As marketers, we see the world through a different set of lenses than most people. We read a new blog post from Mashable on Pinterest and immediately begin applying the new tool’s usefulness to our client’s marketing plans. We read the newspaper, skimming the articles, but scouring over the printed ads for messaging, design and effectiveness.
We watch commercials for trends, not products/services. So, if we as a marketing company, call on a client or prospect and offer oiur help with internet, print or broadcast marketing, does that make us service providers, sales people, or simply advisers?
The topic of today’s meeting of the Cherokee B2B Network was Business Marketing. As this group of business to business owners and representatives discussed all the different aspects of marketing one’s company – from networking and face-to-face marketing, to speaking before groups, to Internet marketing through websites and social media, to business cards and direct mail, one common question kept arising… what can I, would I, should I do about Social Media and HOW can I make it work for my specific business?
This line of questioning is one of the most common we get here at I2D recently. Business owners know it’s out there (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+… ) and while many have been denying its value, more and more each day come to the realization that it just has to be part of the package if they want to have a successfully well-rounded marketing plan. Even here at Inspired 2 Design, we’ve tossed the social media ‘hot potato’ back into the business owner’s hands for a long time, basing that stance on the fact that social media is by definition social, and therefore must be managed by the business itself. However, as we watch technology unfold and develop almost daily, we can clearly see that the average small business owner just doesn’t have room on his/her plate for that potato because of several reasons:
1. Social media marketing is a monster that needs to be fed constantly and consistently
2. Social media content is unlike any marketing or advertising copy ever written before
3. Social media outlets and opportunities are in a constant state of flux and it takes effort to keep up on the latest
4. Social media, if not planned and executed well, can consume countless hours, can be misused, and can become an albatross.
So… while we lick our fingers from swallowing that tasty crow… We’ve found the need to open the door for clients who want and need help in developing successful social media marketing goals, drafting social media plans, and fulfilling social media content.
After teaching Facebook to business owners for a couple of years, we have seen business owners fall into four categories: absent, eager, willing, and able.Those few entrepreneurs in the able category take our Facebook: Upgrade to Business Class, and run with it – they’re planning, they’re posting, they’re building their fan base, building their reach, and yes, CLOSING SALES via the world’s biggest social media website. Then there are others who take the class, understand what needs to be done, and just don’t get to it – they’re the eager group. Others never take the class because they’re just too busy (the absent). And finally, there are those who attend the class, see the value, and call out for help – the willing. That group of willing business owners have several choices – they can bring in an employee or assign an existing employee to provide the service of social media management, or they can surf the web in search of a salesman to call, or they can – and more are – call on a true adviser to help them sort through the options and choose the best ones for their company. Whether in the end, the company fulfills their own social media content and has their adviser plan with them only, or whether the adviser company plans, drafts, fulfills and manages the tools, they’re moving ahead, managing their company, and utilizing the best people out there for their expertise.
Bottom line is this… when business owners realize they need to do something more to promote their business, to reach their customers and potential customers, they look inward or outward. We hope they look outward toward an adviser they can rely on for spot-on information, fair pricing, above and beyond customer service, and yes… results. At Inspired 2 Design, we’d like to be that adviser to the business owners and entrepreneurs who appreciate that partnership – the willing group that understand the value of their time and the added value we can offer by extending our new services in Social Media Management. We caution business owners to avoid those service providers and salespeople who have commoditized social media much in the way SEO has been exploited. We’d love a chance to talk to you more, Contact us for a free face-to-face appointment in the north metro Atlanta area, or for a phone consultation.