Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend SMASH Summit in San Francisco (our next Sidewalk Collective city!) and heard from marketers and platforms on “social media marketing strategies, tactics, tools, & campaigns used by successful online companies to acquire and retain customers on search, social, and mobile.”
While we heard from big brands all day, many of the lessons learned can be applied to small businesses. The underlying theme of the event encouraged brands to take an authentic, comprehensive approach to their online presence—something that we at Postling obviously believe in.
Keynote speaker Jeremiah Owyang warned us against “fondling the hammer,” or focusing on the tools. The tools “should be at the end of your strategy, not the start.” First, focus on your customers and their needs, then go from there. Use the tools you have to carry out your plan and realize that the value is not in the tool, but in how you use all of them together and in context. Your blog, Twitter stream, Facebook page, and Foursquare promotions all serve very different purposes, but when used correctly, come together to bring customers through your door.
We also heard from the top companies in social media: YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. While they provide free platforms for businesses to use, they also have paid tools and ad campaigns to bring your presence to the next level. For example, Bubba Mararka from Facebook explained how local businesses can use Facebook ads to target specific people and turn them into customers. Looking for people within 50 miles of NYC who like cupcakes? Your ad would have an estimated reach of 17,340 people! Facebook’s ad tools are simple, intuitive, and make it fun and easy to launch an ad campaign when you’re ready to do so. With the immense value that free services already provide, using paid tools isn’t necessary (lots of local retailers do very well without them), but it’s all worth at least a look.
Postling got same stage time, too! Our CEO, Dave Lifson, did a live Postling demo and unveiled some of the new features we’ve been hard at work on.
A million thanks to Dave McClure and Mint.com’s Stew Langille for curating and producing such a worthwhile event!
—Jen Rubio (@jennifer)