When doing anything for the first time, it’s important to know where to begin. You wouldn’t, for example, start a race three feet from the finish line. And, if you did, you’d likely be disqualified. Online marketing is no different. Following some basic do’s and don’ts can be the difference between a successful social-media campaign and giving up before you even begin.
Here are some tips and hints for kick-starting your online efforts …
Your Blog: In a lot of ways, the blog gave rise to what we now know as “social media.” Without blogs, and the communities that arose around them, there may never have been a Facebook or LinkedIn. But now that you’ve got one, what do you do with it? First off, keep it updated, easy to read, clear, and informal. Make sure visitors can scan your content quickly by breaking your posts into shorter paragraphs. Use plain English and avoid jargon and industry lingo. Don’t fill your blog with PR or try too hard to sell your services. Make your content useful and informative. And don’t make it difficult for your readers to navigate your blog or, more importantly, figure out who you are and what you do.
Your Social Media Profiles: Social media can be a great tool for building your business and your brand. However, an empty Facebook fan page with four fans isn’t a great motivator to keep going. Start by adding some content to your pages and profiles. If you have a blog, import your posts to your social media pages. Giving visitors something more than a one-sentence status update, gives them reason to linger and return in the future. It’s also good to look for smaller, industry-specific social-media sites. Sure, Twitter is wildly popular but you may find a better audience for your online efforts in a smaller community. For example, if you’re a Realtor or mortgage pro, try setting up a page on real-estate focused social-media sites, such as Active Rain and Trulia. But don’t set up a profile, fill in half of your information, connect with your friends and family, then wait for the business to come rolling in. It won’t.
Your Email List: Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your contacts, clients, and customers. But, like the telephone, you have to follow etiquette. People are as annoyed by spam and sales pitches in their inbox as they are with telemarketers calling during the dinner hour. Don’t abuse your list. And don’t get long-winded. Be specific and to the point. Make it easy for the recipient to quickly figure out what you’ve sent. Sending announcements, blog posts, or special offers to your list is encouraged. Try a monthly or weekly newsletter, as a way of staying in touch with your contacts. But be careful, sending too many emails can be as harmful as sending too few. Like anything, striking a balance is important.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com