Here’s one: if you’re going into business for yourself, consider marketing to the people who will give you money, not the people doing the same thing as you. Once you’ve decided that you’re going to make a business out of your ability to blog and tweet and navigate LinkedIn, let’s be clear: your customer isn’t me. Your customer is someone who doesn’t know how to blog and tweet and navigate LinkedIn. Your customer is possibly a marketer, or a small business person, or a non-profit. But hint: it’s not another social media type.
You might look to other social media types to band together and pool resources or share leads. That’s great. But in that interaction, you might try bringing something to the table, too. It turns out that two social media types who know how to blog and tweet and navigate LinkedIn are just as broke as one, unless you work on finding and retaining customers.
Business partnerships usually work something like this: I have something you don’t have as much of. You, most likely, will offer me something I don’t have. Hint: it won’t be your incredible talent to blog or tweet or navigate LinkedIn. Because that’s something where I’ll come to you and I’ll ask you to fulfill on a project. But it’s not something I need unless I’ve got too much business to handle.
What To Do Instead
If you are a social media type and you’re looking to market, consider doing the following:
- Create a simple rate sheet that shows the kinds of projects you do, the deliverables those projects yield, and the rates you charge for those projects. (Hint: if you don’t have the “deliverable” figured out beyond “you’ll be smarter,” that’s not much of a project. Sure, education is great, but that should be adjunct to what you complete.)
- Ensure that your blog is ready for business, and that yourblog design backs that up.
- Tidy up your LinkedIn profile.
- Create a real, simple, clear call to action on your blog and make that the most obvious element on your website. It’s amazing how the basics of sales and marketing still work.
- Join several traditional marketing newsletters and groups on places like Yahoogroups, and participate. Give your perspective. Don’t spam them with your offer, but give them a sense of how you think.
If you’re thinking of making this a business, you have to own your store in 2009. If something’s not working, try something else. If that doesn’t work, try something else. Push and push some more. Get out there and scour for customers. Look for leads. Think of ways to develop more opportunities. Offer free trials or whatever else might close your new customers.
Did I miss anything? Have you any ideas to share that will equip the would-be social media business people among us? Marketers – what do you need from these folks. Speak up. I know you hang out here. Great day to decloak and say hi to us all.
Photo credit, Jeff Belmonte