The Social Media Professionals Series is an informational and educational collection of reports on the sub-specialties of the Social Media vocation. Each weekly article is dedicated to a different aspect of the occupation, and features an associated thought-leader.
Concentration – Strategizing
Professional – Patricia Nixon
Social Media campaigns can be difficult for businesses without the associated infrastructure in place for an in-house operation. In today’s world, many enterprises find it easier to outsource this important aspect of branding and marketing. This has given rise to a new type of commerce, that of the strategist. These industry new comers have appeared in the last several years to fill the gap for companies that find it a better investment to subcontract their Social Media crusades than to find and hire the necessary personnel, or to attempt to train associates already in place. Doing so is often a boon to the businesses ROI.
This week, Patricia Nixon, CEO of Nixon Virtual Strategies, talks about outsourced Social Media design.
GSM – How do you best define your practice in Social Media? What specifically do you do that is different, unique, and special in this wide ranging field?
Patricia – I target small and midsize businesses in my local area and promote their businesses mainly via Facebook, but also through Yelp, UrbanSpoon (if it’s a dining establishment), and Twitter. I’ve found that many businesses jumped on the social media bandwagon early but didn’t know exactly how to use it and then found themselves with abandoned profiles and dated information across the web. So I take those profiles, update them, and then I scour the web regularly and use the positive (or negative) feedback we find to build their brand. Many businesses think that by ignoring negative feedback it doesn’t matter. Ignoring it can actually work negatively for a business and its brand.
While I began marketing social media strategies to local businesses, it’s surprising to find that when locals like you, your message will spread. I now have a client in Oregon whom I’ve never met but liked my conversational style on LinkedIn and hired me as soon as I said I was starting a business.
GSM – What do you consider the most currently pressing issue you are faced with in your everyday duties?
Patricia – As far as using social media for marketing purposes, it pains me to see great companies and even individuals who are missing the mark completely. They seem to think that social media is just a sounding board for promotion and selling. But it isn’t. Think about it. If you turn on your television and you see commercial after commercial, eventually you’re going to turn the channel, even if it’s something you like. The trick is to continually find ways to engage the audience you’re targeting. Ask questions, stimulate dialogue, have a contest even. That’s when the people who like you start forwarding your message on to others and you grow your fan base.
GSM – What advice would you offer to others active in your field of interest or in Social Media generally?
Patricia – Aim for the slow and steady approach. Sure, it’s great to have thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, or one of the others at a rapid rate, but it’s not realistic. If you expect to have any success with social media for yourself or your clients, it has to be understood that acquiring those initial followers that turn into minions isn’t an overnight process. It really is work. So tweeting every now and then and posting on occasion is not going to reap any rewards. You have to be diligent.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to inject *you* into the mix. Yes, your businesses are great, your product is the best, but if you have a sense of humor, use it. If you are passionate about something, comment. An old boss and now good friend told me years ago that people don’t do business with businesses, they do business with people. Be the person others want to do business with.
GSM – Any other thoughts you’d wish to share?
Patricia – Stay current. A friend in PR mentioned this to me recently and it’s such an underused technique. We often run out of new ideas for blogs or articles and just opening up the news or reading a few articles online can get the juices flowing, especially if you flip some key phrases in your favor. For instance, Charlie Sheen is everywhere these days. What if your article was entitled, “Why Charlie Sheen Is Winning – And How You Can, Too”? How many people would click that article even if only to see your spin on it, be it about social media, getting an interview or whatever your subject matter may be?
Grannelle’s Social Media deeply appreciates Patricia for sharing her expertise on strategizing and participating in The Social Media Professionals Series.