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Plan Less – Play More

Yes, on numerous occasions, I have championed the need to have a well thought through and comprehensive social media strategic plan – a plan that is consistent and integrated into an overall business plan. In a perfect world that is probably good advice. You know…. “ Unless you know where you are going how do you know when you have arrived.” Yet, I am fully aware that many small businesses don’t have a fully developed or well-articulated business plan let alone a plan for their digital presence.

While I still think there needs to be some general goals, when it comes to creating a social presence, I vote for less planning and more action. When I think of my own experience, it was after jumping in, playing and experimenting that I was able to really begin to understand the tools and appreciate how they could be used in business.

It is the low cost of entry into the social web that makes this a viable approach. Yes, it will take time and there is a learning curve but writing a blog, Tweeting, setting up a Facebook Fan page, engaging is a Linkedin Group discussion, and posting a customer video endorsement on YouTube will not cost a penny.

There is no one  “right” way to use social media. Almost by definition, each of us approach and use social media in our own unique way. Only through experience do we develop our individual social personality – the strategy will follow and evolve.

What has your experience been?

photo flickr curtesy of MacAllenBrothers

Yes, You Still Need a Website

Considering the increase functionality of Facebook Fan Pages, some have questioned the need for a website. Yes, you still need a website. In fact, a website is exponentially more important than Facebook. Yet, an important point here: the website I am talking about is not the static brochure ware of a 90’s website. Rather, it is a 2010 blog or blog platform built website. Really, they both have very different purposes. I think of Facebook as an “introduction” – the cocktail party of your digital presence. Your website is your “home” – the center of your digital existence. It is where you add substance and display your subject matter expertise.

My friend Chris Jordan makes a great point. He states, “with Facebook you lose control and that it’s a saturated marketplace where messages can get lost or even hidden. Your website visitors are a captive audience.”

Yes, Facebook is all the rage but don’t neglect your website.

Please comment and let me know what you think?

Yellow Pages – Really?

At a recent insurance industry event, I  was facilitating a panel and took the opportunity to ask the audience of insurance agents how many  of them still had Yellow Page Ads. Shockingly, about 25% of the audience still did. I then asked them how many used the Yellow Pages to search for a business – of course no hands went up. Clearly, Google and other internet search engines are how we all search for information. Let me paraphrase the response of one of the panelists, “the amount you are currently spending on Yellow Page Ads could be used to create a ‘dynamite’  website and ‘killer’ social media presence.”

If internet search is how we all look for a business it is critically important that you can be found. That means you need to have a strong web presence including a website and now more importantly on social sites. It is also important to make sure you are taking advantage of  local search.

The last time I used the Yellow Pages was  as a booster chair for one of my grandkids and that was several years ago. Now, the book goes straight to recycle.

Photo Credit Flickr Jamiesrabbits

Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day (Book Review)

I just finished this book and as the title suggests it does indeed cover Facebook marketing – but it also covers so much more. In addition to Facebook marketing, it is really a very good primer on traditional and internet marketing. Reading this book confirmed my contention that those who are successful with internet marketing are those who understand and are good at traditional marketing. They understand the basics of creating, implementing, measuring and optimizing a marketing plan regardless of the medium and this read covers all of those disciplines.  Clearly, Facebook offers a compelling marketing opportunity for small business. This book offers a step-by-step guide on how your business can effectively harness the power of Facebook. It begins with strategy and ends with tactics – all supported with real life case studies. Be sure and read Appendix B: “The Future of Facebook” – opinions on the future from several industry experts.

I think this is a must read for anyone responsible for their organization’s marketing. I also think it is a must read for anyone who owns or manages a business and expects to be relevant in a space that has transformed the way businesses and customers interact. You can find it on Amazon here.

If you have read this book, let me know what you think?

Have you used Facebook Ads? How has that worked for you?

Don’t forget to take poll to the left of this post.

Keeping Life in Balance

We spent this past weekend camping at Sunshine Campground – a small primitive campground Southwest of Telluride, CO. The experience reminded me of how important it is to keep life in balance.

Much of my professional life revolves around technology – rather the transformations taking place in our society that are being fueled by new technology. I know many can feel overwhelmed by “work” and talk about escaping and getting “off the grid”. For me, that wasn’t it at all. I really enjoy what I do. I like being on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and even email. I like keeping in touch and sharing experiences with family and friends and that includes business associates. Hiking in the Colorado Mountains is very special but it is also fun sharing my adventures on Twitter and Facebook.

Clearly, the social web is helping blur the line between our business and personal lives. I think that is a good thing. This past weekend helped me clear out the “cobwebs” and reminded me that it’s the journey not the destination that is important.