Look Before Leaping Into Social Media
Yes, social media is important, but know why you're using it--and measure your performance.
By: Chia-Li Chien | Published 02/02/2010
It took me a year to get 56 friends on Facebook. In one night last October, when my teenage daughter wheedled my permission to set up a Facebook account, she got 67 friends. You can imagine how many Facebook friends she has now. Make no mistake about it: Social media is the hottest new way to market yourself and your business.
Take, for example, recording artist Ke$ha. She caught my attention during the 2009 holiday season. Her "TiK ToK" single was downloaded 610,000 times the week of Dec. 27, setting a record for the highest digital female sales in one week since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking the figures. (Yes, that number includes me.)
Social media, electronic media, old media--obviously there's no physical salesman any longer. Apparently my mentor Rob Slee was right about the "death of the salesman" in his Midas Marketing book. Whether you like Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" is irrelevant, because she's effectively crowdsourcing her buyers to her. The music industry is even predicting that she might be the 2010 Lady GaGa.
There are certainly lots of new ways to market your business. But consider the following before you pick the hottest new media or social media marketing tool:
1. Tactical vs. strategic implementation: Living in such an uncertain world, it's hard to project three to five years ahead for your business. Still, like taking a road trip, you need to plan out the entire trip ahead of you. That way, all you and your team have to do is mitigate any risks or contingencies that come up along the way. Tactical implementation alone isn't enough; you need a strategic road map to guide you every step of the way. That way, even with uncertainty the norm, you and your business can and do react quickly to any change that comes your way. Your strategic road map is a living document that will help you navigate the uncertain global business environment.
2. Clients retention vs. client acquisition: It takes a lot more time to acquire a new client for any business than it does to retain your existing clients. Although effective marketing through social media or new media is a great way to find new prospective clients, have your existing clients bought everything you sell yet? Are you leaving money on the table? Before you deploy your new media tactical tool, assess what is more important to you.
3. Pull marketing vs. push marketing: We all do certain types of push marketing, such as advertising, website, brochures, telemarketing, cold calling, public relations, branding, posts on Linkedin and Twitter. We do need to do enough push marketing to establish credibility. However, pull marketing--which makes your clients come to you--is a lot more effective than push marketing, as I explained in the column, "Are You Leveraging Pull Marketing Yet?" Know who your market makers are, and stay focused to obtain them one at a time.
4. Follow vs. against the herd: What are you doing while everyone else is using social media to get connected? Are you following everyone else? Or is there a specific thing in your industry that you must do "against the herd"? Be careful whether you're following the herd or going against it; it can crush you if you don't look in every direction.
5. Take many small bites to eat an elephant: It might take time to reach the long-term vision for your business. Your one-year action plan should have monthly or even weekly critical success factors or key performance indicators to help you and your team stay focused. The small steps you take over time will help your business grow. Evaluate your overall priorities and take action to monitor their performance. You need the proper level of return on investment on everything you do for your business. Measure your investment periodically to check how healthy you are, according to your plan.
Ke$ha's ability to crowdsource her product is not up for debate. It's a fact. So is the speed of social media that connects to your customers. How effectively can you leverage the hottest marketing tools? The strategic direction you take your business in is entirely up to you.
Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; helps women entrepreneurs to convert their business into meaningful personal wealth. She is the author of Show Me The Money and columnist for WomenEntrepreneur.com & Fox Business online. She is available for consulting, speaking engagements and workshops. She can be reached at www.chialichien.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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