Are you giving advice or non-advice?

As marketers, we should always be guiding our audience toward how to get their job done more efficiently, at a lower cost, with better results. In other words, educate them to have a tangible benefit from our offering, knowledge and expertise.

With the continuing rise in popularity of social media marketing, there is no shortage of people who are putting forth lavish amounts of advice on how to succeed online. What has been surprising me for some time, though, is that much of this advice is in such general terms that it isn’t really advice.

A case in point: One of the crucial points in social media marketing is finding the right customers and where they hang out online. Yet, many, if not most, people who call themselves marketing “experts”, fail to go beyond stating the fact. Okay, I already know I should find the prospects and their water coolers, but HOW?

The more specific your targeted audience, the more complicated it becomes to find them. I’m not even talking about any obscure niches—the problem is evident immediately when you’re targeting B2B customers instead of consumers.

So here’s the challenge: What has worked for you? How did you find your potential customers online? What keywords or tools did you use? How did it work? Fire away in the comments. It will benefit a large number of others who are just discovering what online marketing could do for them (not to mention establishing yourself as an online marketing expert :).

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