By now, most of us are tired (if not sick) of hearing “in these economic challenging times …” Well it is time to change that and shape the future in a positive direction. It is in our hands and we can make it happen!
But first, there are a couple of things we should remember from the past two years as we put together our success strategy moving forward. The days of getting rich fast and sustaining market value are most likely in the rear view mirror. I am reminded of some great words of wisdom from Ram Charan . Ram is a Senior Fellow at The Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania. I had the pleasure of meeting him at an annual sales kick-off meeting for a large company I worked for a handful of years back. At that time, I had just finished reading his book “Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business.” In this book, he not only talks about the need for a culture where everyone feels responsibility and contributes to positive revenue initiatives, but also emphasizes a mindset of sustainable, profitable growth. Ram uses a baseball analogy to make this point. He talks about the need to hit a series of singles and doubles to score runs. There are few cases of homeruns to score in business, but a continuous teaming approach of getting on base and bringing runs around with a number of small successful hits produces winners.
Social media, when used properly, will produce these results. In my article “Social Media Conversion and the Social Media Marketing Funnel,” I discuss an extension of a traditional marketing funnel. The traditional marketing funnel has states that include:
2) consideration, and
This marketing funnel can be enhanced and two more states can be added:
4) loyalty and
Here, I define a “social media marketing funnel.” This is work and it takes time. No quick solutions. First you must make sure that you truly deliver value to your target market. Then use social media to reinforce the value you deliver. Provide your audience important information and earn a perception as a subject matter expert and leader in your industry. It is about establishing very strong relationships with your existing customers and potential customers. The focus of social media should not be on selling, but rather building relationships as I note in the article “2010 – Don’t Think Social Media, Think Relationships.”
Value and strong relationships will prevail in any economic times. And yes – social media is key! Social media is not a quick hit marketing endeavor. It takes time to build strong relationships and you must work hard at cultivating lasting bounds. Think what it would have meant to have the most loyal customers in the past two years – survival. And now as we see the stock market growing and have optimism of better days ahead, just think how those customers can be advocates that spur growth.
If you really focus on delivering valuable information to your target audience (assuming you deliver a valued product or service to begin with), you will sustain a profitable business. But remember, building strong relationships takes time. It is not smashing homeruns to produce winning runs. It is a slower process of hitting many singles, sometimes doubles. But doing so produces loyal customers and even advocates that are literally part of your team. Part of the team that communicates your value. Once this happens, you have people promoting your company in a way that it is a hell of a lot more compelling than anything you can say.
I have heard the social media cliché it is not quantity, but quality. I would change this a bit to say focus on quality and the quantity will come over time. And when that quantity does come, it will be of a much greater quality. So concentrate and use social media to put some runners on base and bring them around one base at time. Use the social media A-path. Make it happen!