For small business owners and managers, the social media focus of internet marketing can be a daunting task.
It might seem like managing a printed circuit board shop and staying on top of internet marketing strategies have little in common and you would be right.
Very recently, for example, we found out our blog Feedburner doesn’t recognize our Feedburner URL. We learned the answer was simple:
- The Awareness API on our Feedburner account wasn’t turned on.
- We found this astonishing, as we couldn’t recall having set up a Feedburner account.
- We also wondered why the default setting for an Awareness API wouldn’t always be on?
- A week later we learned Google was no longer supporting Feedburner.
It turns out this was one of the multitude of accounts created when we dove into internet marketing. We now have so many accounts, we had to download an app just to keep track of the login names and passwords. If I lose the password for the app, I may as well invest in a farm and learn how to grow potatoes.
Having only just learned to press the number sign on my phone when the automated voice tells me to press the pound sign, I was more than a little dismayed to find out Twitter has converted the same symbol into a Hash tag. Not a hash mark, as my son gently corrected me. Twitter is recognized as one key to internet marketing. I rationalize the time I spend on developing Twitter is like playing a lottery where our next best customer could come find us. I was having trouble understanding why someone would follow a printed circuit board company’s Twitter account. Then my son helped me set it up and get followers by following others and unfollowing the unfollowers, until you use up all your follows. And it goes round and round. By following sources from the industries we work with, I do have access to some very interesting articles and comments, which along with our blogs, I am learning to retweet and comment on.
Facebook, I argued with my e-marketing sensei, is for B2C and our focus is B2B.
I have enough trouble trying to get family to like me, how on earth can we get people to like a printed circuit board Facebook site? First I tried the Twitter method by liking other companies but soon learned few people reciprocate. I tried begging but really, if your company Facebook site isn’t linking to others, who can hear you? The challenge is developing connections which will specifically help you generate business. We rejected a number of easier but less than ethical avenues to developing business Facebook likes and found, for us, the key is linking Facebook to the blogs we are creating. Progress may be slow but no one said it would be easy.
LinkedIn was something I could work with and I would suggest it if you are just beginning your web marketing journey.
You build your page and invite friends, co-workers and business associates you have interacted with over the years. It’s a great way to find out if someone really liked you or not and if your invite goes unrequited, you can always rationalize they are probably not staying in touch with their LinkedIn account, despite the fact they have hundreds of connections. LinkedIn groups are also a great way to get your message out to a larger audience. You just need to make sure they are relevant to what you do.
Only after you have these and a few other social media balls in the air does the real fun begin.
You will need to participate in webinars and read countless blogs which all start with “The 5 best ways to configure your…” to discover how to set up your accounts. You should be participating in Stumbleupon, Pinterest, Technorati, Socialmediatoday, Reddit and industry specific sites which for us includes the likes of SMTNet and EEWeb. In addition, new upstarts appear almost weekly and you have to decide whether or not you want to invest your time in them. And even the stable sites are constantly coming up with new features with complete disregard to how much time you have available.
For a social-media-marketing-neophyte, I would recommend two approaches.
First you should spend some time with your children, nieces, nephews, pretty much anyone born after “Clueless” was released, as their understanding of the guerrilla tactics of social media can relieve a great deal of your stress. Second, find an outstanding e-marketing sensei. At Omni Circuit Boards, we work with Kayak Online Marketing and we are amazed almost daily with how they help us. You may not want to hear or initially even comprehend what your e-marketing professional is trying to tell you, but their work and advice will pay off.
The real challenge is keeping up.
Even the subjects touched on here are unlikely to be relevant in six months. And if you can’t meet the challenge and keep up, the next thing you’ll discover is your Awareness API isn’t turned on and one of those balls is no longer in the air.