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Social Media… Practically Speaking

Jay Beaton - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Social Media is roughly 10 years old (if you don’t count the initial releases of WordPress) this year.

It has changed our lives both personally and professionally. Many of us still struggle to find understand it, and how to harness it. A major reason why can be summed up into one word, “Change”. Change can take the shape of new platforms being introduced regularly, saturating our already overwhelmed attention spans; to the coming and going of platforms (i.e. MySpace, etc) or that the current platforms are updating all aspects of their sites from performance to security with more than regularity that even the experts fail to keep up with everything.

With all of this in mind...

How can a business owner properly harness the power of social media to reach their potential clients, and convert that into business?

Let’s take a step back and think about this scenario not from a social media perspective but practically from a strategy and tactics viewpoint. Think about the following:

  • • Understand your products and services; Determine who your clients are
  • • Learn and Understand your clients and why they are drawn to your product or service
  • • Learn and Understand how the online community wants you the business owner to speak with them
  • • Learn when they are on social media platforms; Speak with them on their terms, turf, and time

No business owner will be everything to every person. Not everyone will want the product or service your company provides. First, determine who your clients are (Market Research), and focus on continuing to provide them a great service or product. Tap into your customer database and stay in touch with them on a regular basis. Show them that this relationship is much more than a purchase and sale.

Analyze that market segment. There may be trends amongst your client base that hints at a similar group (or groups) of potential clients available who want you product or service. Using those characteristics, search out those like groups. The Search capacity on social networks is a fantastic tool that can help many business owners. Think about the products and services that your company provides, and how that affects your current clients. Understanding what you do really well (Purple Cow) may help you better understand why your clients continue to choose to work with you over your competition.

Social media changed communication forever (understatement of this millennium). The online communities dictate the importance of the conversation; not the companies. It is a 180-degree swing from traditional media, where companies told you what they thought you wanted to hear. The online community looks for a commitment from companies to converse with them, creating a longer sales cycle. However, the online community will develop a long-term bond with you if you make the consistent commitment to communicate. People who need your products and services (here is the key --->) who like the way you communicate, will not only become clients, or remain clients, but willingly become your advocates

But thinking about all of this from a practical standpoint may give you a different way to understand your challenge, and this great opportunity. There are only so many hours in a day. If you understand your client base, and why they Like you, and you speak with them in the manner that they find appealing, and you know when they are on the platforms waiting for you to converse...then focus your efforts greatly during the time periods throughout the week when they are listening to you, and you should derive a greater response. For example, if your clients frequent Facebook from 2p-4p in the afternoon, schedule multiple posts for that time period. If your client base prefers Twitter between 11a-2p, then schedule posts and have them published during that time period. Capture as many eyes as possible in a frequent and consistent manner and see an uptick in your Social Media ROI.

And remember, when using social media...Information, Education, and Conversation.


Jay Beaton is a Principal with On The Beaton Path, LLC, a marketing consulting firm. For more information, Contact him: jay.beaton@onthebeatonpath.com; or 312.925.7822.

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