This post is written by Luke Brynley-Jones and is republished. View the original here.
I hosted a webinar a week or so ago on the subject of Social Media Marketing for Small Business. One of the other speakers was the mercurial @pistachio (aka Laura Fitton). Laura is a smart cookie. She is credited with getting Guy Kawasaki into Twitter and, has written the book on Twitter marketing (literally), so cheekily asked her what her single best piece of advice was for markerters today. Her response was unflinching:
As a clear and simple guideline for anyone engaging in social media marketing, this is perfect. In recent years I have often urged marketers to “Be remarkable”, which is also good advice, but there’s no inherent value in “remarkability”. If social media marketing is about the transferral of value – to a potential customer (in the form of useful information), to their friends (in the form of a recommendation), then back to the company (in the form of a sale or signup) – the catalyst has to be “usefulness”.
One of the key take-aways from Social CRM 2011 last week was the need for marketers to really, genuinely, understand who their customers are and what their needs and interests are. In the content of being useful to them – you really can’t do anything until you’ve established exactly what it is your customers like, want, need, value etc. If you haven’t produced a detailed profile of your typical customer – with a name, a location, interests, demographics – just stop right there. This is non-negotiable if you want to succeed in marketing.
I was pleased to see this week, therefore, that MarketMeSuite, the social media dashboard company I’m an Advisor to, had launched a communal blog, WeAreSocialPeople.com, for their members. They know their customers really well. They’ve done surveys, phone interviews, one-to-one meetings and more, so they know categorically that their customers are small businesses owners who are very interested in promoting their businesses. They understand SEO, content marketing/inbound marketing and word-of-mouth marketing. They are hard-working, switched-on and driven. Don’t,whatever you do, get between these people and a new lead!
With this in mind, launching a free content network is a perfect value-add for their SME customers. Small businesses often struggle with SEO simply because their sites aren’t big enough to compete, in terms of sheer weight of content, with their larger competitors. By crowd-sourcing content, their small business customers can publish their news, offers and insights AND benefit from collectively generated profile, link juice and rankings.
By understanding their customers and being useful, MMS has created the proverbial win-win. It’s an object lesson in marketing.
I’m speaking at Social Media Marketing & Monitoring 2011 (San Francisco) on 23rd May on the topic of “Innovations in Social Media Marketing. Join me there.
Photo content: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jannem/3312116875/