It’s every business owner’s dream: marketing that does itself.
Because our experience of the internet is so social now, more than a few people out there are hoping that their product or service will suddenly be discovered–via Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or any of the other social networks–and their business will start raking in the dough.
I am here to shatter your dreams. There is 99.999999999% change this will not happen to you. So then, why do people even talk about buzz marketing? Is it only for Nike and Macintosh? How can small businesses harness the concepts behind buzz marketing to make it work for their products or services?
Buzz Marketing: A Five Step Program
In some cases, online success seems magical. Look at Justin Bieber, and other YouTube celebrities, whose videos were discovered by the right person at the right time.
But instead of relying on the alignment of the stars to make you rich and famous, here are five steps that you can take to help create a buzz around your business.
1. Set Up Social Profiles: Get yourself and your business listed on the most popular social networks. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon. Find out where your potential customers and network partners are listed, and make sure you have a presence there.
There’s an organization out there that will set up these profiles for you in bulk, if you’re interested in paying someone else to do a generic submission. Or, you can use the information on their site to find out which social sites exist, and which might be most beneficial for you to be active on.
2. Connect With Your Community: I say this over and over again. Connect with the network that you already have. Your friends and family are going to be your biggest advocates right off the bat. Make sure you connect with them on social sites; they’ll be more willing to share your content right away than anyone else.
Buzz marketing relies on people caring–caring about you, your business, your product, and your success. And if your community knows that you’ll return the favor, they’re even more likely to help create buzz around your business.
3. Research what goes viral: There is a reason that your competitor has so much buzz. Find out why. Do your research. In your field and industry, what type of information is popular on social networks and discovery engines? Check out the front page of Digg, the most popular topics on Reddit, and see what gets reposted most often on Tumblr.
While you don’t want to replicate what your competitor does, you do want to find a way to contribute to a popular trope. For example, funny pie charts are really popular right now. Can you make one that applies to your industry that people would find interesting, funny, or otherwise engaging? The same goes for infographics.
3. Become a curator and aggregator in your industry: We don’t need to be deathly afraid of competition. Join forums and discussion groups within your industry and please feel free to share other interesting information. If something deserves buzz, then by all means, give it buzz!
While we often think of Google and Bing as having an irreconcilable rivalry, the search engines do work together to make the Internet a better experience for everyone. Our goal should be to make our industry and products as good as they can be, to benefit the most people. Which leads me to my last, and most important point…
4. Create a product people care about! Do you love what you do? Do you sincerely believe in your product or service? Then make sure it doesn’t suck! Put your time, energy, and care into your product and please allow yourself to be humble enough to listen to honest advice and feedback.
I know that running a small business means that you work a billion hours a week, and you barely have time to eat. I understand that completely. But are you in it to create something valuable?
If you look at the products, services, even the entertainers that have made it BIG through buzz, they are not without merit. Justin Bieber might be the bane of every mother-of-a-tween’s existence, but that boy can sing! Apple products are generally of high quality, great design, and optimized usability.
We are not Justin Biebers and we are not Macintosh, but as business owners and marketers we need to ask ourselves if we are creating a product and service of the best possible quality. If not, what can we do to improve it? If so, then that’s great! Get to work on the other four steps and if you’re creating something that truly is valuable, then it will market itself.
If you have more questions about our social marketing services, please contact us today! We provide social media management services and/or social media consultation to help you develop the perfect plan for your social media campaign.