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Social Media – Not For All Niche Businesses

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Social Media and Niche Businesses

By Scott Spooner

Social Media. The promise as that all businesses coan take advantage and profit from a niche marketing strategy that includes social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the like. While this may be true in theory, the reality is that many smaller businesses – and especially those in niche markets – aren’t ready for a social media strategy, and would be wasting both time and money by pursuing one.

Strong words? Let me explain.

I have spoken with dozens of small business owners who want to establish a presence in social media. They see the vast number of people posting on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, and following each other on LinkedIn. With such an enorous prospect pool, why shouldn’t they jump in? Why indeed! In short, they have nothing to talk about.

Even now most business owners know little about social media. They may be aware that their children, or grandchildren, post, follow, or tweet, but they have little or no direct experience with either the platforms or the process. They focus on the “media” side of the term, and completely ignore the “social” side. So they find someone to create a Facebook page for them, start posting sales messages, then don’t understand why no one is stopping by that page and liking them. Worse yet, they don’t grasp why the Facebook page, or Twitter account, isn’t generating web traffic to their home page or foot traffic to their store.

The truth of the matter is that there is no reason for the traffic to flow.

Social media is about creating conversations and developing a community. It isn’t about, “hey, come over here and buy this”.  When I am called in to remedy the situation, one of the first questions I ask is about the source of the content that they are posting up. Invariably, it is always tied to the latest product or service promotion. And that’s where the online conversation stops.

To be successful with social media, a busienss owner needs to think in terms of community; i.e. what is the business doing in the local community? Tell me about the community events you sponsor, or the charities you support. Tell me about the last Chamber mixer you atteneded, or the local Little League team you cheer. Give me a reason to become interested in your company and then I will follow you. Sales will follow from there.

Can sales messages be added from time to time? Of course. Just remember that the bigger part of social media is the “social” side. You wouldn’t attend a cocktail party and spend all of your time meeting people to hand out business cards would you? So don’t do it on the social media sites. Let people get to know your business and the role it plays in your community. That’s your story. That’s your lead in. That’s how you get people to listen to you and follow you.

And that’s when the traffic starts to flow and sales start to increase.

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Brick and Mortar Social Media Marketing

[Today’s guest article takes a look at the role of location based marketing (LBM) services for the “brick and mortar” (i.e. physical) business, and how a business owner might be able to leverage these services to promote their business. Tell me what you think? Have you used any LBM services to promote your business? How did it work out for you? Leave a comment below.  ~Scott]


Brick & Mortar social media marketing is the next frontier in the marketing and advertising space and the next step in marketing for traditional small businesses that have previously used less effective methods of advertising such as print or television ads. Instead of relying on these outdated and expensive marketing strategies, using foursquare for business promotion is the next step for small entrepreneurs such as restaurants and retail locations.

What do I mean by Brick & Mortar social media marketing? I mean old school “mom and pop” businesses starting to use social media and more specifically location based marketing to promote their businesses. I think that the next step for social media marketing and location based marketing specifically is for more mainstream adoption by traditional brick and mortar or mom and pop type businesses.

Social media is currently the playing field for big national brands and tech startups – but a space largely ignored by smaller businesses. Smaller businesses in the restaurant and retail industry specifically will be the next people to start really getting involved more actively in social media marketing. As customers become more familiar with services like Foursquare.

These marketing strategies for small businesses offer a great return on investment and provide a much more effective marketing strategy than traditional small business marketing. Using software like Foursquare for business advertising offers a great way for these small businesses to take advantage of social media. Instead of spending several thousand dollars on an expensive print or TV ad campaign, a simple coupon or promotional marketing campaign using location based marketing can yield huge dividends for a small business for tens of dollars.

The key to this transition is location based marketing. Why is that? Because location marketing is a way for those businesses who may have previously had no interest in social media, twitter follows, or Facebook (as an aside – I think every small business that faces consumers should have a Facebook page) can now use location services to drive customers physically into their store and to track those visits with check-ins.

This is a very compelling value proposition for small restaurant and retail locations – one that I think smart business owners will be jumping on sooner rather than later. Businesses that take advantage of the benefits of location based marketing will have a leg up on their competitors by attracting new customers and keeping their advertising costs down. In this tough economy, these are huge advantages.

Matt Bodnar is a restaurant entrepreneur with a passion for social media. Visit to learn more about location based marketing and download a free how-to guide giving you tips and strategies for using location based marketing.

(C) Copyright – Matt Bodnar. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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Daily Social Media Marketing Re-cap

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Volvo creates global social media marketing role

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Marketing Week

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Daily Social Media Marketing Re-cap

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Globe and Mail

Social Networking Takes Center Stage at P&G

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New AddShoppers Social Sharing Platform Integrated with 3dcart

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According to their survey, Small businesses that combined email & social media marketing services experienced a 28% higher open rate than companies who didn’t. VerticalResponse also found that the Top 5 industries who employed this
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How To Add Value As a Social Media Marketer – One Easy Tip To Distinguish Yourself

Become a location based marketing expert

Image via Wikipedia

[Editor’s note: Location based marketing services continue to be red hot. With the continuing soft economy, it is more important than ever for all marketers and business owners to see themselves as niche marketers. This is never more true than when it comes to smaller, local businesses; businesses that rely on local foot traffic to stay in business. Instead of focusing on the services themselves, this week’s guest article focuses on how to distinguish yourself as an expert in providing location based services to your local marketplace. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. ~Scott]

By Matt Bodnar

The increasing popularity of social media marketing and the explosion of traditional marketers and so-called “experts” pouring into the field has made it tougher for top notch social media marketers to distinguish themselves and rise above the fray. How do you bring real value to your clients and get a leg up in the highly competitive social media space?

The number one thing you can do to add value for your customers and most importantly distinguish yourself is to find a specialty or niche that you can deliver expert content to your clients in. The mainstream platforms are already saturated and its tough to carve out a meaningful niche. Everyone these days is an expert on Twitter, Facebook, and the other major platforms – it’s tough to find clients these days that you can offer a unique specialty to.

One of the new frontiers in social media marketing is location based marketing. Location based marketing presents the single best opportunity right now for social media marketers to become an expert in a cutting edge new area. Services like Foursquare and Gowalla are on the verge of going mainstream and offer great value for businesses if used properly.

There are very few social media experts right now who know anything about location based marketing and there is a real opportunity for forward thinking social media marketers to become experts in this new field before it becomes saturated.

Becoming an early expert gives you huge advantages over those who pile in after the service is already hot – think about people like Gary Vaynerchuck who pioneered some of the now-mainstream social media marketing tactics and became a leader in the industry.

Those who put in the focus and time now before location based marketing explodes will be the ones who ride the waves, and the profits, to the top.

How do you learn more? Go out and start using these services to get more familiar with them. Get Foursquare on your phone and try it out.

To learn how to apply location based marketing to a business and the proven tactics and strategies, the options are limited right now since this is such a new field. However, the leading guide on the market right now is “How To Use Location Based Marketing to Grow Your Business.” You can get the first two chapters for free at the bottom of this page.

So what are you waiting for? Go out there and become an expert now before the industry takes off. Location based marketing has a huge future and those who get in on the ground floor have the largest rewards to reap.

Matt Bodnar is a restaurant entrepreneur with a passion for social media. Visit to learn more about location based marketing and download a free how-to guide giving you tips and strategies for using location based marketing.

(C) Copyright – Matt Bodnar. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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Social Media Strategies for the Off-Line Business – Part 1

Social Media Strategies for Off-Line Business

Image by ShashiBellamkonda via Flickr

[Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part article that focuses on the use of effective social media strategies for  increasing the number of sales leads for your business. Part 1 identifies the common mistakes that business owners make when using social media.]

As a Social Media Strategist, I spend more time than most setting-up and managing social media accounts; both for myself and for my clients. As more and more “brick and mortar” businesses have flocked to social media sites over the past couple of years,  I have seen an increasing discrepancy between the typical business owner’s use of social media and their understanding of how that media works.

Despite the almost constant barrage, offered up by gurus of all stripes, of the “latest and greatest, whiz-bang secrets” that promise to unleash the proverbial “flood of hungry customers to your web site via social media sites”, few, if any, of the promises come true, and the expected flood of sales leads coming from the typical social media marketing campaign usually turns out to be a mere trickle.

The problem isn’t the social media channels; it is true that there are untold millions of potential buyers out there. The problem lies in how the social media is being used – or misused – when trying to attract those potential buyers.

This is where the business owners are being misled, and where they make their fatal mistakes in the social media circles. These mistakes are almost always a result of a faulty, linear mindset. Business owners are used to viewing marketing activities as a linear, cause and effect relationship; i.e. place an ad, pull in some leads, distribute some flyers, see more walk-in traffic, that sort of thing.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, doesn’t operate in such a linear fashion. Rather, social media is more dynamic. Social media marketing is about developing relationships. It is about engaging the prospect, helping to solve problems, offering useful and timely information, and allowing the prospect to develop trust with the business and their products and services.

In short, social media is not about selling the prospect; it is not about taking the customary direct approach that so many business owners and marketing managers are used to in other forms of marketing.

Rather, to be effective, social media campaigns need to take an indirect approach. It is this indirect approach to marketing that is so misunderstood by, and so frustrating to, many business owners and, in my opinion, this is why many business owners eventually throw up their hands and claim that social media is a waste of time.

[Editor’s note: The second part of this article will focus on specific steps you can take to increase the overall effectiveness of your social media campaigns and, thereby, increase your sales leads.]


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Niche Marketing Techniques

LaShanda, the Web Tech Gurl, talks about niche marketing and how you can find your target market online. This short video focsues on business fundamentals, and offers good tips for any niche marketer.

To learn more, visit the following web site:

Duration : 0:9:27

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