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Unleash Your Inner Guerrilla Marketer

July 9, 2010

Jay Conrad Levinson coined the term "guerrilla marketing" in the 1980s, defining it as an approach for "achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money."

With four words--energy instead of money--Levinson won the hearts and influenced the marketing plans of entrepreneurs everywhere. His concept fueled the sale of 14 million books, leveling the playing field between marketing-budget haves and have-nots and inspiring a long-standing preference among small-business leaders for innovative, low-cost, high-energy communications over textbook, big-dollar tactics.

Viewing Social Media as a Guerrilla Marketing Tool
Yet small businesses, the original guerrilla marketing advocates, have been hesitant about investing effort--which is about all that's required--in the fastest-growing, most innovative and unconventional communication channel of the day.

"If a business can devote just an hour every other day it can achieve social media presence that nurtures leads and keeps people engaged," says Peter Wylie, lead researcher for the Emerging Media Research Council of Three Ships Media. "But small businesses have a wait-and-see attitude because they don't understand what's involved and they overestimate the commitment of time required."

Social Media Deliver Online Presence and Customer Interaction
"University of Maryland research shows that only a quarter of small businesses have social media presence," Wylie says, "and many don't have websites at all. Yet U.S. adults spend increasingly more time online, with social media their No. 1 activity behind search."

For the many companies that don't have a site, social media offer a bargain-basement deal for achieving both online presence and social media participation.

Wylie recommends that businesses begin with two easy, practically cost-free steps. "A business can achieve online presence with nothing more than a WordPress blog and a Facebook business page," he says. "The tools are so simple, so easy, and free."

Social Media Success Tips
"For businesses with a large customer base, Facebook is the initial place to be," Wylie says. "For consultative companies, a business blog written by real people in conversational language is a great vehicle. Either tool, or both combined, let businesses provide evergreen responses to customer questions while developing customer interest and interaction."

Wylie offers these tips:

Answer yes to those last three questions and you have a formula for turning social media into the newest guerrilla marketing tool in your marketing arsenal.

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