One of the easiest pitfalls to fall into is sticking with the same old thing. “We’ve done it this way for years,” or “We’re used to doing things a certain way,” are both phrases that an entrepreneur serious about their business should never say. Just because billboards and TV/radio ads and print ads in newspapers/magazines have worked for years before, doesn’t mean they always will. It doesn’t even mean they are working now. Revenue from traditional advertisement channels are at an all time low. Looking at newer forms of marketing is a good thing and will make your business last longer and stand out from the rest.
It’s important to not only look at social media as a channel to get your message out there but also as a way to truly build meaningful relationships with potential and existing customers. Companies need to look beyond just the direct brand mentions they receive on social media and become more aggressive. Instead of simply monitoring and taking a passive approach to social media. By all means, use social media to get your brand and message out there, but that’s not its only function. Start a conversation for crying out loud! There are thousands of potential clients and customers out there online waiting for some sort of interaction. People are much more inclined to buy from a company that cares for them or wants to interact with them.
One of the biggest problems I see with social media today is that brands use it like a bumper sticker. And I loathe bumper stickers. If you have a bumper sticker, that doesn’t mean I loathe you as a person. Just the sticker. Why do I have such a distain for bumper stickers? Because they are a one-way form of communication. There is no relationship building out of it. Everyone wants their thoughts and beliefs to be heard, but no one wants to listen to anyone else’s point of view or ideas. We just want to throw our two-cents out there and not listen to what the other parties have to say. What a foolish way to have a relationship with someone. Just force-feeding them what you want them to hear and not giving them a chance to rebuttal or reply. You wouldn’t ever think to do this to your clients, not in a million years! But yet, fitness companies and trainers alike abuse social media just to get their voices heard and don’t want to build that relationship with their online communities everyday.
Start a conversation with these people, don’t just say your peace and leave it at that. An important thing to keep in mind is that sparking up a conversation on social media is sort of like dating. The first thing you say to someone you find attractive isn’t going to be “will you marry me?” You’ve got to start off slow, get to know them and build up that relationship with meaningful conversation and interactions. Don’t seem too pushy by going straight for the immediate sale. You need to establish trust first.
I can tell you from experience that I have never established trust with a company or product because of their billboard or radio ad. And I can almost guarantee that no on has. It is through those meaningful interactions that trust is built. Take the time to invest in your online communities. It is the fastest growing source of immediate marketing you will have. You have the power unlike any other businesses before you, to directly interact with your customer base at any time during the day. Take that as an opportunity instead of a burden and get your name out there. Start a conversation or two and see where it takes you.