Eating The Elephant - Social Media Marketing for Professionals
My name is Bill Brelsford and I own a company called Rebar Business Builders where I work
as a marketing coachconsultant – helping small business owners install marketing systems.
I’m located just outside of Kansas City. I started my career as a CPA, but I no longer practice
accounting. I’ve spent most of my career helping small businesses create and automate
A couple of years ago I noticed that most of the businesses that I worked with didn’t have a
systematic way of getting new business. So that’s when I decided to start my own company
and become an Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Coach.
So let’s talk about what this social media marketing stuff is all about.
I know it’s popular these days to disdain theory…
But as Dr. Deming, father of the quality evolution, once said “No theory, no learning”
So let’s take a minute and explore why we may (or may not) want to explore social media
The basic theory we are operating on is that interruption based marketing is ineffective.
People are either becoming immune or using technology to block out the interruptions.
In order to be effective, we must move from interruption based marketing, to a world of
permission based marketing and marketing that helps us “get found” by the people who
need us when they need us.
Sometimes “old” marketing is referred to as outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing uses many the tools we think of when we think of social media
Maybe you haven’t heard this, but I’m surprised how often I hear that social media
marketing doesn’t work for professional service providers.
That’s a myth. It does work for professional service providers when done correctly and we’ll
talk more about what that means.
It may take more work to use correctly, but it is effective.
“Traditional” advertising and marketing has never worked extremely well for services.
Sometimes that was because the tactic was ineffective. Sometimes, it was because we just
don’t like marketing.
We’ve traditionally relied on networking, building relationships, giving and receiving
introductions, establishing ourselves as subject matter experts
Social media marketing is about having conversations and building relationships. Sound
How have professionals marketed their services in the past?
• Writing articles
• Speaking engagements
Luckily for us, those very same things that proved effective for us marketing professional
services the “old” way are the very things that make for successful social media marketing
Social media gives us a new set of tools to begin and participate in these conversations.
With people we may not otherwise meet
It also allows us to participate in conversations without having to physically be there
It also gives us new tools to form and nurture relationships
One of the problems we face is that we have so many new tools and ways of working, that
we can feel overwhelmed. If we are not careful, social media marketing can become a huge
time suck for us.
So the question becomes, how do we get involved in social media and effectively use it to
grow our business without having it take up all of our time?
Social media must be part of our overall marketing strategy rather than a stand alone
We need a marketing system.
Since we are going to be talking about marketing today, let’s start with a common
definition. Here is the definition of marketing that we will be using today.
It’s really that simple. If you want a slightly more complex definition, we can say that
marketing is getting someone with a specific need to know, like, trust, do business with,
and refer you.
The bottom line is people want to do business with people they like. In order to like you
they have to know you and trust you.
This definition to drive everything we do in our marketing.
If you have a million dollar marketing budget, you can buy some Know, Like, and Trust. I’m
going to go out on a limb and assume that most of the people on this call don’t have that
kind of marketing budget, so in order to be effective we must be more systematic in how
we approach marketing.
So lets talk about a few fundamentals that go into creating a marketing system.
The first step in creating a successful marketing system is to create your marketing strategy.
Most small business owners don’t think about marketing in terms of strategy. They tend to
think of tactics. When you try to move straight to tactics without first developing a strategy
you fall victim of the marketing idea of the week.
Your strategy is comprised of two parts; your ideal customer description and your core
The more narrowly you can define who you help and how you help them, the easier all of
your marketing, social or otherwise, will be.
One more thing before we move on.
Sometimes you wouldn’t know it by talking to us marketing types, but, social media isn’t
just about marketing
But using it for marketing is what we will be talking about today.
Your marketing system (existing or planned) should be evaluated in terms of the marketing
There is an opportunity to use social media at every stage of the marketing hourglass
From a strategic point of view, what we are doing with social media in creating
conversations that open up new access points. Another way to think about this is many
streams feeding a river
But new access points to what?
Once you “get found” you need to have a clear picture of what you want to happen next.
For many of you, you want the next step to be for that person to visit your blog andor web
site to continue to learn more and perhaps to sign up for your “keep in touch” system. Or
get them into the “Try” stage of our marketing hour glass.
I find that one of the things that holds folks back from engaging in social media is the
question “where do I start?”
There are a lot of social sites available and we will talk a little bit about how to choose the
right one(s) for you.
When most of us talk about social media, we are probably talking about what I call the “big
I’m including blogging because of the crucial role it plays, particularly for professional
Although we will be talking mostly about the “Big Four”, remember that the social media
universe is huge.
So if your ideal customers don’t hang out on one of the big four, they probably have some
other place where you can meet them.
This intimidating chart is already out of date.
So where to start?
Going back to our idea about Strategy before Tactics, we should begin our social media
activities by listening.
I think one of the most important, and often overlooked, things to remember about social
media is that it gives us a great ability to listen to what is going on in the market place.
Use these listening tools to hear what people are saying about:
• You, your company, your brand
• Your competition
• Products you sell
• Organizations you belong to
• People expressing frustrations or problems (I’ve had my house on the market for 8
months and …)
• Local events
Twitter lets you listen based on keyword, dates, and even in your local area
There are two broad steps in “getting found”
1. Claiming your digital real estate
2. Creating and sharing content that is valuable to your ideal customers
Creating accounts profiles on different social sites
Profile should link to your blog andor website
Profiles should help people contact you
Let’s take a quick look at some of the places you can claim your digital real estate
A great place to centralize all of your links
Will typically show up on the bottom of the first page of google for your name
Have links from a high authority site back to your sites
Local search profiles are returned when someone searches for your services locally
“Kansas city marketing coach”
“Denver computer expert”
“Dallas divorce attorney”
Free to set up
Your clients can leave reviews
The “yellow books” of the internet
Social because people can leave reviews. Customers searching get “instant referrals”, so
you want to encourage your raving fan customers to leave reviews for you.
A blog is a great way to get found
Search engines love blogs – when they routinely provide relevant (key word rich)
content. You don’t have to be a prolific writer, but you do want to post consistently,
even if only once or twice a week.
Even if people don’t read your blog everyday, chance are they will find it when they
If you don’t have a blog, check out Wordpress
Wordpress.com allows you to set up a blog on their site
Most web hosting services (GoDaddy, Blue Host) have “one-click” installation of
Wordpress or you can download from Wordpress.org
Use a reader to keep track of the blogs you follow
Bloglines.com and Google Reader are two popular readers.
Most professionals will start with LinkedIn
If you have a LinkedIn profile, when someone Googles your name, one of the top results
will be your LinkedIn profile.
Who to follow is always a big question when starting to use twitter.
In addition to interesting people you found via the twitter searches you set up as part of
your listening station, here are some popular resources for finding people to follow
Unless you like drinking from a fire hose, you will want some tools to help filter and
organize your twitter conversations. Here are three popular tools to help you group, filter,
search, and manage your twitter account.
How do we manage all of this and still do our other job(s)?
Perhaps you check FB & Twitter once or twice a day
Post to your blog weekly
Write a newsletter andor find new people to follow monthly
There is an ever-growing list of tools designed to make managing social media easy.
The problem is, there are so many.
If you try to select tools first, you will spend a ton of time
So determine your plan first, which will tell you your needs, and then select your tools
Some broad categories of tools include
Most CRM systems are building social media integration into their offerings. If you currently
use a CRM system, check with your vendor to see what social media features they have and
plan to offer
LinkedIn connects to Twitter
Facebook app to connect with Twitter
Tools like Ping.fm allow you to update several accounts at once or individually but from the
Wordpress has a plugin to update twitter when you create a new post