Are you getting more twits than hits from your Tweets? More stalkers than Followers on LinkedIn? More “yikes!” than Likes on Facebook?
You’re not alone. Most SMB owners go into social media with the same look on their faces as a child facing a big spoonful of nasty medicine. It’s not so bad, if you have an objective, a plan, and an understanding of how social media applies to both. It starts with knowing how your prospects come to you during the Purchase Consideration Continuum.
What’s the Purchase Consideration Continuum, you ask? Put simply, it’s your prospect’s “buy cycle.” It represents the interlinked stages of how potential customers assess your (and others') products or services before deciding to buy. From being unaware of you or your service to being a satisfied, engaged customer, there are several stages a buyer goes through, sometimes consciously, sometimes not. For expensive items or services, months can be spent in this continuum. Other times, an item is purchased in a second, spontaneously. And prospects can enter the buy cycle at any stage—they may come in ready to learn slowly or buy immediately.
Regardless of what your business offers, a digital plan and social media, when appropriately woven into the buy cycle stages, can play a most critical role for you and your prospect. In fact, your digital presence and social media plan must be built to serve both you and your buyer—if it serves only one, it will ultimately serve neither. It must be a buy cycle built for two.
Before we delve into how you get buyers to jump on your hook, let's make sure you've got the right fishing rod, line and bait—that is, let's be sure your approach and "must haves" are in order.
Plan the Work, Then Work the Plan
Your Vision: What do you do well, want to do, and can do profitably? Do you like the target market/customers for these services? What is your goal? To grow fast - or grow steadily? If successful, do you have staff and resources in place to handle the demand?
Your competitors: Do you know what your competitors do well, what their prices are, and what they’re likely to do next (or won't)? Do you know who their customers are? Is there an opportunity wedge for you?
Your customers: Have you created a persona of who your typical buyer is? What motivates them—or what must you address/do to get them to take action? What can they afford? What might they want tomorrow?
Your web and mobile presence: While a Facebook page is free, you’re beholden to Facebook's present and future rules. A web site offers you full freedom and can be built for a relatively low investment.
Per EZLocal.com, a mobile-optimized site is essential as consumers increasingly choose mobile for local information. According to US search market share data, there were more than 2.6 billion local searches performed monthly on Google last year—a number expected to grow to approximately 4 billion in 2014. And the stakes are high: Google reported that 40 percent of mobile consumers turned to a competitor's site after a less than satisfactory mobile web encounter, and over 50 percent would not recommend a business with a poor mobile site.
Finally, an App dedicated specifically to your company (most definitely not a "general" App in which you are lumped together with your local area competitors) gives you a piece of prime real estate on your clients’ tablets and phones, and also provides a convenient time-saver for them.
Ideally, you’ll build out your digital and the social media presence on an all-in-one, SMB-focused platform that will run itself hands-free. You’ll merely be charged with keeping it updated and fresh.
About the Author