In the conclusion to our three-part interview, my friend and partner (and best selling author) Bryan Eisenberg – who consults the Dells and the Universal Studios and the Volvo Internationals of the world on conversion and persuasion – offers up six basic small business tips to start harnessing the power of social media.
Here’s the conclusion – overflowing with stuff you can do today to help your business.
Bryan: I gave them all six basic tips, and let me share that with you and then we’ll probably be in perfect shape.
Number one, you have to stake your claim because at the end of the day, a few years ago it was Myspace that was hot, now it’s Facebook, now it’s this one, social media networks are coming out left and right and we don’t know what the next one that’s going to hit is going to be strong. Right now, Four Squares looking pretty good, not positive but it’s worth at least owning your brands on each of these.
So I recommended a site called Knowem.com, you can go there and it will give you little links and check the availability for your name. Don’t do it, it will take you forever. I think for like 20 or 30 bucks they’ll actually go and register all the available ones for you.
So just stake your claim, own the position. The thing about it is early real estate, the same way I bought each of my kids when they were born a domain name, it’s like real estate because you don’t know what neighborhood is going to get hot later.
Make sure that you stake your claim on Google Local Business Center for their local advertising because that’s going to have a major play with mobile phones and everyone is moving to Smartphones, iPhones, the Android device and stuff like that. What they’re doing on local advertising is going to be mind blowing so you want to be sure that you have the ability to do everything you can there. So Google Local Business Center, do a search for that. And then of course, same thing with things like Yelp, make sure you claim your business there, it’s really important to do that. Okay?
Bryan: Step number two, become a good listener. I have somewhat of a religious background, I’m not a very religious person but one of the early lessons I learned from a very intelligent Rabbi is he said, “Look, you have one mouth but two ears, use them in those proportions.” So listen twice as much as you speak and that really is what social media is very good at doing. So go to something like search.Twitter.com or you use tools like TweetDeck or HootSuite to set up some of these searches and do the searches for your brand, do the searches for your category.
So you can type in like hotel near a particular zip code within 100 miles. For example I showed an example of I was in Stanford, Connecticut, hotels near that zip code in Stanford, Connecticut within 100 miles and one of the first tweets was someone asking hey, I wonder if the Ace Hotel has a quiet public spot. Now if I were the Ace Hotel and I saw that, I’d be the first one to respond to this person saying hey, my name is June, when you come into the hotel look for me, I’ll make sure you have a quiet spot to do whatever you need for that hour.
Great listening to drive your brand, that’s what makes you remarkable.
Number three, use social media to show off your expertise. What social media allows you to do is not think of yourself as a retailer or a publisher or a a manufacturer, today people need to think of themselves as publishers because everybody is a publisher. If you have a camera phone, if you can go on Twitter everybody can publish to that, you can publish a review, everybody is a publisher. You need to start thinking of yourself and your business as a publisher so use it to show off your expertise, why you develop products a certain way, why you choose the inventory you choose, why your buyers are so spectacular, how to take great care of your lawns, how to make sure your pipes don’t freeze this winter, how to easily take care of yourself, show off your expertise.
Number four, use the platforms to show off your value as well, leverage what other people talk about, share it with others. One of my favorites is I don’t know if you know Paul Stoltzfus from Wise Grass?
Bryan: I love Paul, I remember the first time he was in our class and we actually worked together and came up with the name Wise Grass. One of my favorites things about his website and I blogged about it beforehand is you go and you click on Visit A Show Lawn Today, he does landscaping in the Lancaster area, and he took it together a Google Map and he created what’s called a mash-up, this is part of this Web 2.0 social media technology, he has his own little database and you can actually see little pins and you can visit with the Google satellite view the locations of where he’s done his work. So you don’t need to take his word for it, he can show off his great work by leveraging the technology that social media is available out there. Incredibly, incredibly powerful.
Number five, develop a following – tell people where you are. One of my favorite examples is the Kogi BBQ on Twitter. Kobe BBQ is a van, they own a van where they sell Korean Barbeque in Los Angeles. How many followers do you think a typical food van might have?
Tim: A food van?.
Bryan: Think about your local restaurant, how many followers might they have?
Bryan: Okay. When I took the screenshot a couple of weeks ago they had 52,660 followers. Their food is obviously pretty remarkable and what’s remarkable about it is that they Tweet where they van is going to be. What about if you’re the local restaurant and you Tweet “hey, special only today for my Twitters followers, it will not be on the menu is X, come in and order it. ” Or here are the soups of the day, call us for your delivery. So many ways to do this and let people know where they can follow you, give them your Twitter address, put it on a card, have a screen right there where they can just click a button and follow you. Whatever you can do, make it easy to do so or to fan you on Facebook, whatever it is.
Number six, and I think this is the most important one is use what people are already doing and leverage their activities. One of the examples I mentioned this one to you earlier is something like Four Square. Four Square is one of these location-based services. What that means is you’re on your cell phone and the GPS on the cell phone says hey, I’m at Gold’s Gym on King’s Highway, great, so what it does is you have to check in when you’re in that location.
It’s a great example I show of this one little café that says okay, if you’re the mayor which means you’ve checked in a certain number of times your drinks are free today. So imagine doing that and say you know what, if I’m the Gold Gym’s owner I get to say if you’re the mayor free smoothie today, free spin class or if I’m the jewelry shop, free something, whatever it is you have a opportunity to leverage it.
One of the other great examples I share with people is something that IKEA did but that everybody can do. You come out with new merchandise, ask people to come in and size it for you and take the pictures so you can put it up on Facebook. Take all your new fashions, because what IKEA did is they took pictures of their showrooms and let people tag their favorite products and they used the photo tagging feature readily built into Facebook to promote the items in the store because they wanted those items so much and they got a chance to win those items. Leverage what people are doing, watch other people’s activity and do it. And then, most importantly the way you’re going to become successful, be remarkable.
Tim: And that really hasn’t changed in 400 years.
Bryan: That’s the number one secret, yeah, can’t do it any easier, today it’s easier for the customers to tell people how remarkable you are, you don’t have to wait at the slow pace of word of mouth that used to happen beforehand.
Tim: Bryan, thank you so much.
Bryan: You’re absolutely welcome.
Tim: That’s incredibly valuable and hype-free information, that’s what I enjoy so much about it. It’s scary there are so many people out there who do call themselves wizards and gurus of this sort of things and I don’t know, it seems like it could be very expensive very fast to buy a bag of magic beans for a guy who has no idea of what they’re doing or where to start.
Bryan: It really could be frightening; it’s overwhelming the number of social media platforms are in the tens of thousands today. But there are a few places I would focus on, and again where most of the traffic is, you want to go where your customers are. It may be a local community center that has a whole area, you want to be involved there, you want to be a member of your community. If your community is on Twitter, be there. If your community is on Facebook, be there. I’m pretty sure you can do better on Facebook because Facebook has more members than the whole United States has population today. If Facebook was a country it would be the 3rd largest country in the world. 100 million people log into Facebook daily, everybody is there so you have to be there. If everybody starts moving toward Four Square then be there, if everybody starts going to Joe Schmo’s Together Place, be there. But most importantly, just be remarkable.
Tim: Thank you, Bryan. Any parting shot?
Bryan: I just want people to get this and not be scared of what’s going on. Technology can be daunting but the fundamental root of all this: it’s all fundamentals of business and communication, it just evolves a little bit, that’s it.
My sincere thanks to Bryan for enlightening me and hopefully you a little bit, too. Maybe you now have a glimpse into why companies like Google, Forbes and HP, call him to speak to their audiences.
For more than 10 years, Bryan has been showing them many things about the online world with one net result: how to get more people to do more things. Why do people buy? What makes them click? What takes an online company from good to great? This is what Bryan knows. This is what Bryan shares.
Bryan Eisenberg, marketing speaker, is a former teacher with a great passion for sharing his rich knowledge. He’s delivered keynote addresses for many corporate events and industry conferences such as Search Engine Strategies, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, E-consultancy, Webcom and the Canadian Marketing Association.