Beyond ‘Likes’: Growing Your Business with Social Media

Just because someone “Likes” your Facebook page doesn’t mean they’ll visit your business. Entrepreneurs need to engage these visitors, whether they encounter your business through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or your website. Please join me in a discussion of how to meet and measure success in digital communications at the Rotary Club of Sarasota Keys’ Business to Business Mixer.

The event will take place from noon to 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4. At Café L’Europe on St. Armands Circle. Admission is $5 per person. Lunch is included. There will be a cash bar.

Enjoy meeting fellow Sarasota business professionals and community leaders as the Rotary club continues a 50-year tradition of fostering good will and building lasting friendships. I’ll be making a short presentation on planning and measuring a social media program.

To RSVP or for more information contact Jack Geldi at jjgeldi@aol.com or (941) 586-2777.

Beyond Likes 3 Planning and Measuring Social Media title slide

The Wisdom of Clients

I’ve developed some of my best ideas about social marketing after talking with clients who think they don’t know much about the discipline. These self-described novices are not only modest; they’re plugged into their company in ways no agency can replicate. So when they talk, it pays to listen.

This week, while writing a social media strategy and guidelines for a financial services firm, I decided to listen to the real experts. With some additions of my own, this is what they recommend. When taking a leap into social marketing, consider these key areas as part of your organization’s social marketing strategy:

  1. Goals. Link social media strategy (as well as the overall marketing strategy) to the organization’s business goals. That move will provide alignment, consistent messaging and the opportunity to demonstrate ROI to senior management.
  2. Content. Use social media for expert-source positioning and customer engagement rather than product promotion.
  3. Distribution. Assign content to the appropriate network. Channel industry trends to Twitter and LinkedIn, community and social items to Facebook.
  4. Measurement. Apply the Pareto principle to measurement. Devote 80% of your resources to content creation and curation, 20% to measurement and reporting.

Clients new to online networks are the first to admit they don’t have the resources or expertise to develop social media plans. All the more reason to use the same process of engagement with them that we use with their audiences.

crowdsourcing X

When uncertainty becomes taxing

Financial service firms do a good job of promoting their key messages—Vanguard and its mantra of reducing fees, T. Rowe Price and its call to maintain stock exposure throughout retirement. Other companies provide adequate boilerplate, such as American Funds’ drumbeat of steady investing in all environments. All sound strategy for the long-term investor, but not a lot of comfort in the short run.

When it comes to providing useful advice, there are a few standouts—Vanguard’s retiring Chief Investment Officer Gus Sauter (“Why stay in the stock market?”) and T. Rowe Price Chief Economist Alan Levenson (“Is the U.S. Approaching a Fiscal Cliff in 2013?”) come to mind. They balance corporate messaging with market realities. To that list I’d add Rande Spiegelman, a CPA who serves as vice president of financial planning at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.

Spiegelman has written a guide on how to play the impending fiscal cliff. He charts historic tax rates for income and dividends as well as figures that show what would happen should Congress allow Bush-era cuts to expire at the end of this year. It’s not only sound reporting but useful information. Case in point: some pundits urge investors to take gains and pay taxes now, while the long-term rate stands at 15 percent for high earners. Spiegelman suggests staying the course will yield a bigger net profit, charting a hypothetical investment at today’s rates as well as the higher rates politicians have floated.

Hats off to Schwab for trying to make sense out of uncertainty.