When I was working with clients on direct marketing, the formulas were fairly simple. Figure out who and where your customers live, then find prospects just like them. Execute, measure, refine – then do it all over again.
Social Media is different, and perhaps that's why companies tend to shy away from it. The results aren't as predictable. There's usually little or no examples of it done right nor are there opportunities to sample a few to see how the rest react.
Social Media is something your company needs to dive into headfirst, and then react and move with the audience. If you trust your products and services and you really want to reach out to the masses, then there's no better opportunity like there is today. The companies that are standing back waiting, or worse – trying to copy others – are the big losers.
Paul at Buzz Marketing wrote a great post the other day, Market to Change Customer Behavior, not Attitudes. Customer behavior can be affected, but companies have to be able to duck, move and hit when they need to. It's not a game of chess, it's a street fight.
Customers are challenging you on their turf, not yours. When you win, you win big. But if you don't show up or, worse, you lose the fight in front of other prospects and customers, you're going to walk away empty-handed.
So which direction do you take to the pot of gold? Simply put, you don't look for a direction – you just start down the trail. Social Media is about the road less travelled, not the path that's been beaten to death.
What are you going to do about it?
- How many social networks do you and your employees participate in that are led by others (even by the competition)? Any regional networks?
- How many new social mediums are you experimenting with. Does your company have a Twitter account? A Youtube Channel?
- How many regional events do you participate in… or better… do you lead? Do you bring other experts in to help your customers in areas that you don't have expertise in?
- Does your company blog? Do your customers? Do your employees? Why don't you know?
Here's a simple one to try. Put up a Twitter account for your company and have a list of people that monitor it. Every time you add content to your site, automate an announcement to Twitter. You might be surprised by how many folks are interested!
Stop planning. This isn't something you can wait to create a perfect plan on… this is something you need to execute on. Today. Now.