Interviewer’s Note: I’ve been interested in marketing strategy lately, so I wanted to talk to somebody with expertise in the field. Lo and behold, I met Theresa Delgado of SmartMarketingSmallBusiness.com, and arranged for an interview. Enjoy!
Hello Theresa! What does your business do?
I run SmartMarketingSmallBusiness.com, which is a company focused on helping small business owners and entrepreneurs learn marketing strategies that can produce quick results to grow their business. Marketing strategies that can result in better leads and more clients don’t have to take a lot of time to initiate and small business don’t have the work force of large companies to roll them out. There are many strategies any business model can initiate that will help them engage their market and grow their business.
How did you get involved in your industry?
My 20+-year background is in sales and marketing and I have also been a corporate trainer, both in the pharmaceutical industry. The transition to helping owners grow their business was fairly seamless with my sales background. As a pharmaceutical representative your territory is essentially your “company”. You have a company message to deliver; however, it’s up to you to uncover the needs of your customers, communicate the benefits of your product, and move the relationship forward. The Internet is a great avenue for small businesses to accomplish the same steps. It actually can put them on the same playing field as larger companies, if they market themselves properly.
What made you decide to start using social media as a professional tool?
Social media for business started to interest me because of the ability to reach so many people in a very targeted way. Traditional marketing is done by mail, telephone, etc, which takes a lot of time and money. In addition, you are marketing your service or product to everyone in that zip code, telephone list, etc. A huge majority of those people won’t be interested in your information and all that time and money are wasted. If you properly title, categorize, and tag your information, you will reach exactly those customers who are looking for your product or service. In addition, the information (content) you publish is “out there” working for you all day, every day. That’s a marketing tool every business should have working for it.
What role does Twitter play in your business? Do you foresee it changing in the near future?
Twitter is a great platform for businesses to engage their market. People will often click on a Twitter link to read a full article (blog post) where they’ll ignore the very same links sent in emails. Also, Twitter is perfect for staying in touch/sight; sending reminders; providing a quick personal connection; driving traffic to full articles and blog posts; and sharing resource links. Twitter is one of the main social media platforms and to keep their product “fresh” and useful they will probably be adding some features. I really like the 140 characters max, it forces you to communicate your benefit succinctly.
Me too! I like it when people have to choose their words with care, and not just drone on. Do you have any guidelines for crafting succinct messages?
As a business owner, you need to think about the “true benefit” of the message you’re sending to get your customer to engage.
What impact or change to your business have you seen due to Twitter/social marketing?
Twitter lets you establish a presence and become known to peers, industry celebrities and potential customers. I attribute the visibility boost to my personal and business brand to three Twitter features:
1. The Hash Tag: Marketing your service by offering information and using a hash tag (#) with keywords that people use to search.
2. Participating in Chats: An effective way to meet others in your market (or complementary market) and it’s a great way to market yourself by providing helpful information.
3. Follow Friday: Promoting others who provide valuable information results in great visibility for you, too. Branding is a process and working on your personal and company image little by little adds up over time.
You have almost 3,000 followers on Twitter- how did you build your following? What kinds of people/businesses are they?
Building your brand on any platform is a process, assuming you’re not using any “trickery”. Building a solid following requires you to engage your market. Yes, pay attention to what’s going on and be helpful where you have opportunity. There is nothing glamorous or sexy about this method, but it actually works and you’ll find that your network is richer for it. Twitter, like other platforms, is great because you meet people from all over the world and in all kinds of industries. I have been fortunate to connect with people I have know of since I was in college, people in so many parts of the world to people 30 minutes away from me. It’s great when you think about the opportunities.
How do you choose who you will follow? What do you look for in a follower?
I now Follow everyone manually, I use to automate, but I’m looking for quality in my connections – not quantity. Because of this strategy I look at profiles, descriptions and links in the profile. If someone has a generic picture, no description, or business link, I won’t follow that person. Every business owner has to establish their own criteria based on their marketing plan.
What strategies did you use for social marketing?
The most important part of social marketing is being “social”. If you are not ready to engage in real conversations, then maybe hold off for a bit. If you’re not too excited about engaging in the various social platforms, it’s OK. There are other strategies you can employ to boost your business. Sometimes it’s just a matter of learning a method that works for you or easing into it.
Regarding social media as a professional tool: What worked for you?
Social media is a great tool to market your brand, especially if you have a “home base” like a blog. Anybody can build a business, over time, using proven marketing strategies mixed with patience and persistence. This practice has worked time and time again, sometimes getting the right mix takes some trial and error, but it works.
What didn’t work for you?
I’m sticking my neck out by saying what has not work for me as a social media tool and that’s Facebook. I like platforms that are easy to figure out and Facebook is not user friendly. In addition, this platform seems to change a lot and many business owners don’t have time to stay up to date with the changes. Google Plus (Google+) has basically become my Facebook. Not to mention that Google owns this platform and from a business marketing stand point items on Google Plus will show better in the search rankings. Therefore, it’s developing as an excellent marketing tool.
What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can do?
Twitter is great because it’s understood that each post can only consist of 140 characters maximum, so no one expects a comprehensive summary. Your challenge is to make the best use of that space to share information. So, I would say that Twitter forces me to be concise while being informative.
What lessons have you learned about Twitter, social media, and online marketing?
Building an online business presence takes time. The recipe to build a lasting, successful business is really quite simple, you need to interact, inform, and inspire action. If you build your brand on these three ingredients, you be on your way to great accomplishments.
Follow Theresa on Twitter here.
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