This past week I had a very interesting networking experience. I met with a young woman – the daughter of one of my networking buddies – who, in addition to her college school work, an internship, and keeping up with her many friends, has started a design business that encompasses branding and website design plus e-mail and social media marketing. My first reaction was awe. Awe of her focus and energy at the often turbulent age of 21.
I remember the energy…. At 21 I had plenty of that but not a whole lot of focus. The one tended to make up for the other.
Our conversation soon turned to how we market our respective businesses. Her target clients are below 40, are just starting businesses, and need to distinguish themselves. Mine are my age (50+), own successful businesses, and need to keep their edge.
The younger crowd is, of course, all about social media so the marketing challenge is twofold:
- On which social media channels are the target customers hanging out?
- Creating content for social media, even if you can re-purpose some of it, takes a lot of time.
I often have trouble figuring out how to meet my ideal client. He or she is busy running their B2B business and may belong to one or two industry associations, but primarily gains referrals from people in a specific industry segment adjacent to theirs.
Personally, I still rely heavily on networking, hoping that the wonderful folks I see on a weekly or monthly basis will think of me when one of their clients talks about how much website updates cost or how long they take to get done or how dated their website looks.
I have adopted social media too but my conversation with this young woman made me look at who I am really talking to on Facebook. I’m talking to my network. And though my elusive, ideal client has no time for social media, I’ve decided that it is still worthwhile to learn the etiquette of marketing on Instagram and checking in on Swarm because my over-50 networking colleagues are slowly but surely showing up there. And perhaps one day Mr. or Ms. Ideal Client will show up there too.