There are many social media platforms to choose from. You’re not even sure how they work to build a business. Then, once you get there, what do you say?
You need guidance. There are new books coming out every day about social media and countless blogs, podcasts and a stream of Twitter chatter that you can read to guide you. None of them will explain how you specifically can apply what you are reading to your business. So, here’s the simple most important tip that will help you make the right decision. Channel your customer. Put yourself in the position of the customer–but in a deep and realistic way. If you are not a customer of your own business, start talking to them–no start listening to them.
How do you get inside the head of the person who buys from you. Figuratively, or literally, walk in the door of your business, as if for the first time. Look around. What do you see? Is there someone there to help? What impression does that person make? How does he or she look? If you own a website, start at your home page or click through from a site that links to you. Know what you are looking for and recognize if it is clear how to find it. O.K, now is all the information you need available to you? Try to avoid what Chip and Dan Heath call “the curse of knowledge” by keeping an open mind and trying to forget that you may know where everything is. What you find may surprise you.
When faced with a decision about how to spend your marketing dollars, ask yourself how can you improve their experience of using your product or service? How can it contribute to making their lives better? Let’s say you sell golf clubs. You may want immediate revenue and be tempted to promote your newest products and slash the prices of some of your products. But your customer would be happier if you were to provide help to become a better golfer. This is a much more compelling reason for someone to read your newsletter or go to your site and it will keep them coming back. If you have a product that somehow makes it easier for your customer to be a better golfer, tie it in with that product but that is not the most urgent thing your customers are thinking about. They just want to improve their game.
It’s not easy to take your focus away from selling the next widget or signing the next contract for your service. The effective use of social media is going to require that you so. There is no rulebook. There are just principles to guide what you do. The first principle is channel your customer.