By Phyllis Zimbler Miller, co-founder of Miller Mosaic
Have you recently found yourself standing in the checkout line at a chain drugstore hearing an ad for a product that includes a reference to social media? For example, you may hear, “Follow us on Twitter or ‘like’ us on Facebook to learn about our new products.” And you say to yourself, “I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about those things for the marketing of my company’s products and services.” If you’ve been reassuring yourself thusly, you’re dead wrong.
Social media is here to stay. And if you don’t want your competition to trample you into the ground, you need to get with the program right now!
The irony is that, once you admit you don’t know enough about how your company can benefit from social media, and you resolve to learning more, you’re already on the way to harnessing some of the power of social media. Why? Because the most effective use of social media is sharing information with others, as opposed to selling your products and services.
A little secret that makes a big difference: when it comes to social media marketing, almost everyone has to start at zero. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve grown up with Facebook or without computers, the concepts of using social media effectively for marketing have to be learned. Why is that? Because effective social media marketing goes against the grain of traditional advertising/marketing. Instead of pushing out our company’s messages, we have to share information with our prospective clients and customers, be responsive to answering their questions, and think of the benefits of our products and services from their perspective and not ours.
For example, consumers in the age of Facebook are probably not very interested in how many employees your company has or what your headquarters looks like. But they probably are interested in how much easier or more fun their lives will be if they use your products or services. And you can show rather than tell this by sharing information on social media sites.
Let’s say you manufacture a revolutionary new food blender. Besides sharing the revolutionary benefits of the new features, you can also sponsor a food blender recipe showcase in which people share their own recipes on your company’s Facebook page. Your food blender gets publicity created by its own fans. And those fans can share their enthusiasm for your new blender with their friends on Facebook, who can share with their friends on Twitter, who can post videos on YouTube, etc. And the concentric circles get bigger and bigger.
It’s okay to start at zero knowledge regarding social media marketing, as long as you commit to moving forward to an ever-increasing knowledge base. If you do this, you and your company can look forward to connecting with your prospective clients and customers in ways you never could have imagined possible only a few short years ago.