Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Tag: social networking

Free Marketing: The Truth about Social Networking for Businesses 1


Businesses frequently tell me, with pride, that they are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and various other social networking sites.  It is as if they believe that by having a social network account they have cracked marketing and all their marketing problems are over.


If only it were that simple.


I also read social networking “experts” rants on social networking sites (where else) that some businesses just don’t get it.  Apparently if they aren’t “doing” social networking they don’t get it, are idiots, haven’t time or haven’t woken up to technology.


Again it isn’t that simple.


I have to confess that I love social networking.  I think it offers great opportunities for businesses to market themselves effectively without spending any money.


Sadly, once again, it isn’t that simple.


The truth is that social networking on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is an excellent way for some businesses to market themselves; but it certainly isn’t the answer for every business.



Social Networking Truth Number One

Social networking isn’t a marketing panacea.


There are hundreds of ways to market a business and whereas the use of social networking is a great way to get noticed there are other ways.


Many of the other marketing methods are actually easier than social networking; they are effectively the low hanging fruit you should harvest before looking elsewhere. 


For example I believe that having an effective website is far more important than social networking.  Your website is under your control, works 24/7, and is your business shop window.  Ensuring it has good content and good metatags etc. is far more effective, easier and quicker than setting up and implementing a social networking strategy.  Once a new page goes on your website it can sit there for years and get you enquiries every day .. a Tweet or post on a social networking site is less substantial and not as likely to find you the same level of business.


Another example of marketing that I believe is usually more effective for most businesses than social networking is PR.  Write a media release or article and your news can go worldwide very quickly.  You can be seen on websites, in papers and magazines, heard on radio or seen on TV. 


Does PR work?  Yes!


In the last few weeks my business has been featured on websites as far away as New Zealand .. as well as across the UK and Europe.  Of course the reality is that once your business is featured on a website you can be seen by people anywhere in the world. 


Some businesses tell me that being seen overseas isn’t important to them as they only trade locally.  If that were so then it wouldn’t be worth me going online to book accommodation, restaurants, car hire, and a load of other things before I go overseas on holiday or business.  And don’t forget that people that currently live overseas may be about to move close to you and may require furniture, carpets, a haulage company, a photographer .. or a host of other products and services.   


There are dozens of other marketing methods that you ought to consider before focusing on social networking.


Discover Social Networking Truth Number Two

Free Marketing: Social Networking Truth Number Four

You have seconds to get your message across.


This applies to social networking, emails, advertising and a host of other marketing media … what you say in your headline and opening words is very important.  If the headline doesn’t grab them people will not open your message.  If your message doesn’t grab them within seconds they surf off somewhere else.


What does this mean to you?  It means you have to write compelling headlines and copy. 


It also means you have to segment your customers.  Let me give you the example I quote to my college clients.


Colleges have customers from all walks of life: they range from school leavers looking for a career related course and adults looks for a leisure course to employers looking for courses related to their business operation. 


Each of these customers is interested in something totally different.  The school leaver is interested in courses and the social aspects of going to college, adults on leisure courses want to know what courses are offered over the summer and in the evenings, whilst the employer are interested in courses related to business .. courses such as health and safety, equipment operation etc.


So sending a message about Forklift Truck training might interest some of your employers, but those customers looking for leisure courses and courses for school leavers will not be interested. 


So why include them in the same social network group? 


The same principle will apply to your customers and prospects.


This is where you need to segment your social networking. Set up several accounts.  Ensure each account targets one segment of your market e.g. school leavers, leisure adults and employers. You might even want to sub divide these down into types of employer or industry.  After all there is no point telling a hairdresser about your forklift courses. They will just stop following you.