In 2009, my husband, a technologist that’s always looking ahead, told me, “You need to get on this Twitter thing – it’s going to be big.” I established a profile and started lightly tweeting. I then began experimenting using Twitter for marketing thought leadership and that’s when I got hooked – where else could you go and have the ability to chat with expert marketers and business leaders in a level playing field?
That’s still amazing to me. I never would have come in contact with these experts. Maybe at a conference, here and there but not in the way social allows you to strike up a conversation, read expert opinion and really understand someone’s point of view.
I spent hours on Twitter cultivating my following and ultimately guest blogging, starting several blogs and getting into content in a way I had not done before as a marketer. After experimenting through my own profile I saw the potential for brands using social – there are so many possibilities. And that’s where my love for social media started.
I learned more in those initial days about what it takes to be an early adopter and how you forge ahead. I still encounter reluctance and opinion today, even in my role as a CMO. I’ve heard it all: “What do you want to do?”, “How is this going to work?”, “Why are we doing this? We’ll never reach our customers!” I’m still surprised when I hear comment like, “We do way too much social,” or “We’re not funny enough on social – my teenager can do a better job than we do.” Or my favorite: “Social media doesn’t drive business, it’s just that thing that Marketing does for our brand.”
Fast forward to 2014, since those first days, I launched global social media for the iShares brand, consulted with several small businesses and started social media for the B2B company I was at back in 2009. Social media is just a part of what I do professionally and personally. It’s become a standard in my role as a marketer – I cannot imagine, as a CMO, not having social as part of our marketing effort.
In this post I wanted to encourage all you social media mavens out there, even as mature as social has become, it’s still tough for small businesses to get their head around. I continue to meet marketers in the financial services industry and other regulated industries that struggle to find their own sweet spot. Here are a few tips to keep you going as you navigate the social space for your business or brand:
- Stand Your Ground – Don’t waiver when other leaders give you advice on social media. Remember, everyone’s a marketer (at least they think they are) and you’re the expert.
- Social Media Does Drive Business – Memorize your metrics, have them handy and shout from the roof top. Create a few talking points and statistics for the naysayers. You’ll convert them just like you convert prospects.
- Cultivate Your Own Profile – I still learn today from my own profiles in social – take the time to grow your own brand and be prominent on social media. You are already at the office so take the time to showcase your personal brand.
- Always Be Testing and Experimenting – It’s the only way to learn and stay ahead of the curve. If you’re unsure, spin up a test profile or use your own and try a few things before executing for your brand.
- Be Proud – It takes a lot of effort to be successful in social media. Content strategy, copywriting, content curation and advertising know-how are just a few ingredients to success.
- Listen – Sometimes it’s hard to hear what others have to say but if you step back and take their opinion into consideration there might be something there.
- Read, Read and Read – I comb so many sites that focus on social media and subscribe to numerous daily and weekly emails which are a treasure trove of ideas.
- Rally the Troops – Harness those active social media employees within your company. Give them guidelines and standards. Pre-plan big events and utilize their reach to further what the brand is doing.
Marketing is changing daily and social media is a channel that changes even faster. To innovate and stay ahead you’ll always encounter some resistance but the payoff can be very rewarding. The best marketers and business owners are comfortable experimenting and finding new ways to drive business.