The New Year is here and it’s an exciting time if you are in business. It really does not need to be a year of repeating the same approaches, following the trends or bad advice from online gurus who get paid to tell us how to market ourselves. What we need this year is a back to basics, down-to-earth way to network, market ourselves and promote our business on a more human level.
Social media can feel very unsocial and cold. When we worry about numbers, followers and what is trending on a regular basis, it can make us lose sight of what is really important: connecting in a real way. Social media in its early days seemed a lot like trial and error but mostly error to many people. Then the gurus took over making money by telling us how it should be done even though it was a new platform and uncharted social technology. We all jumped on board without understanding the big picture or even why we needed it. Now it’s a noisy mess of memes, fake articles, negativity, trolls, photoshopped selfies and way too much information to sift through. It’s no wonder so many people are taking regular breaks from it.
So what can we do as small business owners? We can sit back and look at what we like and don’t like. We can create a plan to communicate online in a way that seems natural to us. We can get back to why we are there and what we want to accomplish.
If there’s one thing we have learned from the past few years, it’s that fake news, online celebrities, endless selfies, online influencers, forced marketing, and trending nonsense grows tired pretty quickly. It’s time to go back to basics. Here’s how:
1. Get back to vintage networking
What is vintage networking? It’s real business people making a real difference in their community. It is a network that can help you successfully grow your business through a supportive group of members. The idea is to meet regularly and build long-lasting business relationships to help strengthen your business future and your community at the same time.
2. Get back to organic marketing
Marketing online can take time if you are not paying for followers and numbers. It doesn’t need to be at a snail’s pace, however. With regular, well-thought-out posts, good quality photos and information is a great way to create a following. Organic marketing works when we offer something to our viewers such as news, tips, ideas, light-hearted posts to lift the spirit, and of course by showcasing how you’re of service.
3. Get back to permission marketing
Social media can be so forceful sometimes. It’s nice to give your audience the choice of whether they want to get your information, tips, newsletters, and updated news. All your social media platforms, including your website, need to ask the relevant questions to get your audience to act. Ask them to subscribe, receive your information, your newsletters and other relevant materials. No one likes to have things spring up unexpectedly in an email. By giving your audience the power of choice, you are letting them decide and therefore creating a sense of trust and a possible customer in the future.
4. Get back to basics
When was the last time you handed out a business card? When was the last time you met up with someone over coffee? There are old ways to do things that many of us miss. We miss information that we can hold in our hands. We miss face-to-face interactions and we miss connecting to our communities. Many companies are volunteering in their communities, putting on classes, seminars and helping other companies succeed. Many companies just want to be real again.
This year, we challenge you to get back to the things that make being in business great not only for yourself but for your community. We challenge you to connect more, talk more and get involved in your community more! Have a Happy New Year. May it be the best one yet!