Expert Tips: Beyond Social Media

Robbin Block discusses some of social media's many implications on the crafting and execution of winning small business marketing plans.

Social MediaExpert Tips: Beyond Social Media

with Robbin Block: Owner, Blockbeta Marketing

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?

Social media can’t solve all your marketing problems. For a business, it needs to be thought of like any other communication 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.

What is the most underutilized non-social media marketing method today?

By far, it’s public relations. Many people are afraid of it, or don’t know what it is. Instead they’ll spend money on poorly placed ads that will almost always fail.

What are two or three go-to resources for finding data about your market?

  • The U.S. Census. A lot of valuable information from the latest census is now being released.
  • Industry associations.
  • Industry trade publications and consumer magazines. Their media kits have great information about their readers’ demographics and interests.

And many more resources are available at my website,

Coupons are gaining popularity as a means for luring potential customers. If this option appears right for a small business, what is needed to help turn coupon users into regular customers?

Understand what attracted them in the first place. People who just want a deal are tough to convert. But many customers use coupons to “sample the goods.” To get them to come back and pay full price, use strategic messaging at each touchpoint to help push them down the purchase path. This messaging can be done verbally, through printed materials, online, and even reinforced with “gifts”.

Can you provide an example of how this works?

A Pilates studio I work with has used social coupons to bring in new customers, offering a 7-week program at a discounted rate. Each week, the studio reinforces the benefits of membership and the results the customer would get if they continue taking their classes. Communications include a comprehensive orientation, an introductory gift of a branded water bottle, follow-on emails, etc. It’s a planned program designed to positively reinforce the customer experience. This in combination with excellent service may be enough to convince the customer to continue at full price.
Expert Tips: Beyond Social Media with Robbin Block: Owner, Blockbeta Marketing
Robbin Block Seattle, WA

Why should entrepreneurs work with a SCORE small business mentor to develop and monitor their marketing plans?

Marketing needs to be flexible, because the environment within which a business operates is always changing. And the business itself is evolving as new opportunities or threats come to light. A SCORE mentor can help filter the information and focus the entrepreneur on what’s important.

About the Author

Robbin Block has been evangelizing the benefits of marketing strategy for over 25 years. Part geek, part creative, she’s brought her in-depth knowledge of the Web and its strategic application to business to companies of all sizes and to thousands of readers via her book, Social Persuasion: Making Sense of Social Media for Small Business. This month, Robbin discusses some of social media’s many implications on the crafting and execution of winning small business marketing plans.