In my last post , I shared the concept of radiant marketing, a simple metaphor with the sun representing a business and the planets the customers. Your job as a business owner is to keep the sun burning bright and not fade into a black hole, with marketing being key to that effort. So where does social media marketing fall in this planetary metaphor?
As your planets draw closer to the sun (i.e., as the relationship between business and customer grows), they pass through the Asteroid Belt, which causes the planets to jettison their moons, making new planets. These new planets are your customers' family and friends, the prospects that you need to continue to expand. Social media allows you to more easily find new planets (prospects) to connect with and reel into your (the sun's) gravitational pull.
Using social media, you can connect with your customers. On Facebook, when a customer "Likes" your business, that information is shared with his connections. On Twitter, a customer may retweet something you post, sharing that information with his friends and followers. These actions can lead to new connections Liking and/or following your business.
Social media makes word-of-mouth marketing much easier and quicker. A person can tell a thousand of his friends how much he likes your business with a few strokes of the keyboard and a click of a mouse. Once those friends have entered your social media circle (like planets entering your solar system), your job is to grab them and reel them closer by continuing to provide useful information and giving them a reason to want to do business with you.
As the relationship grows, you want to steer those new customers to your mailing list, which allows you to push content to them via the inbox. Having their contact information beyond a social media connection is gold. That's because, as I mentioned in my last post, you don't own your social media connections. If Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other social media networks you participate in were to go away tomorrow, so too would all those connections you built. All the more reason to get your social media friends and followers to connect with you in multiple places and to sign up for your email list, which you do own.
Social media is a great tool for engaging and interacting with current customers and accelerating the process  of finding new customers. But, it's chaos out there so you need to think about social media from your customers' perspective. Where they hang out matters more than trying to be everywhere. You should be connecting with customers wherever they want to connect with you. Just make sure to get their contact information, continue to grow the relationship, and draw them closer to you, their sun.
In the third and final part of this radiant marketing discussion, I'll discuss comets--the next big thing that could disrupt your marketing efforts, and how to deal with them.