The answer is nothing. Facebook and other popular social media tools will not be very helpful to your business unless you have a focused social media objective and facebook and other popular formats are used in unison to accomplish the objective.
Hopefully at this point you have at least a facebook account where you socialize with friends and family. You may also have a Linked In account where you “network” with colleagues in the community and industry. If you don’t have these things I would suggest getting these things going and start building those natural contacts with the friends you already know.
Setting up basic profiles and socially participating is the easy (and fun!) part. Now you want to determine how to use all of the tools of social media marketing and web2.0 to effectively reach and engage your customers.
The best way to start utilizing social media tactics is to take the time to answer the following questions. The example “Green Goo” is a non-existent product that I made up to help illustrate how to answer these questions for your business.
1. My Ideal Customer is: (example: Omaha and Council Bluffs stay at home mothers with children under the age of 4 and household incomes above $50,000+)
2. My product/service solves this problem for my ideal customer: (example: The problem is that there is not a product that can clean without leaving behind dangerous chemicals in the home. Green Goo provides a safe, environmentally friendly and bacterial free atmosphere that frees the home of dangerous germs and is not harmful to the family.)
3. My ideal customer wants: (example: educational information and resources for safety issues involving children)
4. My Ideal Customers is most likely on the internet in the following types of places: (example: local and national mother forums, blogs, environmental forums and blogs targeted to families, etc.)
Now that you have tentatively figured out who you want to engage through social media marketing the next step is to “listen and lurk” and find out what conversations are going on about your product, brand and industry. The next post will cover how and where to “listen and what to listen for. Until then, please feel free to post comments and you are always welcome to contact the Iowa Western SBDC and the Iowa SBDC for free one on one help and advice on social media marketing as well as other topics.