Archive for May, 2010

What's Your Social Media Game Plan

What's Your Social Media Game Plan

Every sporting team has a game plan, a series of scripted actions that hopefully will lead to the outcome they desire, a win.  For a football team, it’s inside handoff, a safety blitz or a post pattern.  In basketball, it may be a pick and roll or a triangle and two defense. Baseball players practice, the suicide squeeze while pitchers and catchers go over the pitch sequence for each batter.

The goal of having a game plan is to have a successful outcome, winning the game. And of course it doesn’t always happen, because the opponents have their own game plan. So it comes down to who can execute their game plan the best.

Isn’t the same true for your business? You have a desired outcome, either making more money, selling more products or providing a better service. So shouldn’t you have a game plan?

But the question is where to start? The first step in the process should be defining what outcome you want. Making a ton of money isn’t an outcome, it’s a fairytale. So the first step should be defining the goals for your business. Beginning by setting SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. There are many resources that discuss SMART goals and how to set them, so I won’t cover that here, other than to say, it is critical to know where you’re going and be able to measure your progress along the way.

So now that you have your goals set and know what outcome you want, its time to design the plays to make those happen. The first step is defining who is your target market. The second step then, becomes how do you reach your target market.

That’s where social media comes into play. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin have very broad demographics. Facebook currently has over 400 million people with the fastest growing segment being over 35 and female. In fact, Facebook is now the number two most trafficked site on the web. In March of 2010 during a one-week time period, Facebook actually got more traffic than Google.

If your business targets professionals with 100,000+ income, LinkedIn might be your best choice. While not as social a community, the LinkedIn users are categorized by their business and professions. So if you want to target marketing officers in the healthcare industry, for example, you can do that.

The incredible power social media offers to create a buzz in the marketplace is really at the heart of its strength and popularity. You can spend thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars, in advertising, and only hope your message reaches your targeted customers. But with social media, you can target those customers, where they’re spending a lot of time with very little cost.

I’ve always said, if I could sell word-of-mouth advertising, I would be sitting on a beach somewhere with a cell phone saying “send me a check for $100,000, and I will deliver the customers to you”. But now, that’s not far from the truth (at least the part about word-of-mouth advertising.) Social media has elevated referral marketing or word of mouth advertising to a viral state. Now, we don’t have to be on the phone or at a party talking to a friend to recommend a business. We do that on our social media sites. And while we only talk to a handful of people on the phone or, at that party, our entire circle of friends will see a recommendation posted on our wall.

So unless your business game plan includes a social media plan, you’re more like the sandlot sports team drawing plays in the dirt. You might occasionally get lucky and throw a touchdown. But if you come up against a team (business) with a well practiced game plan, success will not likely be in your future.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com have over 10 years experience in website design, search engine optimization and social media marketing. With over 30 years in business and consulting, we understand your business needs and partner with you to grow your business.

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17
May

Its Not About You

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in Uncategorized

One of the biggest challenge is I face when creating a website is the copy, what the website says. It’s almost funny but also tragic to see that most businesses don’t know how to explain what they do.

I think the issue is that we’re taught to be modest, not to brag or boast. But that is precisely what we need to do when we talk about our website. If you don’t tell the browser why you are special, where your strengths lie, how do you expect them to know? And when they go to your competitor, and they do, guess who’s getting the business? Not you!

But the secret lies a little deeper than just telling people what you do. The key is to tell the browser, your potential customer or client, why what you do best is exactly what they want. Where so many businesses fail in their copy is in the “We” syndrome. We offer the best widget. Our service is second to none. Our attention to detail,  we treat customers like family. Blah blah blah.

Guess what? Your customer doesn’t care! Plus, your competitor says the same thing. All your customer wants to know is what’s in it for them. How does your widget make their life easier? What is your extraordinary service going to do for them?

Use action words. Paint your customer a picture of your business your product or your service. If they can see their self in the words you say, your chances of success just improved greatly.

Let me give you an example. I recently redesigned the site for visualimagesproduction.com.  My goal here is was not only increasing search engine ranking but also generating a greater call to action and ultimately more sales. Below is an excerpt from the homepage.

“When you choose Visual Images Productions, you can be assured your video will take you back to the momentous occasion for years to come. Relive the emotions. Every time you watch your Visual Images Production video, you are magically transported back to celebrate all over again. “

The image here is reliving the special occasion over and over again, because isn’t that what a video is for.

Whether your writing a description for your website, a direct mail piece, a newsletter or any other communication with customers, make sure you speak to them.

When you’re in a conversation with someone, do you find them more interesting if they talk about themselves incessantly? Or do you find them more interesting because they listen with interest and questioning about you? I’m reminded of the story of a man on a first date with a young lady and after several minutes of talking about himself he stopped and said to his date, “Enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What you think about me?”

The bottom line is this. Tell people how your business can make their life easier, how your product can save them time, money, stress or whatever it might be. When you do you set yourself apart from the masses, because it’s not about you.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com have over 10 years experience in website design, search engine optimization and social media marketing. With over 30 years in business and consulting, we understand your business needs and partner with you to grow your business.

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