5 Circles: Should I be using social media marketing?

socialmedia

Alright friends – here we are for another post in the 5 Circles Series. This time, we’re going to be talking about social media.

You’re probably thinking one thing right now. This is a blog about marketing and business, in the digital age, primarily for bootstrappers and high-ROI seekers. Social media is probably high on the recommended marketing tactics list, right?

This post has a hard-hat on, because it is going to catch a lot of [email protected]

This isn’t about the conventional wisdom, or the same ideas being spewed out by every other blog out there. That seems to be a trend here on this blog, actually. The fact is, this might be a pretty big revelation in social media for those of you who have been trying to avoid playing the social media game (and those of you who have been forcing it, even though you don’t like it.)

Should you be using social media?

Marketing Circle: Social

Along with email marketing and networking, social media is the primary social medium that businesses use to share their messages. Many, many people get stuck in social media, spending hours each day “managing” their platforms, pages, and feeds, sending messages, sharing content, and more. The ROI they receive on this time is typically pretty dismal, but because it is conventional wisdom that you’re not a “real” business without a social media presence, they continue.

Best-Fit Archetype: Communicator

If you love the idea of networking, but can’t stomach face to face interaction, then social media may be for you. No in person interaction required, you can hide behind your screen (and no, you don’t have to get over this completely and take over the stage if you want to be successful), and you can still engage with people. Experts are prone to blast their messages out on social media, rather than engaging in conversations, and so the strategy recommended below is likely a better fit for anyone in the Expert archetype.

Secondary Archetype: Supporter/Facilitator

You love connecting people, so being helpful-by-association is one of the ways you use to build trust. Connecting people on social media is a fantastic way for you to show off this skill – just be careful that it doesn’t start consuming all of your time.

How does it work?

The conventional school of thought is that you must be on social media (actively) with your own branded pages and 16+ more things to manage, right? Just look at the expensive conferences and courses offering to show people how to build an entire business on something like Twitter. Twitter – to build your entire business. When you put it that way, it kind of sounds insane doesn’t it?

Guess what – you already are on social media. Your ideal prospects and customers are already sharing and discovering your content on Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. – whether you actively use them or not. Even if you don’t have any social media accounts or pages, even if you don’t have share buttons integrated into your website, you already are using social media.

Let’s introduce you to a new concept. One that social media experts (those selling their courses!) are going to hate, and you are going to love. 

It is very simple.

Instead of forcing yourself into being active on social media all day, every day, optimize your content for social sharing.

This means using “click to tweet” links in your posts, like the link above. It means creating “pinnable” images for your content. It means using widgets and other tools to allow readers to share your content on social platforms, providing short links, and uploading your video and audio content to social sharing sites like YouTube and SoundCloud.

It means writing epic headlines that will get clicks and providing all of the necessary tools to allow others to share your content on social media.

Then you can sit back, relax, focus on creating “epic content”, and check in on Facebook and Twitter when you feel like it. You no longer have to get lost in Facebook Groups and Twitter Feeds, spending hours every day answering questions on Quora and LinkedIn, or organizing your contacts into “Circles” on Google+.

Because social media platforms don’t make money off of small advertisers, or small businesses that just post content without paying to promote their posts. They make money when people stay on their site for longer – and they are masters at making sure that happens.

If you have a business to run, the last thing you want to do is actively choose to spend time doing something that is intended to suck you in and waste your time.

So there you have it.

That is it for today. No best practices, no real warnings, just a social media strategy that you can use in your business – even if you hate social media – to capitalize on the huge amounts of traffic those networks can send.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

What is High-Tech Marketing, anyway?

We talk a lot about high-tech marketing on this website, on this blog, and in our interactions with people. Few people ever actually come out and ask, because over the course of a conversation it becomes apparent – but really, what is high-tech marketing anyway?

High tech marketing is…

To understand what high-tech marketing is, you need to understand what low-tech marketing is. Time tested, been-around-for-decades forms of advertising. Television spots, radio ads, print ads, direct mail, billboards… Some of these things have been around in one form or another since before the industrial revolution. They are low-tech.

Yes, at one point they were all considered high-tech. Paper was once considered a marvelous innovation. But now, they’re old hat.

So high tech marketing is, therefore, things that are newer and more technologically innovative than low tech marketing. Social media, mobile apps, PPC ads, (some) SEO, content driven marketing… Those are new, flashy, high-tech marketing techniques.

Our goal is to make social media make sense to the rest of us.

Rather than ramble on some high-faluten drivel about “synergy” and “world-class enterprise solutions”, we want to teach you how to update your social media accounts in under 10 minutes each day while still having an impact.

We want to show you how investing just 30 minutes, 3-4 times each week in blogging can have a bigger impact than that dusty old brochure in the back of your closet that took you 2 weeks and thousands of dollars to design and print.

We want you to *enjoy* generating dozens, hundreds, even thousands of leads for your business using high-tech forms of marketing – including online and mobile technology – at a lower cost than the old, low-tech forms (and easier, less time consuming, and more enjoyable, too!)

We want every entrepreneur, independent professional, coach, consultant, small business owner, or business leader to have the tools in their own personal arsenal to effectively and powerfully utilize social media to make a positive impact on their life and their business.

How do we do that?

By de-mystifying the internet.

Remember – high-tech doesn’t mean hard. You likely use a smartphone every day, surf the internet on an hourly basis, and receive email and text messages all of the time. You don’t know how they work, and you don’t need to – all you need to know is how to use them for maximum effectiveness.

The same applies to high tech marketing. You don’t need to know how it works, you just need to know how to use it for maximum effectiveness.

And your first step is reading this blog!

Your second step will be to subscribe to our free ecourse, which we will be creating and uploading for you over the next few days!

Don’t be afraid, watch this space, and get out there and join the conversation!

Canadian Leaders in High-Tech #UBB

Back in the day (well, you could pick any day pre-2008ish, really) Canadians were leaders in technology. We developed technology that would change the world, time and time again.

The original telephone? Canadian.

Decades later, the Blackberry – the first *real* smartphone – was developed by a Canadian company called Research In Motion.

On the list of Canadian technological inventions that changed the world are things like Penicillin, Bone Marrow Compatibility Testing, Anti-Gravity suits for pilots at high-altitudes, the electric stove, the REAL first light bulb (with a patent later sold to Thomas Edison. Really – look it up. It was originally patented by Henry Woodward in Canada), the pacemaker, television cameras, walkie talkies, and even the zipper.

For centuries, Canadians have been technological leaders.
Now, thanks to things like usage-based-billing, our country is taking a major step back.

The ridiculous expense of media devices and services in our country compared to that abroad, mixed with the over-regulation of the telecommunications and broadcast industries, will eventually lead to under-utilization (and eventually lack of innvoation) in our technology sector.

Where we once stood, triumphantly sharing our technolgical innovations with the world, we will now stand – data-disabled smartphone in hand – wondering what happened.

We, as Canadian business leaders, need to stand up and speak for what is right for our country.

All industry sectors will be hurt if technology is abandoned, as will international trade.

Everyone from small businesses who send large files via email to major corporations who use 100GB of bandwidth per day in one department will now be forced to pay even thousands of dollars for their internet connection.

The billions of dollars invested in high-tech marketing over the last decades will go to waste as Canadian consumers abandon the internet.

And why?

Because the head of the CRTC is attempting to find an economical way to “discipline use of the internet.”

And no, those quotes weren’t added for emphasis – he really said that.

Why is a man who believes consumers should be disciplined for utilizing technology in charge of our technology regulation? This is likely the same director who lead these landmark decisions, destroying consumer choice and competitive markets:

– Requiring NetFlix to meet Canadian Content regulations (which brick-and-mortar video stores do not have to abide by) thereby killing the service in Canada. No titles worth watching are even available.

– Permitting dozens of VOIP providers to move into Canada, but not Skype – (to this day, Skype In numbers (a service that allows you to receive calls from a landline on Skype) are available in DOZENS of countries – but not ours…)

– Over-regulating services like PayPal, Hulu, Skype, and others, not allowing them to provide services in Canada.

We do not need to find a way to discipline use of the internet. Disciplining Canadians for continuing the Canadian tradition of being at the forefront of technology is not only narrow-minded and unethical, it is downright unpatriotic.

We need to stand up and speak not only for the citizens of this great country, but the businesses as well.

And let’s stay on top of our technology – because at this point, it is a matter of national pride.

Henry Woodward

We need a website – now what?

That is a question we get posed so often, we almost want to have a canned response. Or at least, we wish we could.

It usually starts with a potential client calling our offices and asking us a few questions about our services, our prices, how we work, etc. And then the question is posed:

“Well, we know we need a _____ (be it a website, a Facebook page, a social media strategy, a blog, or any other high-tech marketing apparatus) – Now what?”

See, most businesses identify the need for a website, blog, social media strategy or anything else by the fact that “so and so” told them to, or “everyone else” does. Most of you, honestly, don’t know exactly why you need it.

But that isn’t true, you say.

You know exactly why you  need that website linked with Twitter and Facebook, with a built in blog. Because it will bring you more customers.

GREAT! And how will it do that?

Uhh…

Exactly.

Websites and social media are part of “Inbound Marketing”.

Your old ways of marketing – TV and print ads, direct mail, flashing banners and tradeshows – those are “Outbound” forms of marketing. They work by disrupting the lives of those they come in contact with, forcing them to pay attention, and for a small number they get enough attention to actually sell a product.

The new way of marketing – using those websites, blogs, social media accounts, and more – are “Inbound” forms of marketing. Instead of interrupting, you’re inviting. You just go out and find where your ideal customers are already hanging out, provide them with some useful content (blog posts, articles, free reports, info) and ask them to come visit you.

When they do, you offer them even more content to link up with you – Follow, Tweet, Like, and subscribe. You get their trust, and their contact details. You send them more content – and then mention that you have paid resources available.

It is called a lead generation system, and every business should be using one.

I’m sure you’ve heard of lead generation before, maybe even using the internet – but it usually involved a form for a “free consultation” and some form of disruption marketing like banner ads, Pay Per Click, or direct mail. I’ll tell you…

Those leads will be 10x colder than those who found you on their own, in their “neighborhood”, and choose to give their information to you.

Want some proof before you start changing your strategy?

Let’s take a look at a report published by HubSpot.Some startling statistics for you :

Companies who allocate more than 50% of their lead generation budget to inbound marketing experience a 61% average lower cost-per-lead. The exact numbers? $84/lead for inbound vs. $220/lead for outbound. Can you afford to spend $220 per lead?

The same study found that for most businesses, even though marketing costs were lower for those who used inbound techniques, the inbound techniques accounted for more than 50% of all leads generated by all businesses (both inbound and outbound dominant.)

5 years ago, blogs were an easy tool to ignore. No one knew how to use the internet to generate leads and revenue aside from banner advertising (more outbound, disruptive advertising). MySpace and Facebook were competing for attention from individuals, and hadn’t yet figured out how to generate revenue from businesses effectively.

Today, ignoring the above statistics could mean a rocky road ahead for your business.

Even those of you who traditionally believe that social media is only for products geared towards young people are in for a real eye opener in the coming years. With smartphones permeating every last safe hold of society, small business owners are the fastest growing segment of Twitter users. The over 25 age group accounts for 50%+ of all Facebook users.

Think about this statistic from a recent Website Magazine advertisement : 20 million people visit WalMart stores around the world every day…

… and 250 million people visit Facebook in the same time period.

If you ignore a market that vast, that readily and willingly interacts with commercial interests – often seeking purchase information and reviews through those channels – then your business will eventually fall behind in “the new economy.”

So, we’ve described why you should pay attention to social media. We know why you need an online presence.

You know you need a website – now what?

Now you call us. We can take your business and develop a complete online branding and social media strategy, create a brand, website, blog, and social media presence based on those ideas, and help your business join the ranks of inbound-marketing dominated businesses.

The future of marketing is here, now. You need to stop trying to start your own conversation. People are already out there, talking about you and your business.

Join the conversation.