Business consultants, coaches, and authors are fond of admonishing that what got you here won’t get you there.
Their reasons often stem from their desire to teach you their methods, thereby helping you to break free from your past.
The flaw in this reasoning is your past is precisely what got you here. Why would you want to abandon that?
It should be obvious that digital technologies, the Internet, and especially the social web, are responsible for much of the upheaval in our current business environment. Therefore, the true challenge is simply adapting to all of it.
What got you here will indeed get you there, provided you learn how to move your proven business growth practices to the social web.
Learning to translate your business growth to the web is vital, for the simple reason that the web is now central to ever business – and its customers.
Therefore, start with understanding the core components of your current business model. That good old foundation is still solid. Now let’s find out how to make it more relevant.
The Marketing Driven Business
If you were a successful marketer before the Internet, you can be successful today, regardless of your affinity for technology. The distinction is recognizing that the marketing that works these days is much more than pure advertising or promotion.
The one thing every marketing driven business needs to learn is that today they are teachers first.
Your marketing must have a content marketing component that educates your communities, thereby teaching them how to be better buyers. That is what you promote – the value that precedes or is associated with your products and services.
If smart marketing brought you business to its current level, that should be your focus for moving it to the next one.
Nearly every person and business is using social media in some way. The trick is understanding that it is essential to bring great content to if. Without solid educational content marketing to back up your social media, your business is pretty much dead in the water.
The Sales Driven Business
Are you someone that passionately cares about helping people? If so, then this business environment is perfect for you.
Legendary sales trainer Zig Ziglar was known to say there are no “born salespeople.” What he meant was selling is a skill, and that means it can be learned by anyone that cares enough to help their customers.
One thing sales professionals need to learn today is that social marketing is a new way of selling.
The process of freely giving of your time to help your customers by answering their questions can now be accomplished with online media. Your sales team has been doing this for years; they only need to bring those skills and experience to this digital platform.
Selling ultimately comes down to one-on-one conversations, and bringing those stories online serves to give them greater reach for connecting the dots to new buyers.
The Production Driven Business
For some mainstream businesses their work is their marketing. It speaks for itself. This describes the company that I sold my landscape business to, and is one of the reasons I sold to them. Their production efficiencies married nicely with our sales and marketing strengths.
Can you amplify the quality of your work online? Absolutely. Using Pinterest and Facebook to not only capture the beauty of the finished product, but also the methods and practices for creating it is powerful.
One thing every business should be doing is creating shareable, visual, digital objects that instantly capture the nature of their work. Those visual media objects speak for themselves, just as your work does.
There are more social media channels, tools, and methods than any business (large or small) could possibly use, so don’t even attempt to keep up. Instead, seriously consider the strengths that you already know are responsible for bringing your business this far.
Now consider how to best adapt them to how the trending, social web. For example, Twitter moves fast and is probably not the best channel for buyers to soak up all of the finer details of photos that profile your best projects.
Match the digital medium with the message and the messenger – your business.
How about leaving a comment about how this transition is working for you?
Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)