No discussion about marketing would be complete without talking about social media. It’s absolutely huge right now. Your business needs to have a social media presence. Developing a distinct and consistent voice and a plan for how you’ll use social media are crucial, because many consumers today receive most of their daily news and information from the Internet. And in any case, it’s free advertising! If you’re not using these sites to your advantage, you’re ignoring an inexpensive and potentially influential service. Too many businesses use social media poorly. It’s important to acknowledge that the same strategy isn’t right for every business, and that’s where I think many businesses fail. Your use of social media needs to be tailored to your business. Using social media should be thought about as critically and thoughtfully as any other aspect of your marketing plan. In the early 2000s, MySpace fundamentally changed the course of my business, HotPicks. We found a way to communicate and relate to our fans, and our success was outstanding. The experience really led me to believe in the value of social media. And if you’re reading this blog, you know that already!
If you’re not on Twitter and Facebook, change that. The best way to start understanding how social media can work for your business is by familiarizing yourself with the most popular and influential platforms. Feel free to download the countless manuals that exist about how best to use social media, but make sure you’re actually using these sites too (or have hired someone to do so for you). There are countless different kinds of social media sites these days, and some are a better fit for your business than others. Follow companies you like and respect on each of these sites as part of your initial research. Analyze how they use these tools to benefit their business. What do you think their goals are? Are they successful? Are you annoyed by some companies’ use of social media or find yourself wanting to ‘defriend’ or ‘unfollow’ them? Why? Essentially, what benefits are they offering to the consumer?
Cultivating an effective social media strategy is a great way to stay in touch with your consumers and to promote your brand. It isn’t about immediately driving up sales. It’s less obvious and clear-cut than that. It’s about community, transparency, and communication.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed over 20 products in the past 30 years. He is a board member of Accudial Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and is the author of two books “One Simple Idea: Turn your dreams into a licensing goldmine while letting others do the work,” and “Once Simple Idea For Startups Entrepreneurs,” from McGraw-Hill. Along with business partner Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight, a company dedicated to education. Teaching inventors and entrepreneurs the skills needed to successfully bring their ideas to market.
One Simple Idea For Licensing is available in book stores and online book retailers nationwide. One Simple Idea for Startups Entrepreneurs will be available November 5th, 2012. Visit www.inventright.com to learn more.