To help businesses become more social media savvy, we wanted to share this helpful interview from one of our trusted colleagues, Patrick Schwertfeger, author of “Webify Your Business– Internet Marketing Secrets for the Self-Employed”, who speaks about the Social Media Revolution at conferences and business events around the world.
ALLISON: Do you think social media (sm) fulfills the role of all marketing for a biz?
PATRICK: There are indeed examples of businesses that have successfully used nothing but social media for their marketing efforts, but it’s rare. For most, social media represents only one part of the marketing mix. And since social media, by definition, facilitates online conversations between individuals, the primary opportunity is to encourage, leverage and accelerate word-of-mouth advertising.
ALLISON: Do you find many businesses getting all their income from SM? If so, what types of business?
PATRICK: There are essentially two types of businesses that can generate all of their income through social media.The first are those businesses that help and teach other businesses how to use social media. The people who made the most money during the Gold Rush were those who sold the shovels. The same is true with social media. There is an exploding industry of social media consultants out there and they can generate all of their income using those same tools.
The second are those businesses that sustain themselves primarily from referrals. Since social media facilitates (and magnifies) word-of-mouth advertising, businesses that rely on referrals are best positioned to monetize the potential. Service professions whose value proposition centers around the individual personality of the service provider come to mind.
ALLISON: Do you think, as I do, that other marketing tactics are an equally critical part of the mix, for most businesses: like networking – meeting people who need your product (or service), educating your prospective market through your website, enews, blogs or other regular and frequent communications, developing a sales process, publicity, outreach/developing target markets, SEO and traffic building techniques, etc.? If so, what do you see on the horizon as a critical mix for growing companies, in general?
PATRICK: I agree that other marketing tactics, when used together, can increase the effectiveness of the overall campaign, but only to the extent that they support the primary message being communicated or expand the reach of that message. In most cases, modern marketing attempts to demonstrate value before the purchase. In Costco, you can taste little samples of food before you buy. It’s the same idea.
Depending on the product or service, demonstrating value might require educational resources like blog posts, videos or PDF manuals. Extending the reach of the campaign might include publicity, search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. But in each case, the tactic supports the original message of the campaign.
ALLISON: in your opinion, what is the latest, greatest must-have in social media for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or similar?
PATRICK: There are four (4) types of content: text, audio, images and video. The last two are both visual. They are also the most viral. People like photos. People like videos. When leveraging social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, businesses should ask themselves two things. First, what do we do that’s remarkable? Second, how can we communicate that in a visual way? If businesses can convey whatever they do that’s remarkable, in a visual way, they will have the greatest chance to see results from their social media efforts.
ALLISON: Do you (or your clients) get all their business from social media?
PATRICK: Although I am a professional speaker about social media, I’m not in the social media business. I’m in the speaking business. And amazingly, the speaking business is primarily offline. To extend the reach of my campaign, I still do a lot of direct mail and traditional marketing. But once those people receive my marketing, they immediately check me out online. As such, I use social media to validate my credibility and provide samples (like photos and videos) of my speaking programs.
ALLISON: Do you (or your clients) get plenty of business from social media? If so, what tactics seem to work best? For example, I advised a client to connect with people in a specific Linked in Group in his market to build a mailing list two months ago. This week, one of the group members is signing up to become a client of his business which will initially net $1,000, and over this year, probably $10,000-$20,000.
PATRICK: One of the greatest opportunities in social media is uploading photos to Facebook. By tagging people in those photos, you can add those images to their profiles as ‘photos uploaded by others.’ And if the photo includes the business logo or contact information, it can act as a subtle advertisement in those profiles.
Businesses should ask themselves where they interact with customers or prospects. Find ways to take branded photos (photos that include references to the business) and tag as many people as possible. Doing so is an extremely effective way to spread the word. I do this myself and have seen it work well for wineries, pedicure salons, contractors and real estate agents.
ALLISON: What else is important for people to really understand about social media’s role in marketing?
PATRICK: More than anything else, people trust recommendations from friends. Social media is a way to start that dialog and encourage those recommendations. The single most important ingredient to achieve success is incentives. Always provide an incentive. It doesn’t have to be money or prizes, but it has to be something. It could be public recognition. It could be social validation. Think about your customers and prospects. Provide them with some sort of incentive to talk about your business and watch the results pour in.
GET HELP OR RESOURCES
*Get Known. Engage Readers with Links to Your Blog or Website.
*Drive More Traffic to Your Website. This ultimately helps your SEO (getting found on Google).
*Help the Media Find You When They Need Your Expertise.
*You’ll outreach to more people who may need your service (or products).
*It’s a free platform to express yourself. [Nope, you don’t have to waste everyone’s time – just post what is worthwhile to your readers.]
*Get Personal. Building relationships is what builds business.
Have an organization who needs a dynamic, knowledgeable, content-rich speaker? Contact Patrick Schwertfeger.
Want to get your own Social Media (SM) launched properly (the right way)? Here’s our 5 day SM action tool with step-by-step instructions.
Want us to do it for you? Take a look at our Kick it Into Gear Social Media & Marketing Service.
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For some perspective on this series of social media posts, take a look at our overview.