I had the honor and pleasure of attending an ‘Online Inner Circle Live Event’ run by Doyle Buehler of Digital Delusion fame on Wednesday.
Doyle runs a monthly meetup for marketers and entrepreneurs. Local businesses can get their questions answered on digital marketing, with a panel of experts, share business challenges and of course get to meet and network with other businesses in Perth.
Turns out June was Social Media month! Which was interesting because
1. I’m the least social when it’s cold and June in Perth
2. It proves that social media never sleeps.
It proved to be a really informative event where Doyle took all questions related to this wondrous topic of making social media work, and then built out the answers for the expert panel and everyone to discuss.
Now, I don’t normally come to these chinwag events but Doyle from was running it so I felt compelled to get in my car and drive the 20 mins to the smart cafe/ ex-gallery outfit Repeat Offender to get a good coffee and talk real shop with Doyle and some committed business owners.
In the hour and half I was there Doyle was able to flesh out an essential blueprint for any local business wanting to succeed on line – essentially the 6 steps to becoming an online authority in any niche. Here’s those 6 steps:
One of the common laments of business is that there’s never enough time, and its true – small businesses have more to do today than ever before.
All of this is actually compounded when you attempt to take your business online. Instead of making your life easier it often makes it more hectic with the countless things you now have to learn and the bewildering array of options you have to navigate.
If you’re a solo-prenuer, you’re doomed. Seriously.
One of the attendees spoke about even though her core business was as a podiatrist in the last few months she had to teach herself Photoshop and Web design and posting blogs. Not to mention social media.
The nods across the room revealed this wasn’t uncommon.
So how does a business find the time to do all the things they need to do online as well as run their core business?
The answer is not in finding more time, the answer is being strategic with your time.
Having and implementing a clear cut strategic plan and process is key to effectively any small business.
There is never enough time to do everything but there’s just enough time to do the important things.
So its important to sit down with a pen and paper and map out a strategic process of which your online marketing plays ONE role.
Strategies may include
- Creating a sales funnel – the sequence of events that lead to gaining a customer
- Working on creating funded proposals
- Getting clear on how and where you will engage with your audience (and how often)
- How you intend to position yourself as an authority in your niche
2. Define Persona – Who is it?
One of the most important elements of any strategy is knowing who your customer is.
Imagine going to war and having no idea who you were fighting, where they were and how they behaved in the battlefield. You’d be mince meat.
While business isn’t war (for some) it definitely pays to know your persona to the T.
Often called your avatar Doyle talked about a 100 point checklist he uses with clients to get clear on their avatars.
3. Move To Your Eco-system
If there’s something worth repeating it would be this:
“Move people to your ecosystem. Move people to your ecosystem. Move people to your ecosystem.”
And when we say Eco-system that means moving people from the platform they are on (i.e Facebook, Google+, Youtube) to your website and ideally your mailing list.
While its generally safe to say that Facebook and Google etc aren’t going anywhere soon the fact of the matter is, they aren’t platforms your own. Michael Hyatt calls them ‘Outposts’ and they are, in a way, exactly that. The name of the game is to meet your audience in these outposts and lead them back to your main site.
This is a site you own. It’s your territory.
Now when you take them back to your place, we’re assuming you have some goods to show off.
A fancy website with a flashy slider won’t cut it anymore.
You’ve got to have:
- W.I.I.F.M – The customer will always be listening to their favourite FM radio station ‘Whats In It For Me’. To the extent you can provide value to them will be to the extent ‘you get in’.
Content isn’t king. Content is everything.
Furthermore it’s about producing contextual content.
Those are just big words for ‘content that is relevant and valuable’.
You can’t rehash stuff from 5 years ago (heck even 2 years ago). Your audience will sniff it out like last weeks leftovers.
Content needs to be up to date and it need to actually HELP your audience.
Content can take the form of
- a blog post
- a podcast
- ‘How To’s
- etc etc
Content should be up to date and you should be posting it on a regular basis. Though how much and how often will often depend on your niche market and how much they can stand.
But you’d be surprised, that theres sometime a disconnect between how often an audience says they want to hear form you (eg. once a month) and how often produces the best results (eg. every second day).
You have to keep testing, times, frequences and modalities.
And to further mix the pot, people on FB react to specific content quite differently than to say an audience on LinkedIn.
If your website is the heart of your business or brand then your channels are like the organs of your body.
Wait, thats a clumsy metaphor but it kind of describes how channels how link back to your website, your ‘ecosystem’. And your content is like blood. And your brain is your brain…
Heck, lets just stick with channels…
But lets just take a step back to content for a moment.
Valuable content is what you have to entice your audience to work with you or get your products. So once you create your content its important to start placing ‘content peices’ out on your channels.
Channels are simply where your audience hangs out.
There’s a heaps of them. But the main ones are:
- LinkedIn (LI)
Now the question is which channel should you be on, and how many?
The answer is simple – you should be where your customers are. And if you know how and where your customers hang out when they are online half your job is done.
When it comes down to how many, Doyle and I agreed that less is more. You probably need 3 social media channels MAX. Less is better but it simply depends on your audience and your niche.
But you already know your audience right?
Scheduling is about making time for the important things in your business, and only doing the important things, especially online.
So there’s a natural hierarchy here when it comes to creating authority in your niche.
- It starts with getting clear on your overall online strategy. Hint – Taking people back to your ecosystem
- Getting clear on who your persona or avatar is
- Once you’re clear on your persona you will know what they want and need. And you’ll give it to them in spades when you take them to your ecosystem, the online collateral that you own.
- You’ll deliver great content
- You’ll distribute your content to your chosen channels. You interact with your audience on those channels and give them reasons to go back to your ecosystem.
- You deliver content on a reliable consistent basis.
And there you have it. Thats a 6 step process to becoming an authority in your niche.
And this started out as meeting about social media!
Most people will be able to take this structure and run with it. But if you’re like me when I started online and you’re perhaps a bit bewildered then I recommend you contact me or contact Doyle Beuhler – the man’s the real deal when it comes to being an expert in his field.
So connect with either of us.
And if you’re in Perth, come to these ‘Inner Circle” events – they’re good value.