Image of Michael Stelzner fromSocial Media Examiner
How can you achieve success in social media marketing? Can your company achieve phenomenal growth without spending on advertising?
Subtitled How To Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, the book provides useful and practical tips to guide you in creating your social media and content marketing strategy and tactics while partnering both internal and external influencers.
Host of the popular Social Media Marketing podcast (I’m a fan and regular listener), Stelzner’s book is a treasure trove of social media tricks and tips.
Using the analogy of a rocket launching itself into space, Stelzner proposes a marketing formula called the Elevation Principle which goes like this:
GC + OP – MM = G
Read as: “Great Content” plus “Other People” minus “Marketing Messages” equals “Growth”, the Elevation Principle can be defined as “the process of meeting the core desires of prospects and customers by helping them solve their basic problems at no cost”.
At its heart, Launch is about producing great content (aka “primary fuel”) such as detailed how-to articles, expert interviews, case studies, and more to help other people solve their problems.
By producing helpful content that inspires, informs and engages, we’re able to “demonstrate expertise by the content (we) produce, the ideas (we) showcase, the stories (we) share, and the people (we) attract”. This in turn reduces the need to advertise to attract people to your business.
Before embarking on your marketing mission, Stelzner advised that you should be clear with your vision, develop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals, and set your business course trajectory.
You should also look for role models to emulate. This could be achieved by asking peers and industry experts, studying how big brands do it, or seeking insights from your community of followers.
To augment your knowledge, you should set up “idea vaults” and create a discovery system that allows you to find influential people and experts, discern industry trends, and locate interesting content.
Sources include Google Alerts, bookmark services like Delicious.com, Twitter Search, conferences, Amazon’s Hot New Releases list, and more.
There are three groups of people whom you should work with to launch your business online.
Develop personas and profiles for your ideal reader base. Ask yourself the following questions:
Probing more deeply, you should also identify the problems that they face, their familiarity with your topics, as well as their desires, needs and wants. This would apply to both their roles as consumers and as clients of your business.
These are the folks with the experience, training and knowledge to take things up a notch.
They can help to expand your network through mutually beneficial arrangements, add credibility, attract other experts and help your business to stand out.
To provide value to these experts, offer to expose them to your crowd, promote their projects, and make it easy for them.
The “superheroes” of your industry, fire starters are experts with direct access to a highly engaged reader base. Their profiles would closely match the customer base which you are trying to acquire.
Often, these experts have incredible influence. However, they need to be provided with unique opportunities to be part of something big.
True gifts engage people and build relationships. In the social media world, this means that your content should be genuinely helpful and not wrapped in sales or marketing messages.
Beyond free content that helps people solve their problems, you should publicly recognise the outstanding efforts of others, promote other people’s content, and provide social proof (eg Facebook Fans, Tweet numbers, Email subscribers, etc) to show how popular your content is.
A Call To Action (CTA) is a “suggested activity that guides people toward an outcome”. Often, the use of pop-up subscription boxes and integration of a CTA button in the navigation bar helps. In the book, these includes action-oriented phrases such as the following:
According to Stelzner, great content is highly relevant, educational, easy to digest, visually appealing, and conversation inviting, while lacking a sales angle.
Ideally, you should put them all into an editorial calendar which includes two categories of content:
Part of your regular programming, primary fuel is equivalent to the “gifts” that you routinely provide to your followers and community. They can be developed by yourself, outside experts, or freelancers.
Such content includes “how-to” articles, expert interviews, reviews (books, videos, etc), case studies, news stories and contrarian stories (those with an opposing view to a main idea). They mays also be quotes or simple infographics.
Considered more “potent” with the potential the grab the attention of many people, such content is usually more difficult to produce. However, they could reap significant benefits if done well.
Examples include research and survey reports, e-Books, white papers, top 10 contests (eg favourite people, products, blogs or businesses), and micro events (eg webinars and other “live” events).
Finally, to monetise on all the followers and fans that you’ve built through producing great content – you are running a business after all – you should tactically weave your marketing in through the following approaches:
Through the Velocity Launch approach, you can market our products and services to our subscribers and reader base by “building anticipation and momentum that excites (our) reader base about (our) products or services while also moving them closer to a purchase decision”. This can be considered a type of Drip Marketing approach, commonly used in digital marketing efforts involving information rich products and services.
The key here is to infuse your content with subtle marketing messages while guiding readers towards your offerings. In the book, Stelzner provided a detailed case study involving his company’s Social Media Success Summit – its main cash cow.
Overall, I found Launch to be a highly readable and compelling guide to navigating the world of social media. Although the book was published in 2011, most of its principles still ring true in this day and age.
A firm believer in “giving to get” marketing, Stelzner is generous with sharing his experience and insights. In fact, you can still get lots of great content for free on Social Media Examiner!
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