A Social Media Secret

| October 2, 2013 | Strategic Growth

View of a man reclining and using a laptopYou hate social media, right? For years all those experts have been telling you that you need to be using social media. “You’re a loser if you’re business isn’t on Facebook!” the pundits say. “You’re so behind the times if you’re not tweeting things out,” your marketing guy tells you. “You’re so unfair,” your kids complain.

And they’re all right. You’ve tried Facebook and got nothing. You’ve tweeted and tweeted and have little to show for it, other than being completely up to speed on what Kim Kardashian had for dinner last night. And, yes, you ARE unfair…there’s no WAY you’re letting daughter out of the house wearing that thing, now put something more appropriate on for God’s sake!

But there’s a new, social media secret that’s been growing in popularity. It’s a service that actually, unbelievable, incredibly, has real benefit for your business. And I don’t care what business you’re in. I don’t care if you sell pipes, gaskets or insulation materials. Social media can have a role in your business. What service is this? It’s called Google Hangouts + On Air. You should be using it.

Why? Because Google Hangouts + On Air is your own TV station.

You can broadcast anything you want. You can invite people to your broadcasts. Or, the general public can come too. Not only that, but when you’re finished with your broadcast, you can save it on your YouTube channel. What does this cost, you ask? It’s free! And you like free, don’t you?

OK, you’ve reached the point where you’ve learned that nothing in life is completely free. There used to be time where people paid for YOUR dinner…now you’re the one buying. There used to be a time when you could watch The Tonight Show for nothing. Now you have to buy a cable package. Even water has a price tag. So of course, don’t expect Google Hangouts + On Air to be free either. Sure, the service is free. But you’ll need someone to help you. You’ll need someone technical in your company. Or you may have to hire an outside consultant or a smart college kid. Like any social media platform, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

So what should you put into it? Why, your most excellent content, please.

Sell pipes? Fine, let’s see a weekly 30 minute session on how you make your pipes. Or how your customers are using them. Distribute gaskets? No problem. Why not highlight a different customer every week; interview them, show how they’re profiting from your gaskets. Make insulation materials? Okay, now that’s REALLY boring, I admit, but how about a weekly show on safety? Or an interview with key members of your company that can teach your community how they provide customer service, ship items expeditiously or fix a broken piece of equipment.

The key to success with Google Hangouts + On Air is to keep doing it consistently. Commit to a weekly show. Keep it under 30 minutes. Build content. Invest in quality equipment. Get your employees involved. Turn them into stars! And you know what will happen? You’ll start building an audience, slowly but surely. Look, people actually sit and watch Honey Boo Boo, I’m sure there’s a few lost souls out there who will actually find what you do interesting too, right?

Don’t be worried about the numbers. It’s fun. And there’s a conversation. Your customers and prospects can come or not. But you can talk about your weekly show with them. You can save it on YouTube and they’ll watch it whenever. You won’t become the next YouTube sensation (that is unless you’re from Russia and like to also jump off tall buildings). But you’ll create a community of devoted fans in your industry. You’ll be educating. You’ll be enlightening. And you’ll also be learning.

So give it a shot – try out Google + Hangouts On Air. And stick with it. In my opinion, it’s the best social media platform for any business in any industry, no matter how boring you are. Yes, I’m talking about you, insulation-materials-guy.

Gene Marks is a columnist, author, and small business owner. He writes daily for The New York Times and weekly for Forbes, The Huffington Post, Inc Magazine, FOX Business, and Philadelphia Magazine.  His columns are read by thousands of small and medium sized business owners around the country. Gene has also written five books on business management, specifically geared towards small and medium sized companies. Nationally, Gene frequently appears on, FOX News, Fox Business, Bloomberg, and CNBC discussing matters affecting the business community. Gene owns and operates the Marks Group PC, a highly successful ten-person firm that provides technology and consulting services to small and medium sized businesses. You can find Gene online at GeneMarks.com

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