Our clients are keeping on with business. They’ve made adjustments, of course, but they’re keeping on. Here are a few tips on how.
Social media is like a big trade show or community event. If you go to the bar, you get drinking. If you go to the amusements, you get amusement. If you go to the business expo, you get business. And you have to show up to get anything.
Even now, many businesses and sales reps don’t participate in social media for business. If you’re one of those folks, I hope to convince you otherwise. The free use of Facebook and other sites can be good for business. This is a long-term approach. If you need quick results, you should look into advertising on social media.
Since events and trade shows are cancelled, social media can make up for some of that. If you have extra time these days, look into social media.
Below are a few stories of how Facebook helped my business without paying for any advertising.
New Business from Previous Client who Posted to WordPress Group
Facebook showed a notification that “John Doe” posted to the Tampa WordPress group. I recognized the name because we had done business about 15 years earlier. The post was a request for a WordPress developer to help fix up their website. I immediately posted a response. They recognized me and gave an encouraging response. Separately I immediately e-mailed them.
After responding to the Request for Proposal, I’m working with this client again.
Referral Years after A Real-Life Meeting
Over 10 years ago at a trade show in Chicago, I met two people from another promotion-marketing company. They happened to be from Sarasota, about an hour south of my office. We stayed in touch on Facebook. In January 2020, one of them contacted me on Facebook and referred a client. We probably would not have stayed in touch except for Facebook.
I’m now working with the new client on web development and automating their spec sheet production.
Passing Meeting in Real-Life but Finally Connecting on Facebook
I met Skip Cohen a few times at photography trade shows, but it was mostly in passing. Years later, I shared a friend’s Facebook post about the new Platyball tripod heads. Skip is involved with the Platyball project, and he saw my share. Since he lives near Tampa, he called about meeting for lunch some time. So Facebook connected us better than we were.
Fast forward to the lock down of March 2020, and I saw Skip start the F64 Lunch Bunch, an online gathering for photographers to share ideas on doing business these days. And that gave me the inspiration to start the Brandon Lunch Bunch. In preparation, I contacted Skip, and he was kind enough to give me some pointers and lessons learned from starting F64 Lunch Bunch.
Facebook facilitated a business contact that mostly didn’t exist before.
Keeping In Touch with an Expert for Brandon Lunch Bunch
I met Darren Denington of Service with Style over 15 years ago. We were both members of the local chamber of commerce. I was last a member in 2012. Since then, I’ve seen Darren’s Facebook posts about his business and in particular his gigs as an instructor at national food and restaurant conferences. I image he also saw some of my posts over the years. With the start of the Brandon Lunch Bunch for the COVID-19 lock down, I remembered his posts and I realized I knew somebody in the restaurant business. Not just an owner, but somebody who teaches it. I asked if he’d like to join in, and he said yes.
Facebook kept me up to date on a local business expert and provided an easy way to contact him.
Showing up is 80 percent of life.Woody Allen
I’ve done some networking on LinkedIn, too, but I don’t check in often enough to give it a fair evaluation. I bet it can help with networking. Just like trade shows and any networking event, you have to show up.
If you have extra time on your hands these days, explore social media for your business. If you depended on events and trade shows to build your network, social media could make up for some of that in the long run.
We all publish content for our audiences in print, on our websites, in e-mails, and on social media. We all contact our clients by e-mail, phone calls, and until recently in-person meetings. Now, with these stay-at-home times, digital media is a higher priority than it was a few months ago.
First, let me bash social media a little: a major disadvantage of social media is that when you build your audience there, your’e mostly building the audience for Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. For instance, when you post on a business page on Facebook, estimates are that it is shown to less than 20% of your page followers, some say as low as 6%. You can pay to show it to more people, of course.
Second, here’s a better idea: build your own audience.
Newsletters and blogs go hand-in-hand to publish content and contact clients. They are a cost-effect way to build and reach your audience.
Two Strategies for your Content
The goal of content marketing (CM) is to bring people back for more content. As your audience builds, you can advertise your company or sell sponsorships to other companies who want to advertise to your audience. With CM, getting a large audience is critical, and it takes time to build that audience. It also takes content the audience wants to see.
One goal of touchpoint marketing (TM) is to keep your company or products in the recent memory of your audience. Lots of media can be part of the mix: social media, phone calls, and newsletters. Until COVID-19, trade shows and events were a part of it. These days I’m suggesting clients consider a blog and newsletter.
Blog and Newsletter Combined
A blog and newsletter can be part of content marketing or touchpoint marketing or both. Content you publish can be used on both. You can
- publish blog posts and then send a newsletter with links to those blog posts
- publish a newsletter and use the same content as a blog post.
- both of the above–whichever suits the moment
Once you have a blog post, you should publish it on social media.
BTW: You can call your blog anything like News, or Updates, or Newsletter. You don’t have to call it a blog.
Wait, There’s More – SEO
Website content is important to SEO, so adding relevant blog posts to your site can help you get found on Google and other sites.
Have something to say. If a newsletter is to be worth anything, you have to regularly create content. It could be sales information, product announcements, technical support articles, how-to tips, or links to articles you find online. You can find general guidelines all over the internet. The exact content for you depends on your business, your goals, and your audience.
One way or another, at least once a quarter and maybe more, you need content.
Where to Create Newsletters
I always recommend a newsletter service instead of managing your list on your computer; good services make sign up and list management easy, and they keep you within the law. For starters, I recommend MailChimp. They offer a free level that’s perfect for starting out. Others include Contact Contact and iContact. Search Google, you’ll find plenty of reviews.
IMPORTANT BIT: Make sure you can export your list from the service. That way you can keep a local back up and move to another service when you want.
A Word About Opt-In Only
You should add people to your newsletter list only after they explicitly opt in. By law, you can add customers, but reputable newsletter services go further requiring permission from each recipient. It’s the right way to handle it. Please, be kind, go with opt-in only.
How do you get somebody to opt-in? You ask. Make it part of getting information from new clients. Send an e-mail to existing clients. Put a sign-up form on your website.
Where to Create Blog Posts
Blogs are done on your website. WordPress has a built-in blog, so if you’re site is built with WordPress, you’re almost ready. It’s just a matter of changing some settings, checking the design, and turning it on. Oh, and you have to come up with content.
Check with your webmaster about what’s available for your site.
Building Your Audience
At first, it’s a slow process. If you’re lucky enough to create a viral video, you might build an audience quickly. Most likely, you’ll build your audience over a few months and longer. Even if your list isn’t big, a small list of existing clients can be effective. Keep at it. Ask new and existing clients for permission to add them to your list.
Plan and execute for the long term. In a year you’ll have a bigger newsletter list and a year’s worth of relevant content on your site.
Call or E-mail Your Questions
With COVID-19 keeping everybody at home, digital marketing is a priority. A newsletter and blog are cost-effective ways to keep in contact with customers, build your own audience, and improve your website’s SEO.
As always, call or e-mail me your questions.