The following is Q&A with Ken Mueller. Muller is the proprietor of Inkling Media, with 30 years of experience in the media industry.
What things are most troubling for business owners who market their business using social media and how does your business help to solve these challenges?
First – and most important – is the mindset. To many business owners, social media marketing is just another advertising option. They don’t approach it with the right mindset. They approach from a one-way mindset, rather than the two-way mindset that is the basis of social media.
The second is the factor of time. The mindset is that it’s, “just one more thing to do.” Business owners need to re-set their thinking about how they approach their time. Many will say, “I have a full day.” My response would be, “Could you replace something in that day with social media?” Social Media might actually be a better use of your time, and perhaps your money. It might even save you time and money. For example, if part of their marketing mix includes paying for an ad in the yellow pages, I have to wonder what their ROI was. I do believe some of this depends on the demographic of the business owner – younger vs. older – but the same concept prevails.
The third factor is making sure social media marketing is done right and that it’s maintained. Traditional marketing has a start date and an end date. Social has no end date. It’s a living, breathing, never-ending thing – once you’ve made the commitment to do it, you must take the time to maintain it.
When I consult with a client, there’s often a moment when something clicks. They get it. I emphasize that their level of involvement is customized…. they get out of it what they put into it.
It’s said that if a business isn’t currently using social media to market, they are already “behind.” In your opinion, how much truth is there to this statement?
I would agree, but it depends on the business category. For those who are not using social media, they may find that their competitors are not using it either, so they still have the ability to be the first one in their industry to burst in with social media. So my response would be: yes, they are behind, but it won’t take long to catch up.
Some businesses may be posting, but not posting well. If I go to a fan page and see that the most recent post is from June 30, that’s like going to the grocery store and having cobwebs on the shelves. In some cases, it’s better not to do it, than to do it and not do it well.
What are some ways that business owners can stay abreast of all the technological challenges, especially on a medium like Facebook?
Be there. If you‘re using these things, you’ll be more aware. There are a few blogs you should be reading on a regular basis, as well. In the same way that a doctor should be reading the information from the American Medical Association, those who are using Social Media need to stay on top of what is happening, and that's a big part of my job for my clients.
There are plenty of resources online to help stay informed on social media. Social Times and Mashable are two resources that are helpful. Find three or four good Social Media blogs that cover the platforms you're using, whether it's Facebook, Twitter, or blogging.
Stay tuned for the second part of this interview, which will publish on Thursday! Ken will answer questions about the love/hate relationship with Twitter, the “rules” of social media and what he believes is the future of social media.
About Ken Muller
Ken is an Inbound Marketing Certified Professional, after graduating from Inbound Marketing University with honors. He is also a certified Inbound Marketing Educator. He has worked extensively in the radio industry as well as social media. Mueller has a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting as well as graduate work in Mass Communication. He and his family live in the city of Lancaster, where he can often be found working from his porch.
Additionally, Mueller has worked as the Marketing Coordinator in Central PA for Philly based radio station WXPN. He also spent several years as the Director of Media Resources for the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, and spent 13 years as the Radio Curator for the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media). He also spent a number of years on-air at various radio stations, and was an Instructor in the College of Communications at Penn State University. Ken is also an Adjunct Instructor of Marketing at Messiah College. He is also an adjunct at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, teaching continuing education classes in social media and inbound marketing.