We’re talking about ways to increase your cash flow this week. Here’s another excerpt from our product, 58 Strategies for Creating Cashflow Quick. This time, we’re looking at how giving stuff away for free can help you to help your business.
The idea of freebies is hotly debated amongst business owners. But I want to turn it around. When you give things away to would-be clients, potential customers, and casual website browsers, what you’re really doing is building publicity. And let me tell you, that’s worth a lot. When I came out with my first book in 2001, I paid over $70,000 for publicity.
FREE publicity is a fantastic thing. Spend an hour or less a day and you can build a database that will work wonders for you, for years to come.
Now please note I’m not talking about giving away a car and taking out an ad. I’m talking about using the Internet in a whole new way.
As an example, I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter for over a year. I’ve had great success at making good contacts on Twitter, but not much success on Facebook. And there are dozens more possibilities. If you go to any of these sources and look for “social media experts”, you’ll find hundreds. It all comes down to basic marketing, though. Figure out who your ideal customer is and then go where they are.
Be selective in your posts. Don’t just post about what you had for lunch, unless your business is about lunch. There is a fine line between interesting comments and info about your business. But do it in the form of a conversation, not a lecture.
Remember, Facebook and Twitter are tools. They are tactics you can use to implement a strategy.
Don’t confuse ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’. First design the strategy, then list out your tactics and learn about the tools. As you go through the steps below you might wonder, “Where’s the quick cash flow?” But you might be surprised what happens when you go through the exercise of defining your strategy. That’s because you can’t have a Social Media Strategy until you know your business, perhaps on a different level then you did before. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be more focused for the rest of the ideas here. Go through the exercise of the strategy and then review again the ideas. You might be surprised to find some of your answers and reactions have changed.
Seven Steps to Creating a Strategy:
1. Create your pitch. We used to say you had to have an elevator pitch, which means you had to tell what you did in the time it took you to travel in an elevator. Now you need to do it in 120 characters or less. Twitter allows 140 characters, but you need to leave enough room for people to comment when they pass on your information.
2. What’s the purpose of your strategy? Do you want to create awareness, make sales or solidify loyalty?
3. Who will you be targeting?
- Someone who has never heard of me or my company
- Slightly aware, but never took action
- Acted once
- Repeated actions
4. How does your audience use Social Media? Once you know who you are targeting, ask yourself how they fit on the Forrestor Social Technographic Ladder. (For more information, please go to http://www.Forrestor.com/Groundswell/ladder.html).
Using Groundswell’s definitions, the people you hope to meet may be:
- Creators: These people will publish a blog, publish web pages, upload videos, audio or music and/or write articles and post them on a monthly basis.
- Critics: These people will post ratings/reviews of products/services, comment on other’s blogs, contribute to online forums and/or contribute to articles in a wiki on a monthly basis.
- Collectors: These people use RSS feeds, add tags to Web pages and vote for websites online on a monthly basis.
- Joiners: These people maintain a profile on a social networking site and visit social networking sites on a monthly basis.
- Spectators: These people read blogs, watch video from other users, listen to podcasts, read online forums and read customer ratings/reviews on a monthly basis.
- Inactives: These people don’t do any of the above.
5. What is the soul of your brand? Disney = Magic. Volvo = Safety. USTaxAid Services = Smart Tax Strategies. What is on the other side of the “=” sign for your business and brand
6. How will you show your humanness? If you’re a small business owner, this will be much easier. Show your authentic self. Why do you do what you do? What excites you? What experiences have you had that will make you more real to others who read your story?
7. Figure out how you will measure the results. As an accountant, I’m big about anything that measures results. When it comes to marketing, it’s hard to know exactly what is working and what’s not because there often isn’t a direct link between a specific campaign and the sale. One of the best articles I’ve seen on ideas for finding ROI from your Social Media is on The Brand Builder website. (http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/social-media-r-o-i-part-9-from-activity-timelines-to-outcome-timelines/).