“Nothing will beat referrals” is how I started off my class with a group of acupuncture students at The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. I was invited by my long time client, Autumn Bear to speak for a class she was teaching on business development at the college. Most of the class was eager to learn about social media and most of them had very little experience with it. As much as I love showing people how to grow their business through social media marketing, I realize that nothing beats word of mouth, but would argue that social is the virtual word of mouth. It was a class for beginners, but there was one student with a good deal of experience in advertising, and like most people coming from that world, her skeptical glances were difficult to deflect. However, when I impressed upon her that I knew our modern day Santa Claus was actually an iconic invention of Coca-Cola, she seems to ease up on me a little.
Social Media Marketing can be a difficult area to introduce people to because it needs to be parred down to it’s simplest form. The digital marketing landscape with all it’s social media platforms, digital ad placement potential and how that all ties into your web development and search engine optimization on your site, can be a bit overwhelming to people. I think in a parallel universe, I’m a teacher. There’s nothing greater than inspiring other people, especially when it comes to sharing knowledge that helps others to gain autonomy and freedom in their lives. No I’m not saving the world, I’m “just” teaching people how to use Twitter, but it’s a micro contribution to their progress in the digital landscape and consequentially there autonomy.
While showing them my keynote presentation, which I was quite proud of because it was the first time I used animation, some eyes lit up and others went blank. But overall, most people were able to follow because the principles at the beginning are always the same. Social media strategies follow a few simple principles no matter what your business is.
- Know your audience
- Choose your platforms wisely
- Generate interesting content that is not self promotional
- Engage with your base
- Find the right followers
Yes, there are many ways to be extremely specific per industry. There is no one formula and that’s why you can hire a creative or digital marketing agency to come of with the strategies for you and either consult to give you and your team the tools to incorporate social media into your workflow or you can hire a digital marketing agency to manage your social media platforms and web development for you. However, a lot of these acupuncture students are just starting their businesses. My best guess is that they will not have another capital in the beginning to hire someone to do this for them. In a 2 hour class, I wasn’t going to make them completely self sufficient, but what I hoped to accomplish, and possible achieved, was making social media marketing a little less overwhelming and chaotic. This way, no matter what stage they are at in developing their business, that wouldn’t be afraid to participate in growing their business through social media.