Its been nearly two years since I have written a blog, or even paid much attention to my own marketing. This is a rather sad admittance from a social media marketer, but as I have often half-kidded, I am like the cobbler with the shoeless children.
Its not that I wasn't aware of how poorly it looked to have my business social media sitting unused. Yet, its hard to worry about my own when I am making sure my clients' marketing is taken care of.
What made me sit back and realize that I needed to make time for my own marketing, and strengthen my strategy, is that I began getting calls from people. And these people were telling me that they were finding me from Facebook and Google searches.
It is time for me to practice what I preach - that now my reputation is laid bare online.
And it's not just a problem for me, but for most businesses that don't have an actual marketing department to monitor their online presence.
I have had many people say, "I get my clients by word of mouth," or "I'm in good networking groups." There is no arguing that knowing someone, or being referred, gives you a stronger bond with the perspective client. This usually is how I come by my clients.
However, this is ignoring those prospective clients who have a problem to solve, and they are searching. So if you don't have a sign on that road they never are going to know you. Or worse yet, get a damaged first impression because you aren't showing off your products or skills well.
Now, when people want to learn about about a business, they have powerful research tools in their phone. If say, they wanted a plumber, they choose from the search the ones that look promising, then they take a look at the websites, and they also do a quick search of the review sites, such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If they find an active Facebook page they will also spend time seeing what is said, and being said, about the business.
I also have had it said to me, "But I Have A Website!"
Websites are important as they provide an anchor for your online presence, and they allow for a fuller description of what you do. However, websites are static. Social media gives a greater feel for what the business is like. So if a prospective client is having to decide between comparable businesses they are more than likely to go to one that is vibrant and active.
At last I am again practicing what I preach. I am making time in my weekly schedule to use best practices for my business social media. Its definitely time for me to get some shoes on!
Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest accounts are not normally high on the list of priorities when you are considering your final wishes. However, social media now effects every part of our lives and businesses, and in a three part series I will look at how it can impact the survivors.
I will grant that as a discussion topic this was far from my thoughts; at least not until I found myself reading a Facebook memorial service for an acquaintance. She and I had only reconnected on social media a few months past, and not soon after I noted a post where she said she was having a minor medical procedure done. Then came a flurry of sympathy posts for her passing, and her sister turned the deceased's Facebook page into a memorial site.
The end result of this was I ended up interviewing the owners of Butler Funeral Home about how the funeral industry was handling social media.
The first thing that Mr. Butler said was that whatever the medium used the human impulse to share news, and to give support, doesn't change. However, that with social media the spread of the news has sped up. He mentioned that this is something that families might want to take into consideration when using social media to announce a passing.
When death happens there is a desperate need to reach out to the living, and in telling of the death to try to deal with the reality. Smart phones, laptops, and tablets make it far easier to reach out to friends and acquaintances, but the speed of communication sometimes out runs more traditional means. Mr. Butler said they have heard of families who heard about a death on Facebook before the official call came.
The speed of interaction can also be a blessing for those directly involved, because it does allow of nearly instantaneous outpouring of sympathy, and help. It is also a way to share out funeral arrangements, and funeral homes are helping with this by linking obituaries to their social media.
The Facebook accounts, and other social media, can also offer a place to share memories, which is particularly helpful for friends and acquaintances that can't be there in person. And if desired that page can be turned into a permanent tribute to the deceased.
Recently I was delighted to learn that White Fox Social Media would be working for Dankor Development Company, and Central Illinois Ventures, on the new Metropolitan Place, and Joan Reilly Smith Cultural Center. Mr. Dan Mulcahy and Mr. Irv Smith are busy renovating the First United Methodist Church in downtown Springfield, Il into the Metropolitan Place.
My participation was thanks to ZG Worldwide, and it was also thanks to Mr. Mulcahy, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Soliwon that ZG Worldwide Associates were able to have front row seats (or at least curb side on Capitol Avenue) for the 4th of July fireworks.
To describe the weather for the evening as "perfect" would have been an understatement. And I was able to indulge in one of my newer pastimes of photography, and had challenged myself to try and get photographs of the fireworks.
As a professional storyteller I have become used to the standard response to my profession......
"Do you tell in pre-schools?"
At this point I usually give my little elevator history lesson about how storytelling is a very old performing art, which can provide entertainment for all ages. I usually place a particular emphasis how folk stories, from the world's cultures, cover pretty much all of the human condition.
When I started my new business, White Fox Social Media, I made the mistake of assuming that this was an occupation that was fairly self-explanatory. So I was particularly surprised by the bemused reaction of many of my friends. And then I learned that there was also a second, consistent, reaction that came from business associates.
My friends, at the point I've declared, "I've gone into social media marketing," give me a incredulous look. Followed by an, "Oh." And by both look and tone they make it clear that I have said the equivalent of, "I have decided to re-create the Pyramid of Giza out of fluff bunnies."
Reactions are better when I mention this new occupation to business associates, since they are very aware of the power of social media in their marketing strategy. In many cases, though, it is apparent that they view the multiple needs of social media as akin to grappling a giant squid.
So now I am developing two new elevator speeches.
One for my friends about how social media has evolved to play a vital role in marketing.
And one for my business associates to explain that the giant squid can be handled - one tentacle at a time.
Some may wonder how a storyteller wanders off into the full-time business of social media marketing. And, I'll admit, I have occasionally wondered that myself, though not with any regrets. Social Media offers an intriguing array of opportunities to tell stories, and I am looking forward to doing so for my clients.
Over the last year I have been aggressively networking for my storytelling business, White Fox Productions, Ltd, and during many lunches social media was discussed. Often times one of the luncheon members would give a little talk on the topic, and it never failed that many of the listeners said that they didn't have the time to do their business's Facebook page consistently.
And that wasn't even getting into all of the other platforms, such as Twitter, or Pinterest.
The idea lurked in the back of my mind, where I was beginning to pull together the realization I had the needed skills.
Over the last few years I had been studying how best to market my storytelling, and so was learning about how best to use Facebook, and other platforms, to my benefit. And I also have a background in writing, which has been used for the blogs, but still under-utilized.
Many years back I had dreams (delusions?) of being a novelist, and did a creative writing portfolio for my Masters in English. Somehow, though, the novel sidetracked me into storytelling. I had been trying to write a believable folk musician, but I did not play a musical instrument or sing. And at one point I had the opportunity at a writer's conference to ask writer/musician, Emma Bull, how to write a believable musician. She told me, "Perform something. Get in front of an audience."
A year later storyteller, Dan Keding, offered a workshop in storytelling.
That was perfect! I loved listening to folk stories, and figured that I could at least practice my new found skills on family - and hapless friends.
And after twenty-six years I am still storytelling (the novel is in the file cabinet), and now it is time to combine the storytelling and the writing into a new business venture.
So, last week, White Fox Social Media was born.
Cathy Mosley brings her 26 years of storytelling and writing experience to the realm of Social Media. To help small businesses.