I’m Dave Williams a Business Steward, it’s alright if you’ve never heard that title before as I invented it to describe what I do. Over the last 6 years I’ve been talking with, teaching, training, consulting and guiding business owners to reach their goals, before which I worked for 12 years in Ottawa’s restaurant community and during which I worked for 5 years in the real estate community.
I love to read and write, imagine and create.
One of the keys to my success in life has been the ease of which I connect with people using Social Media. I’m LinkedIn, I Tweet, author 2 blogs (this one, the Idea Vault and The World of Origo) and hopefully a third to be added soon as I revamp the Rebirth mythos.
So Let’s get started.
WHY? One of the key questions I ask business owners when they want to do something is Why. The way I see it you need a CLEAR picture of where you are going if you want to get there quickly and easily. If i show you a map of Ottawa, it won’t help you get here to the Cyrville Community Center, but if I gave you the address then you’d be equipped to find your way here.
So here’s the question for you, WHY Social Media? Don’t worry I’ll help you answer that.
Right now, as of the end of 2010 it’s been reported that 73% of North American Companies are using social media as a marketing tool and it’s expected to rise to 88% by the start of 2012. Over 1.5 million local businesses have a social media profile dedicated to their business.
But still why?
There are over 500 million social media users and studies have discovered that they are MORE brand loyal, More likely to recommend the brands they follow and MORE aware of social media active businesses.
Now could that be a benefit to your business?
Customers that know more about your business, are more loyal to you as a business and want to tell their friends about your products or services?
So then where do you get started with social media? I suggest you start with what, or who you know. If you are already using one or more social media platform begin exploring them, push the usability, discover the features, applications and plugins available to you and start experimenting. If you are completely new to the idea of social media then ask your friends, co-workers, and clients what they use, then start there.
For today’s purposes I’d like to introduce you to a trifect of social media communities; Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Widely considered the most popular social media community is Facebook.com, and as they describe it they are “Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
Facebook allows you to connect with friends and families, businesses and causes online. You can create personal profiles, business profiles and community groups, three distinct types of profiles but generally they all have access tot he same type of functionality. Here are some of the more useful functions;
Profile Info: everything there is to know, or that your willing to share about you, your product, art, and business. The more complete your profile the easier it will be for people to find you, learn about you and recommend you.
Photos: Showcase your work in an online portfolio, build how-to photo guides, keep clients updated and excited as they watch their commissioned pieces come together.
Video’s: an even better way to showcase your work coming together.
Notes: act like micro-blogs, or info sheets attached to your profile.
Links: let you share other web pages with your online community.
On the professional end of the spectrum you have the LinkedIn Community, “LinkedIn exists to help you make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return.”
It acts like an online Resume, Job Board and professional networking tool that let’s you post your unique qualifications, work experience, and past/present job profiles. Creates a professional networking environment where you can connect with your business associates, dealers, suppliers and join conversations on topics of professional interests.
Then there is Twitter.com, one of the most creative social media connection tools available. It’s limited to a 140 characters, that includes spaces so Say what you have to say and say it quick. One of the greatest advantages of Twitter is the ability to create customized informational feeds on any topic you would like, with any grouping of people who you find interesting, in real time.
Interesting Anecdote: during the Earthquake last year it was discovered that Tweets travelled faster than the shock waves.
Isn’t that Awesome…but what do you do with Social Media?
♫♪♪♫If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning, hammer in the evening…and one nail at a time I could build a house…that is if I wanted a house.
Social Media is a TOOL, just like a hammer. If you get one because everyone has one, then it will probably look very good in your tool box…but if you learn how to use it, and work with it a little each day, then you can build whatever you want.
As long as it’s built out of wood and nails. So what do you want to build?
Take a moment and finish this sentence in your mind. My business/My Art would be better if only I could ________
Now you have the start of an idea, a concept of what you can focus on with your social media strategies. Just remember like the house you are building one nail (or friend, like, status update) at a time, and the same nail in the same place doesn’t move you forward.
Social Media is a conversation.
You can Listen to it, Participate in it, even Start it, the conversation that is.
If earlier you thought things would be better with inspiration, boy are you about to discover a lot of it. If you thought exposure would help, well now you can showcase your portfolio to hundreds, thousands, maybe even the right one, just ask Justin Bieber, the outlier that became a superstar from one person seeing his YouTube video. If you’re looking for feedback on your work you can ask for it, and if you want more sales you have the farthest reaching, cheapest medium at your fingertips.
You see, the key to sales in business is communication of value which is why social media is so popular with businesses. It gives you the ability to connect with people who are interested in what you’ve got, converse with them, and let’s them easily refer you to others.
Social media also let’s you share your passion, be it sculpting, jewelling, or paining, whatever your medium there is a community devoted to it, and if there isn’t you have the privileged of building it. Just like an art form, social media is organic as the conversation takes shape.
But how do we
with social media?
In the past I’ve speculated that the biggest market on Twitter is selling how to make money on Twitter programs, but I’ll tell you the secret.
It’s all traditional marketing.
Social media simply lets us do more of it, CHEAPER, and reach more people…who actually want to hear about it. The key to this new medium is the user, that’s you, me, or anyone else following our business, can give or revoke permission to communicate with them. They get to choose if they hear your message. This is something that early marketers could only dream of, a captive audience who volunteers to hear your pitch cause they love your brand.
So here’s a marketing crash course in 3…2…1…
ATTENTION -> Do I have your attention, I hope so at this point, 1331 words later, or for the audience 20 minutes in.
PROBLEM -> You have a problem, you knew little to nothing about social media at the beginning of this post/speach.
SOLUTION -> I have the solution, it’s me!
ACTION -> You have to take action, I have to make you want to…do you want to?
Attention, Problem, Solution, Action, all marketing follows some variation of this process, you want what we have so you can be cooler, smarter, taller, hairier, *longer*, ect.
To help you along here are 3 variations you can use;
1) LOOK AT THIS (Attention) – The Jones Effect, you neighbour has a bigger house, better car, hotter spouse (Problem)…but they don’t have this, and you can have this one of a kind____ (Solution), so commison your piece today. (Action)
2) I call this the Mismatch: Fabulous piece, only 16,603¥ (Attention, who wouldn’t want to see what a 16K piece of art looks like – I suggest this tactic only for truly stunning pieces (Problem: it’s awesome, you want it.) – then you translate, 16K is really just $200 (Solution: you can afford it.) – Buy it Now (Action)
3) Time Sensitive Sale (Attention, who doesn’t perk up for a sale) – It will cost more later (Problem) – So act quickly, and come back often to see what else might be on sale (Solution) – Reserve it today at the sale price (Action).
Alright, who’s got some questions?
Business Steward and Author of the Idea Vault.