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Turn “broadcast” into “engagement.”

We all know that the world of marketing has turned upside down these past years through the power of the Internet.  College professors teaching marketing must be having a real challenge keeping up with the new channels of communication, the relative values of advertising buys in this new world, and explaining how to make the most out of these cheaper and more powerful channels.

Although there is still a place for display advertising in this new world, increasingly small businesses are discovering that creating buzz and engaging their audiences through social media are more powerful and cost effective.

Marketing texts and college professors say that it takes at least seven impressions – exposures – before a person recognizes and acts upon the message.  That’s an Three_Berkonomics_Fronts_blackexpensive proposition for small companies.  On the other hand, your target audience is already talking to their friends and associates about products and services they like and use.  Plugging into those conversations gives you the power to multiply your message many times over, often at no cost at all.

[Email readers, continue here…]  How do you engage your customers in a conversation instead of merely broadcasting your message again and again in hope that some one remembers it?  The answer comes in a number of forms, but centers around your finding the thought leaders within circles of influence, attracting the “influencers” that people follow.  To do this, your message must resonate in a way that it appears unique.

If you cannot incorporate social content into your product, surround your product with social content.  Create groups in Facebook, followers on Twitter, a comments section on your blog or website, and more.  Identify a number of influencers, and then offer to let them use your product or service at low or no cost if they will join your informal advisory group on the ‘net.  Ask for endorsements when appropriate.

Above all, make every outreach an attempt to engage your customers, listening to their responses and responding one-to-one wherever possible.  Make each customer feel important and valued.  In this new world of engagement marketing, the customer has a voice much earlier and much louder than ever before.

  • Michael O'Daniel

    Further to the above, when you produce clips for YouTube, don’t upload stuff you’ve shot on your cellphone. Hire a video production team and shoot professionally scripted (or ad libbed) and produced clips, with proper lighting, sound, makeup, graphics, and the like. It’s an excellent add-on to your marketing efforts at a modest investment and whatever you upload stays there for as long as you choose. And you link to those clips from your website and any marketing materials you send out.

  • Michael O'Daniel

    I’m definitely a believer in engagement, feedback and interactivity, but I’m a contrarian when it comes to use of social media in a business context. It is possible to waste a great deal of time without seeing much in the way of measurable results. I make an exception for LinkedIn because it is business-focused and you can use groups and post messages that relate to your specific area of business. DO NOT make the mistake of using Facebook as a primary marketing channel. “Likes” and “friends” rarely translate into sales. Good old direct marketing, whether via snail mail or email; a well-designed website with user-friendly ecommerce capability, if appropriate; and other traditional methods still work. It’s up to you to use them effectively. This does not mean ignore social media, just be judicious about the amount of time you allocate to it as a support function, and do not get sucked into thinking it’s going to do magic. Personally, I think YouTube is one of the best tools for reinforcing your sales and marketing efforts in a business context. Keep the segments short, make them entertaining, and focus on one single message per clip.

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