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Smeb release

  1. 1. BUSINESSBLOGS.CO.NZ PRESENTS Social Media for Small BusinessA guide for small business owners who just want facts not HYPE
  2. 2. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Confucius
  3. 3. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SAbout this BookEverywhere you look people are writing about social media: newspapers, magazines,bloggers, news channels, in-flight magazines, books and even your mum.After reading a few of these articles you will notice the same key theme comingthrough; if your business is not using social media then you are missing out onmassive opportunities.I have created this eBook to help the small business owner make sense of social mediaand clearly separate the parts of “social media” that could work for your business andhelp you identify the mindless copycat ranting of people that call themselves “experts”who do more damage than good.This eBook comprises of our own strategy for using social media that works for ourclients and us. Additionally the eBook contains a selection of articles that provide awealth of information for the small business owner.However the first thing I want to cover off with you is the importance of not panickingand thinking that your business will fail if your not using social media right now.You may remember the over-hyped, near religious ranting, of the ecommerce 90’swhen people were preaching that most shopping would be done online and therewould only be a few bricks and mortar businesses left in the world.Ha! Someone forgot to tell Wal-Mart and the other megamalls around the world andall the local stores we all love and cherish.What I have found is that when something new and shiny comes out you have theearly adopters who come in, claim it as the only future we have and then startpanicking everyone else.So settle in and read this eBook before you start spending any money and time onsocial media. I do hope you will gain a little more information that helps you to makebetter decisions about how you can utilize social media for your business.
  4. 4. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SAbout the Author Marc Krisjanous is the technical lead at Mobilize Mail Limited responsible for CampaignHub™ ( which provides social media solutions for New Zealand businesses. Marc has been in the Internet “game” for over 10 years so far and loves the challenge of new and evolving technologies.About CampaignHub™CampaignHub™ provides social media solutions for New Zealand businesses startingat strategy right through to the tools used to attract, filter and identify real prospectsfor your business.CampaignHub™ is also unique in the market insofar as it helps clients grow theirnetworks by leveraging off CampaignHub’s own extensive social networkcommunities.“We set a higher bar for this Campaign and reached it. It’s amazing how much canbe achieved in two weeks and how easy it is to measure ROI.The CampaignHub team took care of everything once again and they were great atcoaching me through the phases including post campaign follow up.Running these campaigns is going to be a regular occurrence for us – thankgoodness Mobilize Mail created CampaignHub for our business.”Josie – Rodney Wayne, Wellington (Client’s testimonial)
  5. 5. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SSocial Media for SmallBusinessCopyright © 2011 Mobilize Mail. Ltd.Notice of RightsAll rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior writtenpermission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations included in criticalarticles or reviews.Notice of LiabilityThe author and publisher have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of theinformation herein. However, the information contained in this book is sold withoutwarranty, either express or implied. The authors nor it’s dealers or distributors, will beheld liable for any damages caused either directly or indirectly by the instructionscontained in this book, or by the software or hardware products described herein.
  6. 6. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S STable of ContentsAbout CampaignHub™ ............................................................. iSocial Network Versus Social Media ........................................ 3Outbound Marketing ................................................................. 4Inbound Marketing ................................................................... 6The 3 Most Important Social Networks Your Business Needs aPresence In .............................................................................. 8Social Media is NOT Free ...................................................... 14The BIGGEST mistake you can make online ......................... 18You need a Home Base ......................................................... 19Knowledge For Greater Email & Social Media Success ......... 24Choose Relevant Content For Higher ROI ............................. 25Is Social Media Too Expensive for Small Business? .............. 27Vital Tips for New Zealand Businesses New to Social Media . 29
  7. 7. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S 1 Chapter What is Social Media? In this chapter I cover the basics of “Social Media” and introduce the 3 most important social networks you should consider for your business. Social Network Versus Social Media The first item on the agenda is to clarify the term “social media”. This term has been used since the beginning but in fact when people talk about “social media” they are normally taking about social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. “Social media” initially was the term used to describe the technology that is used to create social connections or community. However once mainstream media started talking about Facebook, Twitter and other online communities they used “social media” instead of the correct term “social network”. Anyway – “social media” sounds less nerdy than “social network”. The term “Social Media” is new but what it represents is as old as the Internet itself. Before our children talked about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube, StumbleUpon, Digg Bebo and the other 100’s1 more there was Internet Relay Chat (IRC), forums, bulletin boards and of course good-old email. Indeed, even before the likes of Facebook and Twitter some of us were already communicating with each other using globally connected computers as the latest communication channel. A common definition for the term is:1
  8. 8. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S “Social Media” is the use of technology combined with social interaction to create or co-create value.2 So if we have been socializing since the dawn of time why is “social media” currently having huge amounts of press coverage? Well it’s because you and I are not listening anymore. Outbound Marketing Most businesses attempt to disrupt in order to gain your attention. Here are some examples of how businesses attempt to disrupt: • Loud TV commercials full of terrible color combinations, big letters and head-banging background music. • Telemarketers who have an amazing knack of ringing people just when they have relaxed in front of the TV. • Overly aggressive shop assistants who won’t be able to afford to eat if they don’t sell you something. • Adverts injected into TV programs, radio shows, video games, music, movies etc… • Pumping hypnotic music and familiar smells into the shop that spark happy memories of your childhood. • Letterbox mail (direct un-addressed mail). • And all of our favorite, unwanted emails (SPAM). • Let’s not forget a common reason – straight-out lying. Let me ask you a question (it’s really two)… When reading the newspaper (the real paper version) do you ever notice and read the adverts? What about reading articles on a website – do you read the advertisements? No?2
  9. 9. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SWell that is how most businesses try to get noticed - by disruptinglong enough to get you to take action or at least remember theirbrand.The term used for this type of marketing is called “OutboundMarketing” and it’s failing fast. Viewers are creating walls to blockout the disruption and we are using technology to do the job.How many anti-disruption devices do you use? • SPAM filters for unwanted email. • The rubbish bin for direct mail. • Caller ID for telemarketers. • Visual blind spots for advertisements online and offline. • The mute button or services such as TiVo for TV ad breaks. • Ignoring or abusing shop assistants.The image below shows visually how businesses try and disrupt inorder to get some ‘sell’ time with you. However since this style ofmarketing has been going on far too long, we have now createdwalls to block or filter out the disruption. Source:
  10. 10. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SIn fact some of us are so sick of being disrupted that we haveturned to social networks to connect and be entertained, andignore traditional media e.g. newspapers, TV etc…How many of us see our own children spend more time in front ofthe computer than the TV? Maybe you and your friends arespending a bit more time checking out the latest funny videos onYouTube or trying to connect with lost love interests on Facebook?So if we all have put up walls to block disruption and now spendmore time using social networks such as YouTube and Facebookhow can businesses connect with you?Well the answer is simple – they also use YouTube, Facebook andother sites to connect. But what is so powerfully different now isthat you and I are in control of the connection NOT the business.It is extremely hard for a business to disrupt consumers in thesocial networks because they first have to get permission via“friendship requests”. The control is now in the consumer’s handsto accept or deny a connection with a business.Even if you give them a chance and accept their request to connect,if they disappoint you, it takes just one click from you and they aregone from your network.This change in how we connect is a major challenge for businessesand slowly but surely some of them are waking up to find that theonly way to spend time with you is to gain your trust and respect,so you accept their requests to join their network.This process of gaining your trust and respect so you listen is called“Inbound Marketing”.Inbound MarketingConsider this scenario - you’re at a party chatting with close friendsand out of the blue a stranger joins your group and starts handingout their business card and starts talking about their business.What is your reaction?Well I guess it would be to smile politely, slip the business card inyour pocket and hope like hell he or she leaves the group as fast asthey arrived.
  11. 11. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SThis scenario is a good example of “Outbound Marketing” usingdisruption and ultimately generating a negative result.How “Inbound Marketing” works in this same situation is thestranger would very politely introduce herself to the group sayingshe is interested in the group’s discussion. When the opportunitypresents itself the new group member would provide her input toassist with the enjoyment and knowledge of the discussion. On noaccount would she try to sell you anything!When the new group member leaves the group what would you allthink about her? Would you want to know her name and look forher at the next party?This is “Inbound Marketing”. A business provides advice and valueto you for nothing in return. Overtime you gain trust and respectfor this business and when you do need to buy what they sell, 9 outof 10 times you will go with them instead of their competitors. Youmight even feel so good about the business that you refer yourfriends to them.The image below shows visually how “Inbound Marketing” works.Businesses use social networks to connect with you in a mannermuch like our party example. They add value and enter intodiscussions with you in order to help out. Overtime, out of interestor need, you will contact them and ultimately buy from them orrefer your friends. Source:
  12. 12. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SAs you can see “Inbound Marketing” uses social networks andservices to connect with prospects and clients. This is why you seea lot of articles about how businesses should use social media.However, as a business there are many ways to really “shootyourself in the foot” in social networks. Just like any real-life partythere are defined social rules and etiquette to follow.The 3 Most Important Social Networks YourBusiness Needs a Presence InIn this section I am going to provide a basic overview of the 3 mostimportant social networks for your business.My advice is to ignore all others as they have fewer peoplecompared to the ‘big 3’ and with limited time to invest in socialnetworks your business wants maximum bang for your buck.To help explain how each of the big 3 social networks work I willuse a “real-world” analogy that I hope you can relate to.So here we go – the most important social networks for business.LinkedIn – “Ladies and Gentlemen’s Business Club”Take yourself back 100 years and imagine being invited to the“Ladies and Gentlemen’s Business Club” for a polite afternoon teato discuss worldly events. The dress code is dinner suit and cocktaildress and all discussion is extremely polite and in no wayconfrontational. All unpleasant issues are discussed elsewhere.In my opinion this sums up LinkedIn really well.To have any success in LinkedIn you must be on your absolute bestbehavior and act at all times in a most professional manner. If youget this right you can be introduced to some very excitingopportunities and networks.Some of my best opportunities and contacts from social networkshave come via LinkedIn but it’s not for everyone. LinkedIn is bestfor business consulting and specialist services. It’s not great forbusiness owners looking for customers for their flower shop orhardware store.You also have to spend a reasonable amount of time connectingand chatting in LinkedIn before anyone starts remembering you.
  13. 13. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SOut of the top 3 social networks it requires the most effort and isbest suited for consulting and services businesses.Twitter – “Where is your soapbox?”Twitter is the latest sweetheart in “social media” and in my opinionthe least understood so I will devote a bit more to explaining thisdarling of social media.It has taken me over 12 months to understand what Twitter is trulyabout.Let me explain Twitter to you…Every city in the world has street performers. People who do funnyand dangerous acts in public places all for a few coins tossed in ahat.The type of street performer I want to look at is the one thatentertains not through physical action but through the use of voice.They normally stand on a “soapbox” and entertain you via theirwitty conversation or powerful views on topics such as politics andreligion.
  14. 14. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S This is what Twitter is all about – you get on your electronic soapbox which amazingly is called a “handle” 3 and make yourself heard on Twitter normally by sharing links to interesting articles, videos or images. You also present your views on topics that interest you. Just like our street performer people hear you and come over to listen. If they like you they will turn up each time you get on your soapbox. In the Twitter world these people are called “followers” (a bit like band groupies). You have only 140 characters (letters) per yell, which forces people to use text language like they do on mobile phones if they have a lot to yell about. You can of course yell as often as you want but then you get called a “Spammer’ so really it’s not that easy. The most “successful” or “popular” people4 on Twitter are mainly BIG industry business leaders such as Sir Richard Branson, Steve Jobs etc... or celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher5 who currently has over 5 million followers (groupies) . For the average businessperson it takes a lot more effort and time to get noticed. Some business owners I know spend up to an hour each day chatting and sharing interesting stuff. Now if you can invest an hour each day chatting with people on Twitter then you may get some form of ROI but if you cannot spend at least an hour per day then you need to look at using some form of automation to help you to continue to post messages. If you are not on your soapbox entertaining people frequently then no one follows you. We have been using Twitter for well over a year now and I now see a common pattern with most small businesses that attempt to use Twitter. The pattern follows these steps. 1) The person creates their Twitter profile and starts to work locating and communicating with anyone who is discussing topics that fit into what they sell. 2) The person can then spend up to 10 minutes (or more!!) each working hour checking their Twitter “stream” for any developments on discussions or people contacting them. They3 For the sane among us its also called a “profile” or “account”.4 Success in the Twitter world is denoted by the number of followers you have - this is of course hotly denied bythe hardcore Twitter users but in essence is how people view your power or success.5
  15. 15. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S contribute a heap of time, energy and information helping out others – for free.3) Over the initial 3-4 month period the person spends a lot of time forming relationships within Twitter and in time they may actually meet the people in café’s or functions (called “Tweet- ups”).4) After the 4th month or so we see a critical decision being made by the person. What happens around this time is that there is a clear distinction between the people who were using Twitter to help feed their pipeline and people who actually have started using it as a social outlet. The people who were hoping that all the effort they contributed over the 3- 4 months helping others was going to feed their pipeline are normally disappointed at the effort/result ratio and they abandon Twitter. That’s why up to 75% of all Twitter accounts are actually abandon and why the owners of Twitter are working out how to release all these abandoned accounts so people can reuse the profile name again.So why is the effort/result ratio so low with Twitter?Well - because people on Twitter like sharing content with eachother. In fact if you’re not famous and want to have a largefollowing just share interesting links. That’s what we do and thepeople will come.Unfortunately this never really results in increasing your pipelineto the level where the results of your effort pay for your time.Unless you use the right strategy which I will show you latter on 
  16. 16. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SUnfortunately this is how most small businesses appear on Twitter.Facebook – “Let’s meet at the mall”Facebook is by far the largest and most active social network in theworld currently sitting on 500 near 600 million. Some even saythat Facebook will be the new Internet due to people spendingmost of their online time in Facebook.A good way to describe Facebook is to think of it as the world’slargest shopping mall. Like many people you meet your friends atyour local shopping mall to eat, chat, buy stuff and generally hangout. Facebook for many is the online version of their favoriteshopping mall.And like a real world shopping mall there are businesses sellingstuff. People walk around the shopping mall window-shopping. Ifthey like what they see they walk into the shop to take a closer look.On Facebook a business has a shop front, which is called a “Page”.This is a businesses official presence in Facebook. For yourbusiness a Facebook Page is your shop front.
  17. 17. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SOne mistake many businesses make is assuming that they are“sexy” enough for Facebook in regards to bringing customers totheir door.Here is a question for you – have you ever seen a lawyer,accountant or mortgage broker in a shopping mall? And if you didby chance – did you see many people go into their shop? I doubt itbecause people go to shopping malls to be entertained just like onFacebook.I am not saying that if you are a lawyer/accountant or the like youcannot find success on Facebook – you just need to take your lackof “sexiness” into consideration. You should in fact have aFacebook Page for your business but really focus your efforts usingLinkedIn where people do expect to talk about and seek outprocessional services.A word on YouTube – Be your own movie starI don’t consider YouTube a direct social network for business eventhough online communities form around people who post a lot ofvideos. YouTube in my opinion is great for hosting videos you haveas you can easily embed the video on blogs/websites, Twitter,Facebook and most other social networks. The best part is youdon’t pay for the bandwidth!
  18. 18. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S SNot everyone can stand in front of a video recorder and chat for afew minutes on a subject without going blank, saying “um” 100’s oftimes and coming across as boring. It takes a lot of practice andskill for most people and hence the reason why there are not manybusiness owners using video as a way to communicate with theirclients and prospects.Video is a very powerful medium to use to get your message acrossin a very personal and direct way.Hosting the video on YouTube also utilizes YouTube’s communityfeatures which encourages a community to form around yourvideos.Since this eBook is for “Social Media Newbies” lets leave YouTubefor another time.Social Media is NOT FreeIn summary, as a small business owner who, I would guess, haslimited time, money and staff resources you need to reflect on thefollowing.3 Models for Using Social MediaWe currently have defined 3 options for using social media as abusiness tool:1) Manual – this is the option where you or your staff members participate within the social networks. You monitor any comments or posts directed towards your profiles and respond. Many “experts” generally consider this the only approach for social media. Below I will provide some key points that you need to be aware of if you chose this option.2) Automated – in this option, which is used by most news based businesses such as CNN and Reuters, information is posted to your social network profiles by software. Businesses use this option to publish their content to social networks to encourage readers back to their site. There is little or no manual interaction.3) Hybrid – this is the option we use. We post content to our social network profiles using our social media software for business. The posts contain links back to our online assets such
  19. 19. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S as blogs and websites. We also have staff that monitor the profiles once a day for any communication and respond if required – BUT – the response is always designed to send them back to an online asset we own. We always treat social networks as channels back to our own assets. Generally if people are interested in you or your business they will normally contact you via email or phone. Maybe it will change in the future.To further discuss the “Hybrid” option a little more I want to sharewith you a key finding we made when we reviewed our 1-year ofsocial media research in 2010.On Twitter people want content – they are generally not lookingfor communication or “engagement”. The funny thing is mostsocial media “experts” will scoff at this statement; and a lot have,but if you really monitor what is going on within Twitter like we didthe profiles that got the most results for business sharedinteresting links with their followers. They hardly chatted tofollowers and if they did they generally ended the conversation asfast as they could and pointed the person back to their website.Why?Because most people who have been active on Twitter for at least3-4 months start to work out that unless you are very famous oryou are offering mega-good deals on your products such as Dellthen the bulk of people you engage with will not be prospectmaterial. Most are looking for FREE and entertainment.Facebook is a different beast entirely in that you can draw inprospects but only if you would be successful within a physicalshopping mall because the same mentality is used within Facebookas I mentioned above.LinkedIn is a closed network and the only option you have ismanual and we would never go into LinkedIn with anything elsebut the manual option as its all about B2B reputation andnetworks.Key Points on using the Manual OptionAs promised above here are some key points that you need to beaware of when using the manual option.
  20. 20. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S1) Social media is not FREE. Participating within social networks will cost your business time, money and staff resources. Make sure you monitor how much business resources you are using up and every month compare how many real prospects you got out of this effort. Even better how many converted prospects? Most “experts” will say that this is not how you should use social media – “it’s the end game” or “its all about engagement and adding value”. That’s fine but are you in business to make profit in the short term so you can keep the cash-flow flowing or are you here to work for free? Just like your sales rep that will take a prospect out for coffee – your business can only absorb this for so long before you expect some return on that coffee.2) Do not what ever you do hand this task over to your summer grad or your new marketing “manager” who is fresh out of education. What you post on the Internet stays on the Internet for a very long time. Social media has given people the power to spread content at such speed that serious PR damage can be done to your business in seconds. If an irate customer contacts your business via Twitter and starts ranting abuse (yes it happens every day) and your “Social Community Manager” fresh out of a marketing course gets offended and “gives some back” to the customer you will witness first hand how far that comment will be spread throughout the entire Internet. So either you manage the communication or you get a trusted and mature person that can handle outright abuse. Many young people cannot change their “out of work” communication mentality when communicating within social networks as a business representative.3) I would guess that you have spent quite a bit of time and money creating official business processes for dealing with people contacting the business such as sales processes and customer support processes. When you open up your business to the social networks you are in fact adding another channel for people to communicate with your business; people will also consider it an official channel. Make sure your processes can handle these new forms of communication channels.4) My final point or recommendation is if you are just starting out with social media work out if your customer type(s) is in fact using social media and if so what social networks? Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Once done just focus on that social network only. You will get yourself into a big mess trying to
  21. 21. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S have a presence in all networks and also waste money if your customer type is not present.In the next chapter I will introduce part of our own strategy forusing social networks to help feed our clients pipeline as well asour own.
  22. 22. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S 2 Chapter How we use Social Media In this chapter I will introduce the part of our social media strategy used for increasing our customers pipeline. The BIGGEST mistake you can make online The biggest mistake a business can make is assume it has any right or control over what it has created within a social network such as Facebook. Most people assume (wrongly) that their social profiles, groups, pages and followers within Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other social network are their property. That’s very – very wrong. You basically don’t own anything within social networks – you merely rent out a temporary space within their environment and they can kick you out whenever they want. The owners of social networks own everything you add to their network: content, videos, images, attachments and even followers. It means nothing to them that you paid some contractor $5,000 USD to build your flash Facebook Page with its own shopping cart. Actually for an example let us have a look at Facebook. Facebook started off as a closed network for university students (forgive the terminology – I live in New Zealand and that’s what we call them over here) years ago and that’s why people joined. Over a very short period of time they have opened up your personal account to developers, advertisers and any business that has knowledge of their “Social Graph” API to suck your personal data out of FaceBook. Read this article for more info: rogue/Visit us at 18 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  23. 23. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S So do you really think Facebook believes you have any rights within its environment? Nope – and most6 social networks don’t care either. So what does this mean? Well, since you have no rights within the social networks you are spending all your time and money in building something you don’t own – would you see this as slightly risky? We do and this is why we only consider social networks such as Facebook and Twitter as channels to your “home base”. You need a Home Base A “Home Base” (“HB”) is something that you own such as a corporate website or blog. The asset is outside of any social network or “hosted service” such as Your HB is where you invest the bulk of your time that you have allocated for online branding and attracting prospects to your business. You use social networks as channels to attract people from these networks to your HB. On your HB you have “sales funnels” that are designed to capture as many visitors contact details as possible. Makes sense? Below is a visual of what I am talking about. 6 I use “most” as there could be some obscure social network that I don’t know about that does give you some rights to your own data – but I would doubt it.Visit us at 19 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  24. 24. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S Let us have a look at each component within the image. The “cloud” containing people are the potential prospects within social networks that you need to attract out of the social network back to your HB. Now you can attract people out of social networks by providing links to content on your HB such as helpful articles about a topic they are interested in and also happens to be a skill set of yours. For example if you are a tax accountant you could write an article titled “10 Tips to reduce your Business Tax”, publish it to your website/blog and then provide a link to the article on your Facebook Page and Twitter profile. People interested in reducing tax payments (who isn’t?) will click the link and end up at your HB. So what you need to do next is offer the visitor an easy way to be alerted to more great articles on tax that your publish on your HB. The way we recommend to stay in touch is a free monthly email newsletter. NOTE: If anyone tells you that email marketing is dead ask them to explain why Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/YouTube/ sites andVisit us at 20 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  25. 25. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S other blogs and social networking sites use email to communicate updates to their members. The answer is email marketing is still, to this day, the best way to get your business in front of people. Your email ends up on their personal devices such as their computer and mobile phone and they have given you permission to contact them. Your brand constantly stays in their conscious and your brand more importantly ends up in their subconscious so when they need to buy a good or service that your business offers your brand comes straight up from their subconscious and hits them like a freight train! The sales funnel on your HB is the banners and input forms that allow your visitor to sign up to your free email newsletter. Have a look at the “sales funnels” also know as “call to actions” we have on one of our blogs.Visit us at 21 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  26. 26. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S And that’s just the home page! We have links to free newsletters and eBooks throughout the site and we even mention these great resources within articles we publish on the site. Day-by-day our email database grows with more prospects and the more value you provide (like free informational eBooks) the more likely your prospects will become clients for your business. This builds a level of trust between you and your prospects that will result in many of them becoming your clients when they need you. We consider our email database our prospect database and the best part about this is we own the database NOT Facebook, NOT Twitter nor any other social network. So if we or our clients ever get kicked out of Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or whats more likely the social networks change their rules and may start charging a fee for businesses to be within their networks you still have your prospect database safely stored within your environment – not theirs. So the most important points to take out of this chapter are: 1) You have no rights within social networks as content producer; whatever you create within a social network you do not own including your list of followers.Visit us at 22 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  27. 27. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S 2) If you get kicked out of the social network you will more than likely lose everything you created within that social network including your list of followers. 3) You need to create a “Home Base” that you spend the bulk of your time building up so when people arrive they are overwhelmed with information available which will give them more reason to come back and ultimately sign up to your email newsletter. 4) Your “Home Base” must have sales funnels that are designed to get as many of your visitors into your email marketing database as possible because email is still the most effective way to keep in touch with your prospects. 5) You own your email marketing database and no social network can take this away from you.Visit us at 23 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  28. 28. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S 3 Chapter Extra Resources In this chapter I have included further reading about best practices for small business using social media and email marketing. Knowledge For Greater Email & Social Media Success Information – What Are You Sharing? The quality of your email and social media network is more than likely directly attributed to the information you are sharing. Knowledge is power and content is king for retaining and growing email and social media networks. Be discerning and choose highly targeted relevant content (news, views) that educate, entertain, share and inspire your followers. Now where your content residing? Bring Your Followers To You Place your content on your own online assets e.g. Your blog, website. Remember you do not own social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter therefore we recommend you publish your daily or weekly blog posts, articles, e-books on your website, or blog site and reach out to your networks in social media and email with broadcasting style messages – that bring these people to your blog or website to read your articles, posts, news and views. Once they are on your site they can elect to also view your ‘services or products’ or elect to learn more about your business. Which brings me to the next tip – Call to Actions. Call To Actions A quick question for you – can you name more than one highly visible Call to Action on your blog or website? You may be wondering, what is a Call to Action? A banner or sign up form to join your email newsletter is a Call to Action (C2A), so is a ‘quote request’ form or a ‘request to interview’.Visit us at 24 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  29. 29. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S Essentially a C2A is an instruction that encourages the viewer to take some action resulting in your business getting information from that person that allows your business to contact them. An example is the trusty email newsletter sign up – e.g. Join Our Newsletter for the latest updates including deals – click here – by clicking on the link the person may arrive at a sign up page that asks for the person’s first name and email address. KISS Approach To Sharing Your Social Media and Email followers will remain with you longer if you are sharing relevant high quality information. They will work for you too by sharing your content (blog posts, articles etc) with their colleagues, friends, associates and your business will reap the benefits with more prospects acting on your ‘Call to Actions’ requesting quotes, downloading your e- books or joining your email lists. Knowledge truly is all powerful and how you share that knowledge with your followers in social media and email can be taken care of with systems and sharing tools. social-media-success/ Choose Relevant Content For Higher ROI When it comes to email, online marketing, or any marketing for that matter, it’s a good idea to put yourself in your customers’ shoes to ensure what you are saying and how you are communicating is actually going to gain a positive reaction from them. It’s not rocket science, just plain common sense. Constant interruptions offering products and services they don’t want or need is the quickest way to become ‘untweeted’, ‘unfriended’ or just plain ignored by your customers. Your aim is for them to welcome your interaction, not find it annoying. It needs to be recognizable, entertaining, informative and a catalyst for them to engage with you on a regular basis. This type of content is often referred to in the US as ‘magnetic content’. Here’s an analogy with a bit of a New Zealand twist that might help you to see where I’m coming from. When developing your content, whether for an ad, a tweet, a blog or any other online social marketing tool, think of the words as a ‘woollen sock’ and the potential customers as ‘biddy bid’s. Remember them? If the (words) sock even lightly touches the (customer) biddy bid, they’re stuck together for good.Visit us at 25 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  30. 30. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S Nearly two thirds of marketers in the US use this approach as part of their social media strategies, making it the most common approach for developing content. Check out the statistics below from a June 2010 study by King Fish Media, HubSpot and Junta42. When developing your content, ponder these five points: 1) Is the content unique? 2) Will the content be of any use to your customer? 3) Is the content well written? 4) Is the content fun? 5) Does the content make good use of the medium you are using (e.g., social, mobile, video)? Know Your Customers And Cater To Their NeedsVisit us at 26 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  31. 31. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S The one thing you have in common with your current customers is that they know your brand. That’s all well and good. But how well do you know your customer? When developing your next online marketing campaign, be it on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc. don’t just focus on the products you want to sell, draw the customer in by honing in on their buyer behaviour, attitude and lifestyle. You’ll get a much better reaction from a mother with small children if you offer her a 24 pack of nappies at a heavily reduced price, rather than the opportunity to work out to increase her biceps. Mobilize Mail has a survey feature as part of their email marketing solution. Surveys are a great way to seek to understand (your clients/prospects) so you can be understood. higher-roi/ Is Social Media Too Expensive for Small Business? Social media has made a positive impact on the world and for business, however, is social media too expensive for small business? Most small businesses struggle with lack of cashflow, lack of skills to manage all the facets of running a business and importantly a lack of time. Social media has provided a way for prospects and customers to directly communicate with the business sometimes bypassing the official communication channels that have been created, by the business, to reduce running cost such as providing customer service self-help forums and websites. But when we look at social networks such as Twitter where there is a need to have a “bum on seat” to monitor the profile for any communication. You can see how the cost of providing this channel can be an expensive endeavor. The likes of Telecom and TelstraClear providing this service is not really an issue when it comes to cost – its more of an issue on how to officially process the communication coming in and how to deal with irate customers. For small business the “bum on seat” is more than likely the owner of the business and done mostly after hours since the day is normally full managing the normal operations of the business. How much time should a small business dedicate to social media?Visit us at 27 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  32. 32. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S How much time on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other social networks? If you are reading one of the many case studies ranting about the benefits of social media and how you must be on there “engaging” or you will go out of business – take a step back and look at the examples they provide of the successful New Zealand businesses using social media. I have talked about this before here: “Vital Tips for New Zealand Businesses New to Social Media“ but normally the examples are either major businesses such as Telco’s and banks or two small businesses here in New Zealand namely Giapo and Wine Vault TV both of whom are fantastic on social media but the time spent by both of them within social networks is unsustainable by most small businesses. Added to that the fact that only 34% of New Zealand businesses have a website (!!) you can see that social media can actually be an expensive and steep learning curve for small business if not managed correctly. Why? Because participation in social networks at the time of writing this piece requires some level of technical awareness and knowledge of how social media works. For example, if your staff member loses it on Twitter and becomes less than professional with an irate customer then the customer can spread the entire conversion around the Internet – remember – its all public. The customer can send links to the dialog to their friends which they, in turn, can pass on the conversation to their friends and so on… Now, I bet you can show me examples of this being done via email but with email you need an email address so the impact spread is confined to some degree and the chances of the story being of interest to the media is slim. Not so with social networks where the network is the media. So one irate customer can in fact cause a considerable PR disaster that remains forever on the Internet. I am not saying you should run from social media. What I am saying is understand why you want to be on social media and look at how to control not only the cost to your business participating in social networks but how do you deal with the unofficial approach to communication and the demands and expectation of having to instantly respond to any communication coming in. I have over the last 12 months of providing social media solutions to New Zealand businesses via CampaignHub (New Zealand social media case studies) come to the conclusion that how businesses use social media will change because right now we are in the early adopter stage with social media as a business tool and when the early and late majority comeVisit us at 28 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  33. 33. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S onboard most will balk at the current time and cost it takes to successfully use social media without any proof of ROI. It comes as no surprise to me that our social media solutions for business, which utilise smart engagement technology to reduce cost and effort and the fact we leverage off our on large social networks to bring prospects to our clients doors, has been in demand since day one and is now the most profitable source of revenue for our businesses. small-business/ Vital Tips for New Zealand Businesses New to Social Media I would like to share with New Zealand business owners some tips and advice on entering the world of social media (social networks) or what some call “social media marketing”. T he tips and advice given are based on our 8+ years dealing with online communities (starting with and now providing social media solutions for businesses in New Zealand. You need a “Home Base” A “home base” is your blog or website that you can direct people to from the social networks. Your home base is critical to your success online because its where you should have all the information about your business and products/services that you sell. You should have an automatic (and efficient) sales funnel in place to capture interest and filter raw prospects into warm leads before your sales team is engaged (if you don’t know what that means then read this article for the basics in capturing prospects). Plus if you get banned from Facebook or suspended from Twitter you should at least have some of your community in your email marketing database and thats important because email marketing still has the highest conversion rate of all. Social Media/Networking is NOT FREE Creating a presence within social networks takes a heap of time – 1 hour per day minimum. Becoming known and actually having a community of people takes skill and even more time. Make sure you only invest your time in communicating with people who are in your target market. I have seen New Zealand small businesses chat with people all over the world even though they do not sell outside of New Zealand. Don’t confuse social needs with your pipeline needs. Make sure you set goals for your participation inVisit us at 29 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  34. 34. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S social networks such as collecting 10 email addresses or phone numbers of prospects per month. Do not confuse work with play A classic mistake with Kiwi businesses! In my previous post “So You Think Social Media Will Save your Business?” I present a common pattern of how Kiwi business owners act in social networks. Basically the people they communicate with end up being friends and with most Kiwi’s they find it hard selling to their friends. Always remind yourself what your mission is using social networks – work or play? Concentrate on 1 social network only There are 100’s of social networks out there most of which are a complete waste of time for businesses. What I recommend you do if your new to “social media” is create a Facebook Page for your business and concentrate on making that a success by adding content from your blog, interesting articles you have found, comments, videos, images etc.. each business day. Invite your friends, prospects and clients to your Facebook Page and “chat”. This exercise will give you a very good feel for how social media works and if you can “chat” with people you know on a regular basis you will see how much effort it takes. Latter on if you find that this is indeed feeding your pipeline then you may feel like spreading your wings and looking at YouTube for videos or even Twitter. Have a look at this website’s Facebook Page for ideas => Business Talk on Facebook. And lastly if you are very new to social media avoid Twitter as it can be a complete time vacuum. Over 80% of Twitter accounts have been abandoned and in my opinion its because business people make the mistake of believing Twitter is for communicating. Yes thats right – read this => Twitter: 10 Psychological Insights. This article explains why we do what we do on Twitter and have over 50,000+ followers in our Twitter hub. Don’t believe the hype! If you pick up any business magazine these days you should see at least 1 article stating how fantastic social media is for business. Before you start panicking that you are missing out on the greatest thing since sliced bread consider this: 1) Most of the proof that the New Zealand social media “experts” provide are case studies from overseas especially the US where the adoption of social networks is more widespread for businesses. If they do use New Zealand based companies they will always refer to big business such as telcos and Air New Zealand. They may sprinkle in 1 or 2 small business success stories such as Giapo. The case studies are unrealistic for the bulk of New Zealand small businessesVisit us at 30 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  35. 35. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S of which ONLY 34% of Kiwi businesses own a website but that does not stop the experts from telling you Twitter is going to save your business. 2) If you are struggling to fill your pipeline then focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which basically means having your website/blog end up on the first page of search results for your product or service. Remember! People who are looking to buy will search online. People who come to your site from social networks will be looking for fun and something to burn away the hours at work (note: if you have a well setup sales funnel you should be able to capture social media visitors and convert some to prospects – more info of how we do it here=> How to convert social network traffic to prospects. Leverage off someone else’s effort Leverage, leverage and more leverage. It has taken us over a year to build up an active and responsive bunch of communities in the major social networks. We spend over 4 hours per day deep in social networks helping to promote our clients. Isn’t it smart to take advantage of our efforts or other businesses like us to gain exposure? Starting out from “less than zero” in social networks is a lonely place. At the very least you should be submitting content to this site (its free) to gain exposure or participating in our Project Campfire program (again – free). new-to-social-media/Visit us at 31 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  36. 36. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S 4 Chapter How we help our clients The Internet is a big place – a very big place. So how do people find your business online? Well there is search. People who want to buy a product or service will more than likely search for options and opinion using Google or other search engines. As a business owner you want these people to find your site because these people have passed the “sell it to me” phase – they are ready to buy – they want what you sell. Unfortunately for most small businesses their online presence is somewhat “limited” and mostly invisible to Google. Without major help and expense they will never appear in the magic first page search results. This is what most small businesses look like on the Internet – an IslandVisit us at 32 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  37. 37. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S Businesses also make the mistake of thinking that social networks is an easy way to get more prospects when in fact its much harder in terms of effort and time than working on improving your status with Google. “Social Media” is made up of two words the first being “Social”. That means most people are within social networks to be social they are not looking to buy something. That’s why they use search engines. This is the “Catch 22” dilemma– it can cost a heap and take a lot of time to rank high in Google especially if your business is within a very competitive sector. What we do is help small businesses “get found” on the Internet by alerting our established online communities on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and also our email subscribers and visitors to our blog assets (including,,, and other online assets) to your business. By using our email and social media solutions for business we connect your “island” up with our extensive online communities so you are not invisible anymore. The connections we form with your “island” are instantaneous not time consuming like building up search rankings or trying to build an online community by yourself.Visit us at 33 © Mobilize Mail Ltd
  38. 38. S O C I A L M E D I A F O R S M A L L B U S I N E S S The hardest part for small businesses gaining an online brand presence within social networks and search is the effort, time and cost it takes starting from zero. If you are interested in how we can help you “get found” on the Internet please contact us at: http://www.MobilizeMail.comVisit us at 34 © Mobilize Mail Ltd