What goes into social media marketing for small businesses?

Here is an equation by John Jantsch over at Duct Tape Marketing:

“Content + Context + Connection + Community = Social Media Marketing”

In a world where localization and customization have transformed customers’ expectations, approaching social media for your small business requires rethinking what we put into it. Here are my notes on the four elements Jantsch describes in his equation:

Content is king. I’ll probably go into some longer posts about what kind of content you can share with your community and potential customers. Top of my mind, though, is that content doesn’t have to be long or involved to give value to people. Write a short article explaining some basic concepts in your industry. Conduct a product comparison and make it available on your website. Create a “Daily Tip” for your Twitter account. All valuable content of a manageable size and you can stick to the format and continue to add fresh topics regularly.

Context means everything. The more out of context the marketing is, the more jarring it is. Junk mail is called junk because it is stuff you don’t need and didn’t ask for. Same goes for spam. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn or Facebook; you might find people who are a better target. Listen to conversations on Twitter and Facebook to understand what people are concerned about and address that. Avoid looking out of touch by simply posting “Here I am!” posts without contributing anything meaningful to the larger conversation.

Connect with human beings. Speaking of the larger conversation, don’t forget the SOCIAL in social media! For many reasons, using your business name as your Facebook profile is a dicey move. Not only is it technically in violation of Facebook protocol, it also removes the humanity from the connection. I don’t talk to corporations, I talk to people. I want to know what individuals think of my products. For companies I’m interested in, I want to hear from a real person. Do they enjoy what they do? Are there insights they can give me? Will they respond when I make a comment or have a question? Use the Public Page (or Fan Page) to create your business’s contribution to Facebook so you can be the wonderful complex human being you are in your FB profile. This allows you to both have an “official” presence and build relationships via social media.

Community is where we live. Whether it is your physical community, or a web of people online, in clubs or other social places, community is where humans live. The people you’re trying to reach care about stuff. Maybe it’s animals, maybe it’s local politics, maybe it’s chocolate. Listen and learn, then get active as a citizen in that community. If you and your company are passionate about something, start there. (Be aware that there are some causes that are rather polarizing. If you’re taking a controversial stand, be prepared for some heated reactions. That can be a good thing, though! Its up to you.) If people need help, do what you can. Stand out as a business that acts, not just postures, in the community.

Does that spark any ideas? Any ways to contribute more meaningfully to the conversation? I’d love to hear some of your questions, thoughts, ideas or challenges!


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One thought on “What goes into social media marketing for small businesses?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention What goes into social media marketing for small businesses? | Local Business Spotlight -- Topsy.com

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