Someone else in the Dove Release business asked me recently "What one advertising thing I'd done that was the most effective and was fairly inexpensive." In a world of social media and advertising via that medium it is sometimes difficult to know where and how to best invest your time and energy.
Allow me to cheat a bit. In one of my next posts I'll mention what I feel to be the most effective thing I've done to date and then I'll talk about some of the low-cost things I've done. Before I do that though, let me talk about a few principles that I've based the other things on.
- Great visuals are important: People more than ever want to see what they're buying into even before they contact you to get more information. The online social networking world has allowed us to "creep" someones page before we accept the friend request, unless we already know the person well. In business this means that we comparison shop before we ever enter the store: We want to have a ballpark idea of what we're buying and how much it will cost before we ask the vendor. Give people a great visual experience of your product or service, we need to impress.
- 'Personal' web presence: I have done some reading on social network marketing and there is consistancy in the view that people want to deal with people not just companies. They want to get a feel for what you are like... in essence, they want to know you before they really know you. For this reason, sites like Social Media Today and others recommend linking your various social media profiles (blogs, facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube, yelp, etc.): if people are considering doing business with you, they will often scan your various profiles in an attempt to piece together an impression of who you are.
- The role of blogging: I guess I am of the previous 'web generation'... I was under the impression that it was essential for one to have a web site. While that is still definitely an advantage, the recommendation now is that much of your web-traffic will be built by a blog. If we think about a web-site, the content is relatively static; it doesn't change all that much (photos, pricing, contact info, etc.). However, since the content is regularly changing on a blog, there is a greater chance that you'll attract more attention. People scan and may be find you because they've searched for something rather specific on which you've written a post. Once they find you, there is a chance that you'll capture their attention and they'll come back regularly. Blogging - when done well - also shows that you are staying on top of your area of expertise.
I honestly can't remember the sites I read through to distill these three ideas - aside from Social Media Today - but all you need to do is search the web using the phrase Social Network Marketing and you should come up with some great stuff.
Again, check back to my next post on Saturday where I'll 'fly' into what I've done more directly.