Social Media: Cheap and Easy

We did a test for a radio show in August – Matrix Media and I. Here’s what happened:

The only advertising was giving guests a link to the show, and promotion using ping.fm. The idea was to avoid involving “my audience” too much because you have a known interest in social media. We wanted to see what the interest level of other audiences is. We found out.

By week 3 we hit 4,000 unique downloads, and week 4 hit 5,000.

As you can imagine, we quickly decided to run with the idea of a radio show on social media. You can check it out at SocialMediaCheapAndEasy.com.

It’s also pretty obvious that we need to make the show different from everyone else talking about social media. Well, we got off to a good start because everyone seems to call me “different.” (Still trying to figure out if I’m good different or cuckoo different…)

And my view of social media is a lot different, too.

There are lots of experts saying use Facebook, Twitter is ubiquitous, and YouTube is a power house. Their message is that these are wonderful tools. You should use them because they’ll help grow your business.

Well, forgive my bluntness, but that’s just a load of poop.

When Guy Kawasaki said Twitter is ubiquitous, I lost a lot of respect for him. They only have 160 million users. That’s a far cry from the 6 billion people on the planet. And I did a search for 5 businesses in Morris, Il. Each search used 2 keywords, and a 25 mile radius and a 50 mile radius. (That puts the search right into Chicago.)

The results were a big, fat ZERO.

Claire Cain Miller and Tanzina Vega wrote an article for the NY Times earlier this month that says Facebook and Google are “must buys” for online advertisers. Please. They would probably have written the same sort of tripe in 1997 about AT&T’s Yellow Pages.

By the way, you know how everyone is screaming that Yellow Pages advertising sucks and they’re going down in flames? Have a look at this:

Burke (a market research company) did some research. They found consumer use of PRINT yellow pages GREW by 12% in 2009. Check out the article on Marketwire.

Let’s face facts. The primary reason any form of advertising works for your business is because it’s done well. We’ve all heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out.” Well, bad advertising gets bad results.

And most of our advertising is being generated by the bums at newspapaers, radio stations and yellow pages who know as much about advertising as a 5th grader knows about quantum mechanics.

Can social media help grow your local business? Yes. Absolutely.

Is social media free? No. You must invest time, energy and thought into making it work for your business.

And although it may look like I’ve gotten off track from the opening of this article, this is where we join things together.

The reason we’ve launched SocialMediaCheapAndEasy.com is to give you a resource to make good use of social media. Listening is free, and you can download any episode without giving any information. Just hit the download button and take the file.

So far, we’ve spoken with Tom Wagner of the Florida Aquarium. They’re using Twitter with incredible effect. Mike McClure from The Yaffee Group visited and did a great interview on re-purposing content.

Dana Gardner (Interarbor Solutions) filled us in on how powerful video is. Kathryn Fink of Meetups Everywhere showed us how to give a voice to any cause or movement. And TA McCann showed how Gist.com gives you the skinny on anybody who sends you an e-mail.

Listen, social media is all about having a conversation with your audience.

So when you think about social media the first things that come to mind might always be Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Just remember that the conversation is supported by print advertising, direct mail, blogging, in-person events and lots of other media channels.

The reason for learning about social media is that’s where we are increasingly spending our time and getting out information. You need to know how to incorporate it with your existing marketing. And that’s why we launched SocialMediaCheapAndEasy.com.

And help me to make your business stronger. Give me a comment to say what questions you want answered, or which sites you want explained. Tell me what you need, and we’ll get it onto SocialMediaCheapAndEasy.com.

Thanks for reading.

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