1. Make learning Social Media Marketing a priority. Your town probably has a big building in it with lots and lots of books. It’s kind of like Blockbuster used to be except with books instead of videos and you can check them out for free. Get reacquainted with your local library. The internet is also your friend. Google, Yahoo or Bing a phrase such as “How to Learn Social Media” and pick out some great articles to read. Check out your regional trade association’s, ASI’s and PPAI’s pro development offerings. We have several great professionals in our industry sharing their knowledge on these topics. Get your own domain name and website that you can use Social Media to drive traffic to and to improve your rankings on search engines. Learn about SEO - it’s not that hard to do it yourself - and optimize your website. You want to create a presence so that when someone in your market enters: Promotional Products - (Your Town Here) into Google that your website comes up in the top half of the page.
2. Update Your LinkedIn Profile and Make Connections. In the past, successful sales people had their Rolodex and it contained all of their contacts names, addresses and phone numbers. It was one of the most valuable business tools that they owned. Get on LinkedIn today. If you have a profile but haven’t used LinkedIn, get back on there and first update your profile and polish it. Make so that it leaves the impression that you want your number one prospect to have of you if they were to look for you. Here’s the thing. They will look there. Make LinkedIn Connections. Use the “find connections” tools that the site offers and send out invitations to connect. Watch your network grow! It is amazing just how many people we are all connected to. Look at your friends and acquaintances connections and connect with the people that you know from their lists too. You might also take a look at some of your customers’ and prospects’ profiles for ideas for whom you should invite connections.
3. Use LinkedIn Right. There are several ways to build your presence now that you’ve updated your profile and have a growing network. First of all be aware that Google loves LinkedIn. You will notice that when you Google yourself (it’s okay, we all do) that BOOM your profile just came up near the top of page one. Second, explore the search capabilities. You can find people by location, by job title, by company. Use this as a prospecting tool to not only identify potential clients, but also to identify people in your network who may be able to provide you with at best an introduction and at worst a common ground conversation starter. Next get into the LinkedIn Groups that will highlight your level of expertise. Sign up for notifications and contribute to discussions. Pick groups where your best customers and prospects hang out and they’ll soon see you as an expert.
4. Use Facebook Right. If you are going to use Facebook for building your business and your social media presence, keep personal and business separate. Either use two separate pages one for personal and one for business, or make sure that all of your posts are of the type that you would want your best customer or prospect to see. Post things about your company, your people, any awards or accomplishments. Feature profiles of your customers and highlight their successes. (Particularly their successes using one of your services!) Keep your posts interesting, informative and valuable. Use it to promote your presence on other social media channels like YouTube, LinkedIn, your blog, your podcasts. Use Facebook to create your online personality. Be interesting and likable.
5. You can know own your own television station and your own radio station. Have some fun with video and create a YouTube channel. Record yourself, your employees, your customers, your suppliers having fun with promotional products. If you’ve got more of a face for radio, you can create your own broadcast of podcasts on iTunes. Once again, it’s all about the content. Make sure you have something worth watching or listening to and topics that people will actually search for online. Your video on how to select the right giveaways for a golf outing may show up on a prospects search for information on just that topic and BOOM! you’ve got yourself a new client.
6. You also can publish your own newspaper. It’s called a Blog. There are several great platforms available for free (I like Wordpress and blogger). This is where you can use that great domain name that your bought for yourself and create an informative, valuable website. I’ve heard it joked that blog stands for Better Listings on Google. That is one of the benefits of blogging. Your name will come up higher on searches when you’re a blogger. Another great benefit is that the internet is forever. Three years from now, a prospect might find the article that you wrote yesterday on how to plan a company picnic or other valuable content.
7. Remember this is Cocktail Party Marketing. I hope you wouldn’t go to a cocktail party among both strangers and friends and begin shouting out that you’re offering end quantity pricing, free set-up charges or twenty-five percent off on coffee mugs this week. Social Media Marketing is about having conversations.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It is work, but if you get consistent at it, it will pay off with customers finding you which is a lot more satisfying than cold calling. The rules of marketing have changed. Change with the times and you’ll find new relevance and new business coming to you.