By: Kevin Leahy, Executive Director CEDR and CCC SBDC
We continue to get many questions at our Clatsop Community College Small Business Development Center from our business clients wanting to know how to “get on” and “use” Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Constant Contact, LinkedIn and other social media marketing tools. The big question is how can you effectively use these sites to market and enhance the visibility of your business? To answer that, we need to address more specific questions such as:
What type of business do you have?
Who is your core customer?
What advertising media influences them?
Can you describe the features and benefits your business offers? What is your “Unique Value Proposition?
Do you have a persuasive “elevator speech” prepared?
What marketing strategies do you currently use? How do you monitor the results?
How will social media augment your marketing mix? How much time do you have to devote to this?
Rarely do businesses have detailed answers to those questions, nor do they have a marketing plan to direct their efforts. Keeping current with new technology trends can be important, but more critical is the need to have a comprehensive marketing plan to guide a business’s overall strategic efforts. Social networks, online communities, email marketing, blogs and the other online collaborative media are basically supercharged electronic versions of the old fashioned networking conversations and referrals that used to be more prevalent in our society.
You are still creating a buzz about your business and sharing information that will attract other people’s attention. Technology enhances this by providing virtual user-to-user communication with the potential of viral advertising.
But it doesn’t stop with an online posting. You still have to generate compelling information about your business. You still have to be able to identify and target your niche market. And you still need to build strong customer relationships in order to provide value to your customers. Without the fundamental bases covered in your marketing plan, social media networking tools will not be effective, and draining to your business.
When you are a small business owner facing multiple demands on your time and money, you need to prioritize your time to maximize the returns you are looking for. Consider this successful formula: Marketing = know yourself + know your market + know your customers.
In the month of May, our Clatsop Community College Small Business Development Center has two workshops that will help answer some of the questions businesses have about tools to use on social media.
On Thursday, May 14th, Misty Lambrecht, social media and small business expert, will be instructing two workshops on “using Instagram and Pinterest to grow your business”. In the class, participants will learn how to enhance their Pinterest accounts and images to stand out from the rest. The workshop will also delve into the power of Instagram, and how Instagram can play a powerful role in business’ marketing program. First workshop will be held in Seaside at our CCC South County Center from 8:30-11:30 am, and in Astoria at CCC Columbia Hall Room 219, from 5:30-8:30 pm.
On Tuesday, May 19th, Don Richardson owner of Digital Popcorn marketing, will share strategies on how email newsletters and social media used together can bring in more business and “move prospective buyers along in the buying process”. Also reviewed will be building your lead list by using your website, social media and in person networking. Astoria session will be 8:30-11:30 am and Seaside 5:30-8:30 pm. Cost is $20.00 for either workshop. Pre-registration is required. Go to the CEDR website at clatsoped.com and click on the events tab that will take you to the calendar for an on-line link. Or call us at 503-338-2402 to register. CEDR/CCC SBDC contact information….