In the vast infinity that is our universe the following conversation may have (regretfully) already happened or may yet occur at some undefined point in our future.
Disclaimer: The following is meant to make a point. The interviewee and business are make-believe (see: “Fiction”), as are the circumstances under which the following was conducted…
Francis Smithton is a small business owner in Muleshoe, Texas, a small, 5,000-person town in the northern handle of the state. He recently approached Grammar Chic because, well, his social media campaign was struggling at best. He may either be a private residential contractor, a cobbler, a hedge fund manager, or you. Let’s hope he’s not.
He approached GC on the eve of his one-year “Open for Business” anniversary. Mr. Smithton was struggling; he had clients and walk-ins, that’s for sure, but local business wasn’t the only avenue for Smithton & Sons’ success. He wanted to reach out to nearby cities, develop some ecommerce, and build up a recognizable brand. Francis, desperate and out of options, gave us a call.
The conversation over the phone was like many others. He explained how he had his son Frank Jr. set up a Facebook account, had a neighbor girl with mad laptop skills make a website (that cost him dozens of dollars), and kept a stack of windshield flyers in a drawer. But no matter what he did, Smithton & Sons wasn’t generating any leads from his efforts…
*The following took place on December 9, 2013, just before 4:00 p.m. EST.
Francis Smithton: “So I’ve got it all set up, right? I don’t even know why I’m calling you.”
Grammar Chic Rep: “I’m looking at your Facebook profile right now, Mr. Smithton. I’ve got to say, I’m surprised you have so many followers with so few posts.”
FS: “Haha, yep. All trusted family clients and friends, that’s for sure. (pause) Don’t really know what to do with it, to be honest. Seems like there’s not much to say about my business except that we’re the best.”
GC: “Are you?”
FS: “Darn right. One of a kind in Muleshoe. Still, been trying to reach out to some new clients across the county, and not one has gotten back to us.”
GC: “How so?”
GC: “How are you currently marketing your business? What are you telling your potential clients?”
FS: “Well, everything there is to know about us. We do a lot at Smithton & Sons — too much for those tweet things to say, that’s for sure. Turns out no one likes us there, either, Junior says. He’s at practice, but I don’t think he knows the first thing about the family business. He’ll grow into it, I suppose.”
GC: “Have you considered beefing up your website and social presence?”
(At this point, the representative with Grammar Chic is scouring the Internet for Smithton & Sons’ website. After a tumultuous search, the rep finds it. There is a nasty jpeg image of a cowboy, an address, and nothing at all that explains what the business is. The representative mutes speakers to avoid the site’s soundtrack. There is a pop-up.)
FS: “How so?”
GC: “Well, for starters you could write up what your business does, what it has done in the past, who you are, the services you offer, etcetera. You can do the same on blogs that you share through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms.”
FS: “Like a school paper?”
GC: “Not exactly. More like a rundown on who you are and why you’re actually the best at what you do. Once that’s set in place, we can start writing high-quality blogs that tie Smithton & Sons into its…multi-faceted industry. That way, more clients will be able to figure out what you do as a company by visiting your website and profiles.”
FS: “So…lots of papers?”
GC: “More like little assignments, Mr. Smithton. We’ll help you create small puzzle pieces that add up to a big picture. On Facebook, for instance, you could publish a post describing a new product you’re trying to put out there. Next, you’ll want website-based materials to support your campaign and share them through Twitter and other platforms. It’s reciprocal, Mr. Smithton.”
(At this point, Mr. Smithton is confused, overwhelmed, and dreading writing anything. Fortunately he doesn’t have to, nor does Texas’ up-and-coming small business owner have to handle any of his social media, blogs, and content.)
GC: “You get me?”
The interview was only the first step in helping Mr. Smithton capture clients throughout his county. We started off by helping him fill up his site with legible, informative content that explains to visitors why Smithton & Sons exists. Next, we ironed out his social media accounts and bolstered his brand through tractional posts that pulled in likes, follows, and shares. Soon enough, every satisfied client was following away for discount deals and because they were interested in Smithton & Sons’ overall growth as a business.
Since then, we’ve been in contact with Mr. Smithton and have developed a professional publishing schedule to keep his social mediazation on track. These are mostly blogs that he comes up with, ideas he has that are interesting and related to his industry. We convert his prompts into entertaining, thoughtful, informative, and sharable blogs/posts/tweets.
This didn’t happen, though thousands of small businesses need a pick-me-up when it comes to social media marketing. Why? Because most new business owners are using Facebook and Twitter like they do from a personal perspective. The goal is to create a mix of entertaining and company-endorsed content that keeps interest levels high (i.e. avoids newsfeed shunning) and explains what a business can do for its clients.
Will we get some obscure shoe-making, pseudo-investment professional contractor client from Muleshoe, Texas? Maybe. Until we do, we’d like to share the number one truth we’ve learned about online marketing: Everyone can do more.