Social media has taken over the marketing front the past couple years and while it has done a lot for business, I feel like businesses still have disproportionate expectations of social media. Businesses think they will get instant returns by creating social media profiles and once they start posting, they are done marketing. Those beliefs couldn’t be further from the truth. People need to realize that no matter how big Facebook grows, Facebook will never replace face time.
Let that sink in for a moment … Facebook will never replace face time, which could be said for all social media. Social media is not the holy grail of marketing; it is simply a tool in the toolbox. It takes a full marketing approach to truly create brands. Humans, as a species loves human interaction. Actual conversation. Most of us aren’t dealing with the Apple, Pepsi or Delta sized companies as our clients; most of us are dealing with small-mid size businesses. While the larger companies can spend an unlimited amount of resources for social media and create viral campaigns, most companies can’t. Most companies have a modest budget, if any, for marketing and especially social media.
So what should a small to mid-size company do become more established and get people talking?
First and foremost, companies need to distinguish and cultivate their culture. The culture is the DNA of a company and if instilled properly, the company and all of its employees will ooze with it. The culture is what sets companies and business apart. Marketing simply tells the story of the culture and lets it come to life. There are a lot of places customers can go out and get fancy cupcakes, so why should they come to your cupcake store?
Next thing new companies need to do is focus on its product or service. Don’t bother spending time, effort and money on marketing a crappy product/service because your customers will know it after the first time. You need to invest in what you are selling, otherwise, you might get people to buy what you sell once, but they won’t be back. You want people talking about how you are the best! Why you ask? Because, if you are absolutely the best and your product kicks booty, they will talk about it! Who just finds the absolute best store and keeps it a secret? People love to talk about the great store they found or the best restaurant they ate at. So give them something to talk about. As cheesy as it sounds, remember the quote from A Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Same concept. (And if the 1919 Chicago White Sox team shows up, think about the press!)
Lastly, a new business must always work hard. Seems simple and silly, but it’s true. A lot of businesses think once it opens its doors, the hard work is done. When in reality it has just begun. Being able to open those doors, simply allows you to play the game. Whether it’s keeping your storefront spotless, making sure every customer is beyond satisfied or maintaining a great work atmosphere – these are all important. Don’t ever stop being the best you can be with your business because there is always a competitor out there trying to top you.
But what about social media and marketing you ask? If you do the above three things first and foremost, the social media and marketing will come easily. You can’t market a company who doesn’t truly know who they are, a company who doesn’t have a good product or a company who doesn’t work hard. If you can accomplish all the above, your customers and employees will organically help you with marketing and trust me…that’s the best kind.