news of your outdoor seating and your restaurant!

Share your knowledge, resources, ideas, solutions and fun interesting tidbits relating to what you do, on your very public, personal newsfeed.  Don’t be a lurker (the term for people who read their newsfeed and never comment). Read and provide interesting, useful comments to everything possible.

Set up a Facebook Business Page for talking specifically about your business and not yourself!

2. Remember that “public” is truly public, but anything that is fun and interesting will get shared no matter what your privacy settings are.

As the Data Use Policy states, your friends who you allow to see your stuff are able to share anything you post, and it will be seen by all their friends.

This is viral marketing!! Because you are a small business owner, which means in many ways you are your business, post pictures and videos doing what you do – running and thinking about your business. Photos and videos are the most looked at and shared type of content. They will increase your visibility. Friends of your friends may come back to your profile to find out who this interesting person doing that funny thing really is.

Which leads us to point number 3.

3. Fully fill out your profile, prominently displaying a link to your Facebook Business page and your website. Set your profile to public and remember what that means.

Tell all the interesting details about what made you do what you do – businesswise. Keep private details off Facebook. If you don’t want your mother, your children, your preacher to know, don’t put it on Facebook!

Your reading, music and film likes can be an important way to build a greater picture of who your are, remembering of course, to keep your more controversial likes to yourself. Politics and religion can be so divisive, find a way to say something that will speak to most of your readers, unless your business is part of your religion or politics.

4. Read, read, read both the Data Use and Right and Responsibilities statements!

Most of us click that little button that every site or software download requires us to click to get access, without ever looking at the terms of service.

Don’t do that with the new Facebook info. They’ve written it so that every layperson can understand. Facebook has become so much a part of our lives, we need to be informed about how they use the information we entrust to them.

And, as I’ve shown, fully understanding this will give you control over how you can use one of the most powerful networking tools in the history of the human race, to grow your business and make you more money.

Here are several other past posts to help you figure out how to best use this marvelous business building resource.

Don’t Mess with Facebook Rights and Responsibilities!

Why Small Local Businesses Are Better At Facebook Than Big Business

 

Photo on Flickr by John Snape