The author of the best-selling series Guerrilla Marketing, Jay Conrad Levinson, teamed up with Shane Gibson, a keynote speaker on the subject of social media and sales performance, for a book on guerrilla marketing using social media. Guerrilla Social Media Marketing offers step-by-step plans and marketing ideas, telling us how to influence people, win customers and make profits online. Edited excerpts from an email interview with Gibson:
How technologically educated must you be to build your brand via social media?
Guerrilla Social Media Marketing: By Jay Conrad Levinson and Shane Gibson, Tata McGraw-Hill, 250 pages, Rs 375.
The great thing about social media is that you don’t have to be a technical wizard to succeed or use the tools well. People are used to sites such as Google, whose robots crawl sites and rank them; you can trick Google into giving your site preference in the rankings, but you can’t trick people for very long—sincerity and true engagement are needed to succeed on the social Web.
You don’t need to understand technology; you need to understand people, not just your overall market, but the nano markets and the individuals within those groups as well. If you are successful, respected by many in your community, and have built a large network offline, you already possess the principles to succeed.
Could you give us a five-point plan on how to market yourself using social media?
Jay Levinson and I adapted his 7 Sentence Guerrilla Marketing Plan to social media and it’s a great way to map out your plan on one page. Keeping your plan down to seven sentences can help you stay focused:
1) The first sentence tells the purpose of your marketing: Describe very specifically what your guerrilla social media marketing plan is going to achieve. The S.M.A.R.T acronym for setting goals has been used for decades and it’s still one of the best formulas you can use. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
2) The second sentence states the competitive advantage you have and the pains you can solve for your target audience: How are you going to uniquely solve their problems or help them reach their goals? This will determine the type of unique compelling content and conversations you will create.
3) The third sentence tells about your target audience. In order to succeed, you need to focus your content and conversations.
4) The fourth sentence lists the guerrilla social media marketing weapons you will be using: When you first launch your guerrilla social media marketing attack, your weapons should only take one sentence to list. Important: Your weapons must include a blog.
5) The fifth sentence tells your positioning in the marketplace and the nano markets that you are focused on: Within your target market are nano markets, which you will focus on to develop a high level of intimacy and engagement.
6) The sixth sentence tells your identity, a very vital sentence in a now transparent online world: Your authentic identity is what will establish trust and credibility with your audience. Trust is the No. 1 commodity in guerrilla social media marketing.
7) The seventh sentence states your marketing budget as a percentage of online profits and includes a projected time investment, because time is life: What is your time worth? Most of your social media investment will be time.
How do you get people within your profession to listen to what you’re saying?
Become their fan first. If I want to connect with another banker, I may comment on their LinkedIn updates, promote events they are sponsoring and engage them in conversation, finding out how I can help them. I have found something as simple as visiting another person’s blog and making a valuable comment can entice them to visit my blog or connect with me on Twitter. Another strategy is to interview other people in your industry.
Are there any dos and don’ts while you’re on social media?
Don’t do anything on social media that you wouldn’t want to have on the front page of a newspaper. Do have conversations with people about life, hobbies and any other common interests and passions. The most effective social media marketeers create great content and have relevant conversations 90% of the time and post marketing messages 10% of the time. Social media is a conversation. If you can establish rapport and identify commonalities with people, it’s easy to do business and gain credibility.
What are your five favourite tools, or weapons as you call them, for effectively marketing yourself on the Internet?
1) You need a self-hosted (yourdomain.com) Wordpress blog. It will be your guerrilla social media headquarters.
2) Twitter: It allows you to reach out and stay in tune with the pulse of the planet. It has dozens of effective applications, depending on your industry and goals. Most importantly, it’s a tool you can use to have conversations with your communities. Advanced Twitter search is one of the best guerrilla intelligence tools out there.
3) Facebook: 600 million people are on Facebook, many of them could be your partners or customers. It’s where engagement happens and you need to be a part of it.
4) LinkedIn: Every Fortune 500 company is represented on LinkedIn. It has over 90 million members and has the highest concentration of influential business and community leaders of any social network. It’s where trusted individuals connect with other trusted individuals.
5) Social media monitoring and analytics tools are the last I would include, but they are paramount to your success. Tools like Google Analytics, Backtweets, Postrank and Socialmention are key guerrilla intelligence tools that anyone in social media needs to use if they want to be fully effective.