I’m happy to have a guest post from Dave Charest today. Dave helps indie artists market themselves better. He has a way of cutting through the confusion and getting to the essentials when it comes to marketing, so I knew you’d enjoy hearing from him. Let’s make him feel welcome with some comments, shall we? –Pamela
Whoops! Sorry, I used the ugly ‘M’ word.
Yeah, it’s true. So many people have such a disdain for “marketing” that it’s a bit of a curse word these days.
Then come all these social media tools that allow everyone to market all the time. It’s not surprising people have had enough.
But is it really marketing people are sick of?
It’s my belief that it’s not marketing, but rather bad marketing that gets under people’s skin. So as you go through the process of sorting out the effect of social media and the Internet on your small business, I’d like to offer you a frame from which to approach your journey.
A frame that allows you to use social media to create marketing that people love. Marketing that people actually want to share. Marketing that works to grow your small business.
Here’s the first question we’ll need to ask…
What comes to mind when you think traditional marketing?
In preparation for a workshop I was teaching to theater artists, I asked this very question on Twitter.
Here are a few of the responses:
“I think of anything that is one-way push communication.”
“Generic email blasts that have nothing to do with me, cold calls…”
“Traditional marketing? Stale. Annoying. Ineffective. Spam.”
“Traditional marketing = postcards in coffee shops, ads in playbills, the daily paper.”
Someone also astutely mentioned:
“I think the responses also show that many think marketing is just sales and advertising.”
I’d say that’s a pretty good assessment of the situation, wouldn’t you? And when you think about it that way it’s easy to see why so many of us don’t like marketing.
Maybe marketing is just misunderstood
Traditionally, we’ve seen a lot of people use the techniques we don’t like so much. People put their own interests first without a care for what their customer wants. They push messages on people who don’t really want them. It’s all very one-sided.
Many times we find ourselves copying these annoying techniques for lack of knowing a better way. What happens when these techniques don’t work as well as we hoped? We blame marketing. But it’s not really marketing’s fault. It’s bad marketing’s fault, right?
We need to fix this by finding a better way. A way that fits with what works today.
We need to shift our thinking about marketing. If you’re stuck with this negative view of what marketing is, then your marketing efforts will never work as well as you hope.
Let’s get a workable definition of marketing
Here’s the definition of marketing from the American Marketing Association:
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
I’m a bit obsessed with simplifying things for clarity. The full definition has too many words for my brain to take action on. To simplify here’s what stands out to me…
“…offerings that have value for customers…”
What do your customers value?
This value depends on your particular customer. What are they interested in? What do they enjoy about what you do? What do they want to know more about? Social media gives you the tools to find out. And moreover the tools to create this content your customers want.
If you’re giving people things they enjoy, they’ll start to look forward to receiving them. And instead of being annoyed, they’ll want to share these things. And this is where social media gets exciting.
How social media and marketing work together
Let’s make sure there’s no misunderstanding of social media. Here’s a simple definition I found by searching “social media definition” on Google:
Media that is created and shared freely.
Good. Simple. Yay!
If we combine that with our marketing definition:
Offerings that have value for customers.
We can formulate something like this:
Media of value that is shared freely by the customer.
The ultimate goal of your social media marketing
To create stuff your customers want to share. These people become fans and the biggest proponents of your work. When others begin to share what you create you begin to reach a bigger audience of potential customers.
Now you may be thinking how do you make this work? There’s a secret of course. And I’m going to share it with you now.
How to be successful at social media marketing in 3 steps
Here it is; the secret steps of social media marketing. Ready?
BONUS STEP: If you want to get really fancy, add a fourth step: REPEAT.
If this seems a bit too simple, I’ll expand a bit.
All these social media tools allow you to listen to what your customers are talking about. Find out what’s important to them. What questions do they have? How can you help?
Talk to these people. Don’t try to sell them. Just be human and chat. Share and make a connection. Were you able to help them? Move to step three.
Create a piece of media around this conversation. Chances are there are others interested in the topic. Chances are it’ll get some attention.
Is it really that simple?
You bet. But that’s the point. We make it harder than it needs to be. If you follow this three-step process you’ll avoid all those icky marketing issues.
You’ll start to use social media for marketing in a way that works. And you and your customers won’t feel so hostile to the ‘M’ word.
- It’s not marketing people hate. It’s bad marketing.
- Create stuff people want to share.
- The easiest way? Listen. Engage. Create.
What do you think? Am I way off with this line of thinking?
About the Author: Dave Charest inspires indie artists to make ‘Wicked Smaht’ changes to their marketing for better results. Be sure to check out his free ‘Wicked Smaht’ newsletter.