This is a guest post by Ryan Critchett (@RyanCritchett)
The common problem with social media for business is that it takes a long time to break through. In many cases, you'll be engaging for months before you see any huge returns. It's all part of the game. You have to break through the surface. You have to work your way into people's minds and that's going to take an enormous amount of tenacity, hustle and creativity.
First, I'll start off by saying that I jumped head first into a social media strategy over the last year for my iPhone repair company, and I've been able to generate leads locally, and nationwide. I've tapped into an enormous opportunity to reach my customers through Twitter, and I've been ruthlessly taking advantage of it every day. In this post, I want to answer some questions and share some discoveries I've made along the way.
How Much Time Should I Spend?
A huge question in social media that has no standard answer is the time question. Should it be an hour a day? Two? Should you go all out and spend eight hours a day engaging with people?
Here's my solid answer: you should stream and reply to information relevant to the specific services or products your company provides, for at least two hours a day. Do this at the very least, four times weekly. So, the minimum effective engagement time, is four times weekly, for at least two hours a day. I've tried three times weekly, for an hour a day. I've tried randomly selecting times to go engage with people and nothing really hits the spread point like this. If that's too much time for you to spend talking with people on Twitter, or responding to people's posts on Facebook, then simply put, you're not going to get the results you want.
Being effective in social media largely has to do with your level of hustle. Are you willing to put in the multiple hours a week to really make an impact? Are you willing to recognize that engaging with customers, though indirectly marketing, is in fact a great lead generator? Once you make the mental shift into believing in the power of the word of mouth of social media, nothing can stop you. But, what if you can't find people talking? How do you go about that? The easiest strategy I've found so far that continues to work wonderfully for me is simply..
Stream And Reply
You have to find a way to stream conversations about specific keywords in your industry, and reply to all of those conversations. On Twitter, for example, I'm replying all day to the search: iPhone near:"Philadelphia, pa" within:1000mi - And that streams an endless supply of people talking about iPhones. Do they necessarily need their phones repaired? No, and that's the trick. You can't always be trying to sell, you need to focus most of your time on building.
One conversation with someone about the flashlight option on their iPhone, gets me calls two weeks later from someone they told about my services. It's really simple. You're making people remember you by talking to them about something. You don't really have to do any marketing! It just sticks, and if you have something people want, the probability for lead generation is definitely there. But, there also is another element necessary in really gaining some momentum out there. Besides hustle, besides streaming and replying to as many people as you can, you have to..
Implement Some Creativity
Creativity is one of your most powerful weapons. It can help you to truly have the edge over your competitors, and to make a meaningful impact on the audience you're trying to reach. Here's an example. Very recently, I realized that there was a very ubiquitous hashtag being used by iPhone users, #teamiphone. It symbolizes a worldwide team of iPhone users. People who tweet with that hashtag are true iPhone users, willing to represent the awesome piece of technology, and the fact that they're all on a team. Team iPhone! How could I, an iPhone repair company, apply creativity to that situation? Many ways:
- I started responding to tweets with the word iPhone in them, using the #teamiphone hashtag at the end to let people know I'm a part of their team.
- I created a hashtag of my own, that signifies the fact that I repair iPhones FOR TEAM iPHONE! The hashtag is simply: #teamiphonerepair.
- I've created a video series to entertain and connect with the iPhone user base, that talks about broken iPhones we worked on, and the story behind how they broke! It's brand new, but is definitely turning some heads and building a ton of trust
Here's one of our latest:
The Most Important Identification
I don't claim to know everything about social media. I'm no expert. I'm just someone who understands people, what makes them comfortable, and how to influence their buying decisions through social platforms. I can tell you that the most important identification I've made thus far has been that without the hustle to engage at the minimum effective level, and the creativity to truly breakthrough and entertain while spreading awareness, you'll get lost in the sea of noise that is social media for business.
Hustle and creativity are the key words. You can't be tech savvy, and do well in social media. It's going to take an immersion in trying to make this work, a lot of passion, and putting in more hours than the next guy. That's how you win.
Guest Post: Ryan Critchett (@RyanCritchett) is a serial entrepreneur in progress, an avid meditator, a running junkie and the owner of RMCtech, (@RMCtech), a tech repair company specializing in iPhone repair, and iPhone App Development.