It’s a social media jungle out there. Recently, I had to take a few steps into that jungle while trying to market a book as consulting editor for my sister’s company, Wordwise LLC. Marketing these days means using social media. I confidently took on the project, feeling like an experienced consumer of such--I already used Facebook and Tumblr myself, and--well, truth be told, that’s about it. So, to market the book, I set up a Twitter account, started a blog, made a Google+ page, made a Tumblr blog. The setting-up process had its own learning curve, which was our first challenge, but after that, we couldn’t just let these pages sit there. And so, the second challenge presented itself: We had to get an audience and produce daily content. We needed followers. We needed to determine how often to tweet, figure out how to tweet from our blog, and most importantly, what our message would be.Guest Blogger -- Lisa Yarnell
After a few days, we gained a respectable number of Twitter followers by finding people we want to follow, retweeting them, and conversing with them. Once we had that slice of an audience, I noticed that many of our followers were social media consulting groups who were marketing to us! “Social media success for your business starts here!” tweeted someone; “Are you measuring your social media reach?” said another; and then “Increase your social media likeability!” Oh my, were we likeable, we wondered?
We were getting followers, but few sales. I saw what these social media companies were doing. They were reaching out a hand to escort us through the jungle, to help us create content, to attract and then motivate our customers to buy, and to help us avoid false steps on this new path that led from us to our potential book-buyers. That’s it! I thought. Just as Lewis and Clark needed Sacajawea to navigate the Pacific Northwest, just as Neil Armstrong needed his flight controllers to get him to the moon, we needed a guide through the social media jungle!
On our business’s current budget, we cannot afford a social media guide. But can we afford not to have one? Could the possibility of reaching so many more potential customers justify engaging a company with social media expertise? These questions are not new, we realize. These questions about advertising that have been asked by businesses ever since business existed. But now with the potential pool of buyers grown so large, and the learning curve becoming so steep, the question is pressing.
For now, we have hired no social media help, but we’ve done some research, and we note that for a small company such as ours, the start up fees hover at about $1,000, with a monthly fee of $500 to keep content rolling through the social media venues we choose.
How has your business handled this 21st century challenge? How do you use social media to reach clients and customers, and if so, who or what do you use as a guide through the jungle?
Check out Lisa Yarnell on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/lisa-yarnell/5/10/713