Here’s a question I got the other day, thought I’d share it and my answer here:
Hi Jorgen, I mentor (on a voluntary basis) small business leaders who want to market themselves in a more up to date way- is using social media the answer and where do they start? Often they don’t have the time (only 1 or 2 staff) and usually haven’t developed the skills themselves to use it. Some of the older generation are afraid of it. I fear though that some of the traditional methods aren’t working for them and it may cost them their business. Can you help?
Social media can be a very cost effective way to market yourself and your company. When I say cost effective I mean in pounds and pennies, there is still a cost in time and effort that has to go in to a successful social media presence.
In this case I would look at the bigger picture and the actual business challenges these leaders face. Do they have a great product but not enough customers? Or do they have customers but can’t find the right talent? Or do they want to learn more about their industry and perhaps even see what the competition is up to?
Whatever the challenges may be, it’s worth focussing your effort on one or two particular themes. Once you know you want to, say, have more sales meetings with with operations directors about HR software – it’s easy to zoom in on this target audience and activity.
I would explain to these small business leaders that social media isn’t any different to the business they have always done, it’s just a conversation tool at the end of the day. Social media can let you target, approach and have great online chats with prospects but the end game will be to take that chat offline.
Some salespeople I know will use Twitter as the first line of contact, as it’s an open channel. Once you have got on someone’s radar there, you may choose to connect on LinkedIn. From there you could start emailing, then have a chat on the phone and finally meet up in person. You could see social media as an extension of your sales funnel in other words.
Another consideration is to start on a small scale. I typically recommend that you start with one social network, let’s say LinkedIn. Build up your network there, understand how it works and only once you are very comfortable with it should you explore the next one.