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Q&A: Expert Advice For Small Biz Startups

[ 0 ] Jul. 11, 2011 | SBO Editor
Robbin BlockRobbin Block: Owner, Blockbeta Marketing

Robbin Block has been evangelizing the benefits of marketing strategy for over 25 years to companies of all sizes and to thousands of readers via her book, Social Persuasion: Making Sense of Social Media for Small Business.

Expert Tips from Robbin: Beyond Social Media

Q: You’ve written that to understand your competition, one must first understand who you are as a small business. What questions should you ask as you plan a start-up?

A: Having a clear picture of your market, customers and competition is vital to a successful start-up. Here are the key questions you should be asking:

  • How does what you’re doing relate to your market?
    In other words, what need do you fill, what problem do you solve, or what pain do you relieve?
  • Who would buy products and services from you and why?
    Why should they come to you rather than someone else?
  • How much are they willing to pay and how often?
    Will that offset your costs enough to make your business viable?

Q: What’s the biggest misperception about social media’s role in marketing, and what should entrepreneurs really be doing as they map out a new small business?

A: Social media can’t solve all your marketing problems. For a business, it needs to be thought of like any other communications tool.
You need to understand the fundamentals of marketing – who’s your target audience, where do they get their information, what do they care about, etc. – to find the right media mix that makes sense for you.

Q: What are some critical considerations for incorporating social media into a business/marketing plan?

A: Social media is anything but “plug-and-play”, but rather requires careful consideration of your business and customer needs:

  • Understand where social media fits in the promotional mix.
  • Know in advance how the medium works. For example, young people use Facebook differently than their parents and grandparents.
  • Understand how social media affects other aspects of online marketing. For example, there’s a growing connection between search engines and social media.

Q: What are some keys to continually keeping your social media presence fresh and attractive to new customers?

A: Provide relevant and useful information presented in a creative, compelling, and emotional way. You want to create an impression that will get people to remember you, and maybe share it with others. The viral nature of social media is what really makes it so effective.

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Category: Features