Social media experts are popping up like mushrooms, and most have a program to sell you. I mean no disrespect. Many of their programs are very good. But before you buy any social media program – or begin any marketing campaign, for that matter – please do yourself a favor: Answer these 5 questions.
- Who are you trying to reach? Marketing is not about sending out a message. It’s about sending the right message to the right target. Who is your target? Until you know, don’t waste time on a campaign.
- What is your target’s problem? It’s been said many times, but even the best marketers forget: customers buy solutions to their problems, not products. They don’t care about your accounting software; they want a less time consuming way to organize their data, or more flexible reporting systems. They don’t want your shampoo; they want shinier hair, or easier hair care. Get specific. Who is it, and what do they need?
- What are their choices, and why is your solution better? How else could they solve problem? Who are the competitors or alternatives? What do competitors do better than you? Prospects almost always have options, so you need to be ready to explain why you offer the best one for their specific problem.
- What is the most compelling way to talk about your solution? Crafting a compelling message is rarely easy. You need to convey your position (easy fitness program? customized training? ultimate bootcamp?), assert the superiority of your solution, provide a reason to believe your assertion, and hopefully place all that in a context that activates primal emotions. In a few words. You can experiment to evolve your message, but you need a starting point before you launch your campaign.
- What are your priorities? This has two parts.
- First, prioritize the media available for delivering your compelling message to your target. Consider that many marketers over the decades have found that it is more powerful to be dominant in one channel than to be merely present in many. Social media may be your best option, but then again, it may not be, and some social media channels may be wrong for your business. You might reach more people with, say, Twitter, but reach more engaged people with, say, LinkedIn. Which is more important for your specific situation? Prioritize your options, and don’t limit them to social media.
- Second, put your top priority in the context of your overall workload. If you can’t delegate the work, do you have the bandwidth to launch the campaign today? Or would you be better served focusing on face-to-face selling or solving a supplier problem?
Once you have answered these questions, you will have clarity. Maybe that guy trying to sell you his social media program is indeed your best option. But maybe it’s not. Just remember, he’s not going to help you answer these questions. For that, you need to do your own work, or engage an advisor.