5 Questions To See If This Article Is For You:
1. Do you work at or own a small business?
2. Do you compete against a BIG BUSINESS that has a huge marketing budget, large staff, national advertisement campaigns, and numerous consultants?
3. Does your future depend on taking market share from BIG BUSINESS; a large national firm in your industry.
4. Does the marketplace seem noisy? Crowded? Is it more difficult to stand-out today compared to even a few years ago?
5. Is cold calling and traditional approaches working as well as they did 10-15 years ago?
If you answered in the affirmative to the above questions, then we have a lot in common…
My Competitive Marketplace
I work at a locally-owned, independent insurance agency. When it comes to home and auto insurance, my four largest competitors spend more money on advertising than McDonalds, Nike, Visa, Samsung, Sony, and Apple. Additionally, there are more insurance agents in the State of Illinois than there are ants. How is that for competitive?
My primary competition is below (source: www.ryanhanley.com ():
The Big Four
- GEICO spends more money on marketing than McDonald’s, Sony, and Nike.
- GEICO, State Farm, Progressive, and All State spend more money on marketing than Apple, Coco-Cola, Visa, and Samsung.
Social Media is the Sling-Shot
Is the marketing budget disparity fair? That’s NOT the right question. NOT at all. The real question is, what am I going to do about it? How does a small business, or someone who works at a small business, compete when the playing field is not exactly even from a marketing standpoint? I submit that because of the rise of social media, blogging, and content marketing, this has NEVER been more possible. If the analogy is David vs. Goliath, those tools are the slingshot. Never before has it been easier to tell your story; both the story of your small business AND your personal story.
Build Your Personal Brand Intentionally Across All Mediums
- I connected with @TonyVidler, a financial service consultant on Twitter. I was scrolling through his page and I came across a very powerful quote:
“In professional services, your personal brand is everything.” - Tony Vidler
- What is personal brand? They are the thoughts and feelings people have when they hear your name? Does your personal brand help or hurt your ability to grow your business?
There are many ways to build your brand.
1. One on one relationship building.
- Success in business (and life) have always been and always will be about two things:
1. The relationships you build.
2. The value you bring.
- Have a mentality that you want to meet new people everyday; not just at a particular event. Not just a certain type of person.
- How do we build individual relationships? Face to face meetings? Yes. Doing a great job for people? Of course. However, when it comes to social media, people forget that strong relationships can be established and grown overtime. In some cases, relationships are started via social media and grown off-line. In other cases, relationships are started off-line and grown via social media.
2. Social media engagement.
- Many sign-up but few engage. Many treat their LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages like a static brochure vs. a conversation.
- Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter gather large audiences. So, for the 5% who actively engage on these social media outlets, there are a lot of people there to build relationships with.
- Please note: engagement is not just talking (typing) and pushing information out. It is listening, learning, supporting, acknowledging, and celebrating with others. For every minute you spend pushing out content, you should spend a minute liking, sharing, commenting = engaging.
3. Content marketing.
- Tell your story.
- Add value.
- Have fun. Be likeable.
- Start a conversation.
- Give people a chance to get to know you.
- Don’t confuse interruption marketing
with content marketing. Insurance agent and social media guru Brent Kelly (@brentmkelly) has an interesting perspective on this: “Most consumers go to social media to avoid the old tactics of interruption marketing. They go to social media for fun, to connect, and to be able to choose the content they consume.”
Disclaimer: I am still very much a novice when it comes to social media. There is much I need to learn. However, the more I do learn and the more I see shifts in the business marketplace, the more convinced I am the this approach IS a critical success factor for small business.
Questions? Comments? Let me know.
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- Check-out other articles: www.frankhaney.biz
Thanks for reading!