Social Media is Still Uncharted Waters

2013.5.10 Uncharted Waters

When you are embarking on a journey whose destination is uncertain, you have to get comfortable with uncertainty.

When it comes to social media, uncertainty has been, and for the foreseeable future, will necessarily be part of its use in your marketing equation.

These are uncharted waters. Everyone is still learning.

So, small businesses simply need to first get their feet wet, after which they will find their way if they follow a proven process, such as the one outlined in Built-In Social.

What I’m Hearing

Now that social media hype is beginning to fizzle, the truth is coming out from many social media agencies and practitioners – this is just getting started.

So, if you are still challenged with getting results from your social media marketing, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

What is interesting is the practice of content marketing is beginning to go mainstream.

While they may not necessarily use the term content marketing, even regular small businesses are becoming aware that social media is fairly useless without well-planned content marketing driving it.

Of course, content marketing has been around a long time in the form of advertorials and the like, it has just taken awhile for it to be linked to effective social marketing.

The challenge, of course, is actually doing the work to put it into practice.

What Is The One Thing to Do?

Last week I worked with a small business – a very small one at that. However, the owner possesses both the technical and creative skills to make this work, he has simply not yet put rubber to the road.

So, his obvious question was what is the one thing he should be doing now.

Every business is unique, so it requires some study to determine if a blog, email newsletter, or a specific social network would be the best place to initially focus. Yes, I consider all of these to be “social media” because being digital, they all have the ability to integrate with social media (and each other) in some way.

More important than the channel, is the practice:

1. Create relevant content to be attractive

Experienced businesses, and even those with just a few years of experience, know what their customers want. It’s really a matter of learning what the pain points are and solving those problems.

Content that solves problems will always be attractive, which means your business has to get into the answers business to do the same.

2. Use consistency to establish expectations

When it comes to marketing, and really anything else in business, those doing one or two things well lead their industries, or at least they do in their local communities.

3. Learn better practices and trends

In addition to studying the better practices in your industry, you should be learning how to adapt to what is working in others.

Trends often surface first in other industries, and you will look like a genius by simply being the first to adapt it to yours. This is especially true when it comes to social media.

When the waters are uncharted and the future is uncertain, it is a risky strategy to be the first or the best, because you just don’t know what is around the corner that will bring it all down.

Instead, take a disciplined approach to establish your course to build relationships and earn the trust of your customers.  If you do that, the uncertainties you may encounter are easily managed.

How about you? How are you positioning your business for the uncertain future of social media marketing?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Just Released April 2013 (Wiley)

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