OK, here’s the deal. I’ve talked to lots of you at business networking meetings about social media. I’ve mentioned it over coffee with new clients and co-collaborators (as recent as yesterday afternoon – you know who you are!). And, I get the following response. “What’s that?” Invariably. Mentioning words like ‘blog’, ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’, ‘podcast’ or ‘collaboration’ do not enlighten anyone either.

So, I’m writing this little post, to explain, as simply as I can what it is and how you need to get up-to-date. And, setting this within the context of marketing. You know how to network in person. You know how to dress. You know how to pitch yourself. You know who your customers are. But, do you? Do you know how your customers like to communicate and hear news about your business and products? Are there customers you are missing out on? Could disseminating news and developments be easier? Quicker? More efficient? Free, even? That’s why I’ve called this post Smarketing. Smart+Marketing=Smarketing. See? If you’re interested, read on.

Social Media is a catch-all term that refers to nethods of connecting with people online. That’s it. You can stop reading now. However, if you want to know more about those methods, continue…

Remember, in the olden days, a website was no more than a noticeboard, or a big, eye-wateringly expensive, business-card. It contained your business name and contact details. If you could afford more than one page, you might have had a list of your services. Later, you might even had had one of them there Contact pages.

Social refers to the connecting bit. Media, surprisingly(!) refers to how you connect, i.e. online. I know, I’ve been beating the drum for a while. But, the thing is, I care about you guys. I’ve heard struggling entrepreneurs and established businesses tell me over and over how much money they’re spending on advertising inches in business magazines, to no avail. I’ve heard your woes about cold-calling (does anyone DO that anymore??). I’ve listened in pain, as you describe your affiliate deals that don’t bring in much cash. I’ve even heard some of you tell me you do your own leaflet drops.

Here’s the thing. I’m not a marketing person, though I DO spend a fair amount of time reading marketing blogs and websites. But only the good ones. See Marketing Profs and Jim’s Marking Blog to get started. And, Problogger’s the best, if it’s a blog you’re marketing specifically. That’s not to say I’ve implemented all their suggestions. But, I am working my way through the best of them. And, since I have, it’s increased the website hits by oh… loadsa%.

So, grab a wodge of Terry’s Chocolate Orange, and let me tell you what I’ve learned about smart marketing. I attended a Dirty Marketing Tricks seminar, run by a charming old-hand, about two years ago. He talked about image (which is crucial, though he didn’t practice what he preached) and pens (which I wasn’t entirely convinced about, since his were poor quality). And, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that traditional or current marketing techniques are old hat. If they work for you, great. But, I am saying, you’re missing a trick, if you fail to keep with the social media explostion, and ride the wave while it lasts. In 2009:

If you get Smarketing, you’ll sign up for a profile on Facebook

Now, I don’t want you to waste your Sunday afternoons there. Do it the Smarketing way:

  1. Sign up. Fill out your profile. Connect with a few friends/colleagues/customers/suppliers you know already use it.
  2. Add your Facebook page link to your email signature and any other correspondence.
  3. Use the odd Friday afternoon to search for other contacts. Build them up over time.
  4. Make sure your settings are set to email you if something happens – this is the default position anyhow. Wait and see who contacts you. They will see your website and contact details and then…

If you get Smarketing, you’ll open a Twitter account and see what happens

This one is a slow-burn. It takes time to build up contacts on Twitter. However, you’ll be surprised who already has an account. Use it for the following:

  1. Do all of the above, and;
  2. If you have a blog, push your blog posts through Twitter. This notifies your ‘followers’ there’s something new to read.
  3. Ask questions and answer other people’s questions. The Twitter community has developed an ethos of sharing, helping, free advice, warnings. Join in.
  4. Post news, what you’re thinking about, what you’re up to, cool websites, interesting events, useful information. People will gravitate to you. Your followers’ followers will soon start to follow you. and, when they do, they’ll get directed to your website and…

I was like you. I thought, “that sounds like a frivolous waste of time.” I’ve happily been proved wrong. Like re-arranging your desk, it can be a waste of time, if you let it. Your call how much time you spend with it.

Smart Marketing Will Set up a Profile on LinkedIn, Visual CV…

This one requires less work. Like the other social networking sites, this one has a profile pages and supplies email updates. You’re starting to get the picture now.

I know what you’re thinking…

OK, Dawn, great. But, I don’t know where to start. Book onto one of my workshops. There are more coming soon, specifically targeted toward computer-literate, but social media-illiterate professionals. I’ll be there to help you set up, maintain, improve and become an expert social networker. Contact me for more information on events, or keep an eye on the Current Events Schedule.