If you have no precise marketing strategy, or even a simple set of marketing goals, social media participation will only serve as a glorious way to highlight that your business is precisely like every other business that says they do what you do. (That’s a nice way of saying you are doomed to compete on price.)
In short, without a plan, one that’s steeped in your overall marketing strategy, any tactical form of marketing, including creating a Facebook Group, will be a waste of time. Don’t get me wrong, I think social media is a killer small business platform, but without a marketing strategy it won’t prove any more effective than anything else you’ve tried.
Marketers and entrepreneurs have always been easy prey for the “idea of the week.” Looking for the next big thing, they jump, sometimes before they finish or implement that last big thing, willingly onto whatever catches their attention today. With the onslaught of change brought by social media, the next big thing is coming in waves, making the “idea of day” the new affliction.
Lack of a marketing strategy or point of differentiation has always been a problem for small business, it’s just that it’s easier to overcome if you can build trust by meeting someone face to face.
In the search-powered, information overload, social media world we now live in, a marketing strategy is no more or less important than it ever was, it’s just more apparent when you lack one. Marketing fundamentals don’t really change, only the platforms and tactics have new names.
Strategy before tactics looks like this
1) Clearly define who makes an ideal customer for your business – there are lots of ways to say this – who do you want to work with, who are you most equipped to get a result for, what kind of problem does an ideal customer need to display to prove you can help them, what behaviors, attitudes, fears and needs are you most ready to address?
2) Clearly communicate in very simple terms so way that you, your product, your service, your experience, your packaging, your guarantee, your people, your process is different in a way that really is different (good customer service is not it) in a way that matters to your ideal customer.
3) Boil this difference down into a word or two, like fast, practical, fun, whimsical, or posh and make certain that every tactic, every communication, every tweet conveys that word. If you can’t do this, even if you have to change everything about your current business to do so, don’t expect to generate much momentum on or offline.
I know conversation’s surrounding marketing strategy aren’t as sexy as talking about the next twitter advancement, but this is the harsh reality that is marketing – social or not!