Social media is all the rage.  Many, many companies are trying to figure out the best way to use these new tools to engage their prospects and customers – whether B2B or B2C.  But before you start blogging, tweeting and facebooking, ask yourself if you have done the basic foundational work that you need to do.

The goal of most social media programs and approaches is to help people find you and find out more about you – as we say with Duct Tape Marketing – it helps to build “know, like and trust”. So when people find you, what are saying to help them get to know you?

Have you told them who your ideal customer is – so that they can figure out if they are a good fit for your organization?  Oh, you don’t want to rule anyone out – so you haven’t clearly articulated your target market  (many companies do this). Well, here’s another way to think about that – if you haven’t ruled anyone out, you also have not stated who should be included. Making the process of trying to find out more about you much for difficult for a prospect.

Have you communicated to a prospect (via your website, blogs or success stories) what your unique value proposition is?  I can tell you for sure that it is not your great service or how well you know your products – those may be strengths, but they are not unique.  And if you are competing on price, then you better be explaining why your costs and therefore your price, is less.  You can sit around with your staff and try to figure out your unique value proposition or you can pick up the phone.  Your current customers will tell you more reasons about why they value working with you than you can possibly dream up by yourself.  Call them. If they are happy, you’ll get great info. If they are unhappy, you’ll get a moment of truth to interact with them and create a new fan.

Have you given them a way to try out your expertise or service? Trial is a great way, if not the best way, to build trust.  If you are selling expertise, maybe it’s a 30-minute conversation and follow-up advice at no charge.  If you are selling a product, figuring out a way for them to try it in a full or limited way will build your credibility.

Finally, have you made the commitment to fit a social media strategy into your marketing calendar – yes calendar.  That list, by month and by week of activities you are doing to build your business.

So before you jump into tactical marketing programs using the newest technology, services and approaches, set back and build the foundation.  Who you want to talk to – the demographics, they way they think and what is important them; what you are going to say to them and how they are going to experience their interaction with you, is as important as ever.

ducttapemarketingbadgeDan Kraus is the president of Leading Results in metro Boston.  They help small businesses to stop wasting money on marketing and start getting business building results through the use of a systematic and predictable marketing approach.  Dan has spent over 20 years in technology marketing and sales and now works as a Duct Tape Marketing coach and as a fractional VP of Marketing for a number of small businesses.  You can learn more about Dan and Leading Results at www.leadingresults.com or by email at dkraus@leadingresults.com

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Dan Kraus
Dan Kraus

Dan Kraus is the president of Leading Results in metro Boston. They help small businesses to stop wasting money on marketing and start getting business building results through the use of a systematic and predictable marketing approach. You can follow him on Google+.