Larry the Ad Man's Blog

I hope you learn from my small business marketing and advertising tips.

"Advertising is to trade what Steam is to machinery" Thomas Cook.
It was an honor to be nominated for 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Online Marketing and Social Media for small business.

The minute I post this, things will change, so it's important to understand the internet and the people on it in order to capture attention in your desired marketplace. Like any business, KNOW YOUR MARKET. Ask the people you do business with where they go online to find information about your business. If you are a highly technical business newsgroups are the place, for others, social media like Facebook and Twitter are the answer. For others, a simple website may be all it takes. It's highly likely that a mix of all is needed, but as a small business person, "where do I find the time?" is often asked. So concentrate on what you think is most important to get your business some attention. More importantly, have a strategy and have something to say, or moreover, something to engage the potential customer or your current customer base.

Jon Hardie of AudienceWorks writes (here) "A large orchestra thought it would engage the (pick a minority community) - so they sent a quartet of musicians into the community at a small community center. Believing that if they went & played their classical music ... all the folks from the community would rush down to buy classical music tickets in their orchestra hall. "

"Which is why 60% of business have found Social Media to be a useless addition to their marketing efforts." "They approached SM in terms of what they could GET OUT OF IT- just like the orchestra - rather than what the community could teach them about what they wanted, needed and valued. "

I hope this blog is an example of that. My intent is not to inundate the reader with how advertising in the publications I consult for is the way to go, rather to educate and stimulate the advertiser, or potential advertiser with ideas and thoughts that would help the overall advertising plan they have. If the whole plan works, then the ads I sell them will work better. We all win.

Remember the 3 reasons to advertise for small business:  to remind your existing customers why they are your customers, generate new leads or customers and build the brand long term. If you have a medium sized business with several employees this strategy may also include motivating your current employees and recruit quality people from your competitorsA good ad campaign can hit all 3 or even all 5 of these reason's if planned correctly.

A great example of good use of social media was the recent election of Calgary's Mayor. The media portrayed it as THE reason he won, making light of the fact that ALL the candidates had a presence in social media and somehow the social media itself won him the election. What social media did do was to bring to light the thoughts and feelings of ordinary voters and the candidate who had something to say about how they felt that connected with them. It's brought politics back to what it started out being, connected to the voters. For the record, he used traditional campaign tools as well.. Signs, buttons, billboards, print ads, TV ads, door-knocking, phoning and bringing out the vote on election day. If he misses one of those traditional steps he might have lost the election.

Many bloggers, facebook and twitter users actively advertise their web presence in traditional forms of advertising. Social Media and online marketing in general are all just new mediums and channels to get your message out. They should be used in your strategy, but not the only strategy. If a company wishes to have a successful website, it needs to be linked to a blog, an always updated facebook page, twitter, youtube videos, promoted with print, radio and TV ads. Most importantly, listen to your customers and have something to say, making it the message, not the medium as THE MOST IMPORTANT thing. More time should be spent on planning the message. As Mr. Hardie says" When your organization, your institution, and all of you customer facing stakeholders - are all in the same boat - at the same time - rowing together in the same direction - they are aligned around a shared customer-centric vision and mission. Then SM is a no brainer approach to customer engagement"

Until Next time, I am Larry "The Ad Man".

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