Social media is the key to building a fortress around your business. If you build your walls strong with good foundations, not only will you be able to defend and attack the local competition with one business, you will be able to start any business you want and leap ahead of your competitors.
The first thing you must understand about good social media marketing is this. Think of social media as an online community with a common interest, a big coffee shop where everyone goes for a good gossip and entertainment. Like any community, people will like you and some will hate you but don’t get offended, it’s par for the course. Why would you worry if you own the coffee shop or the community centre? I decided right at the start if I was going to use social media communities to build my business, I wanted complete control. So, I had to go out and construct my own digital community, coffee shop or town. It’s not always easy nor fast, but it’s a must do. Most business owners just build a Facebook page that is purely about their business. That’s boring and it won’t work.
It doesn’t matter if you live in a town, city or village, build an online digital version of it. If your business is national or international build a community that all your potential customers will have an interest of being part of.
If you live in the town of Croydon, start a Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter account called Croydon or something that relates to your business area and make it a community page. What you are doing is re-creating the real world inside the digital world. For the sake of this article I’m going to pretend I live in Croydon. In the real world I can network and meet people. I can hold seminars, attend local events and many more things which I will cover later. But here is the point; if you want to gain influence and generate your own power base in the real world, you first must generate it in the digital world.
- Constructing your social media fortress and battlements in the digital world.
First create your page e.g. Croydon Town. Make sure your page looks professional and clear. When I say clear, I mean it has a clear message, that it’s there to serve the community. When you have your page looking how you want it, you will need to add content. When I say content, I mean useful information that your local community will want to know about i.e. community events, where local bands are playing, quiz nights, local council meetings, places of interest to visit, park beauty spots- the list is endless. I can hear the cogs in your head turning and saying, how am I going to have time for all this? It’s simple once the show is on the road, the show runs along without you. To make your digital town grow fast you will need to enlist helpers or should I say people within the community who have influence but also have business ambitions, You will need to get these other community influencers and business owners on board and make them editors of your page. I repeat, editors not admin! You must keep total control over your kingdom, trust no-one with the empire you are building. Why would they want to be involved? Same reason as you, they want to make money and have more influence. If you can do like I did, get the local mayor on board who is a key charity fundraiser and ask them to promote your page. They can then invite all their friends to it in return for them posting good local content and their own business and community interests.
I have 12 admin on each of my pages. Apart from moderating and posting my own business content, plus any community interests I might have, the pages and groups run themselves. You will also have plenty of stories and news items sent to you asking if you would post them. Make sure you have a Twitter account connected to it with automated feed. Now the other cool thing is this, all towns are surrounded by other towns and villages in-between so take them all and use the same principle that I have already explained, pushing the boundaries as far as you can go. Even if you don’t do much business in nearby towns, take them anyway before someone else does. I have two community pages and groups in my town totalling over 150,000 and I have pages in neighbouring towns totalling 15-30k. I also have FB groups covering the same areas and I will go into more detail about these another time. I also have pages covering London, Greek Islands and cities in the US. I am constantly expanding all the time. My business initially was local. My hometown of Croydon is still my fortress but to keep expanding my empire I need to expand my digital world’s area of influence. My business is fitness/boot camps, martial arts, business networking and marketing plus I’m now involved with business events that I can now promote through my network of digital communities. I could start any business I wanted and have customers for it within 24 hours or less. It goes without saying whatever business I am in, I do not allow any other business of the same nature to advertise in my digital world, I have effectively shut down the competition in the cyber town of Croydon. Remember this, the cyber town of Croydon will eventually, over the next ten years, become more of a reality than you could imagine.
Creating your community should take a massive priority in your marketing strategy, so you need to start building it NOW! There are so many ways to get followers. If you don’t ask then you won’t get so ask your friends to follow the page or group and then invite their friends. Even better, buy them a drink and take possession of their phone and kindly do it for them. I would do this all the time and not once did anyone say no. I remember sitting in a pub with three phones inviting all three persons’ friends to like my community pages as each time I clicked it was a potential future customer. Now, if you’re thinking ‘well this is OK for B2C but not B2B’, then you’re wrong. If you’re dealing B2B then chances are you’re dealing with other business that are doing business in the B2C market. If you are running a commercial cleaning company for instance, you may be looking to do business with local bars and pubs or shops. So now you have a fantastic added value product you can offer them for free; in exchange for using your service you will happily promote their service or product to the local community. You can offer them non-stop social media exposure through your digital networks. None of your competitors will be able to match you. I have helped commercial window cleaning companies double their business using social media power as leverage to get contracts.
It’s also a great way to give you leverage on deals such as hiring venues for a better negotiated fee. I recently purchased a small networking business that held regular weekly meetings across four local towns. The networking business did not generate any huge amounts of money but created many contacts and came with 10k in social media followers who ran their own businesses. Again, it was the social media coverage that got my interest. I have now gained a lot of leverage on any deals I might make in the B2B marketplace. This enabled me to run marketing and social media courses for entrepreneurs and local business owners, plus private consultations where I can easily charge £200 per hour. If I had not purchased a struggling networking business that had over 10k in social media, filling courses and consulting work would have been much harder and more expensive to get going.
Having this kind of social media can make you an online business leader and offline business leader. You don’t have to just use social media communities to make money or promote your business, you can also help charities and good causes. All my social media communities promote and number of charities and community issues, if I know someone with a struggling business or come to that, any local business that is struggling, I will do my best to help them out in any way I can. It’s a great way to do business and help new businesses and be part of your local community and become a pillar of it.
- Facebook Groups
I will give you an example of how to start a great group to benefit your business if you are a car mechanic. First, start a group for cars for sale under £1000, another group for cars under £3000 and it won’t take long before it gets known and people start advertising cars for sale on to it so make sure it’s an open group where anyone can join and post, but you need approve posts. Next, let it run and get busy with lots of activity. Now once you have a busy group with lots of people advertising their cars you can start advertising as the only mechanic within the group.
If you are a photographer, start a wedding and engagement group offering advice and other suppliers to couples getting married, and guess what, you are the only photographer within the group.
Social media is not about you, it’s about your local community. By supporting your local community you become a prominent part of it.
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