Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Social media has become for many small business owners and sales professionals a mud pit where time is sucked away along with the results.
Part of the reason some believe that is that many of them probably never had a written marketing plan for their traditional marketing efforts. Now they have no marketing plan for their social media or inbound marketing efforts.
A marketing plan originates from the strategic thinking and planning process where time is devoted to identify:
• Market segments
• Market trends from local to global
• Competitor’s strengths and weaknesses
• Ideal buying profile including both demographics and psychographics
• The strengths and weaknesses of the small and mid-size business (SMB).
This research and data is employed to determine the best social media sites such as LinkedIn for more business-to-business or Facebook for more business-to-commercial or retail. Additionally, this research helps to establish some basic keywords aligned to potential sales leads or prospects’ interests. Those keywords are then incorporated into the company’s blog.
Social media marketing including content marketing is not new as it has been around for more than a decade. Did you know that:
• EzineArticles.com started in 1999?
• LinkedIn.com started in 2003?
• Facebook.com started in 2004?
• YouTube.com started in 2005?
• Twitter.com started in 2006?
In 2005, I started using content marketing through EzineArticles and then expanded to EvanCarmichael and SalesGravy. Additionally I began writing book reviews at Amazon. These early social media marketing actions allowed me to be ahead of the flow.
LinkedIn now allows many if not most of its members to submit articles within that site. In mid-April, I submitted “9 More Reasons for Failed Leadership Development” and was interviewed as a subject matter expert as part of a research project within two weeks after its publication.
Some say social media is a waste of time, but IBM said sales increased 400 percent in the first quarter when tied to a pilot program of social selling. Inside View recently compiled these additional statistics regarding the effectiveness of social media:
• 61 percent of U.S. marketers use social media to increase sales leads generation
• 67 percent increase in sales leads for those businesses with an active blog
• LinkedIn generates more sales leads than Facebook, Twitter and blogs combined
Social media is here to stay as a marketing channel and remember it is a marketing channel. How you integrate that channel into your overall marketing action plan is up to you.
P.S. Shout Out: Connect with Greg Farrall of Farrall Wealth in Valparaiso or Robert Balkema of Vantage Point Financial Group in Lake County.