Posts Tagged ‘Marketing Online’
Everyone’s searching for an easy way out. And Internet-based marketing campaigns are no exception. In fact, some of the draw of marketing your business online is that, at first, it seems easy, inexpensive, and relatively labor free. That, however, is not the case. Like anything else, it requires some effort, time, and attention to truly pay off. In other words, it ain’t a get rich quick scheme but it is a viable and valuable tool for any business hoping to capitalize on the popularity of social media.
Here’s a short list of simple do’s and don’ts to help you accelerate your online opportunities …
Do Adjust Your Attitude: If you’ve registered for a social-media page or two and are now lounging poolside waiting for the business to start rolling in, this is the easiest and quickest way to change your fortune. Stop expecting something for nothing and start using the resources available to you. Social media is a tool but it won’t work itself. And expecting it to is no better than buying a hammer and expecting it to build you a house.
Don’t Give Up Immediately: A social-media campaign won’t succeed in the first three days. Probably not even within the first month. It’s gonna take some time to build up some content, fans, followers, and strategies. Time, consistency, and communication are the keys to success. Keep at it and stay engaged.
Do Import Your Contacts: All of the major social-media sites make it as easy as possible to transfer your email contacts to your page. Now you may not want to invite your mother to join you on LinkedIn but you’ve got to start somewhere. And inviting the contacts and connections from your address book will provide you with a foundation to build on. Announce your new page and ask people to connect with you. It’s far more effective than waiting for them to stumble upon your site on their own.
Don’t Skip The Photo: It’s 2012 and, if you haven’t yet figured out how to upload a photo, ask someone. ‘Cause chances are you know someone that can help you achieve this relatively easy and ultimately important task. Having a Facebook or Twitter page without a photo or logo or something that makes it seem as though you care at all about your presentation is a surefire way to make it look like you can’t be bothered. This is your business and wherever it is represented online should look professional.
Do Think About Content: Sure, you can have a presence on LinkedIn without having any content to share. You can do the same on Facebook. But, in the end, content is what gets people on your page and returning in the future. It’s also a way to further brand your business and help potential customers familiarize themselves with what you do, who you are, and why they should choose you over your competition.
Don’t Worry About Numbers: It’s easy to get discouraged if you’re trying to compete with Oprah for followers and fans. You can’t win that game. You can, however, approach your social-media campaign as a vehicle for spreading your message locally. In other words, you don’t have to have 1,000,000 friends and connections online to build business. You should concentrate your efforts on linking with people in your region and industry. Having five followers on your Twitter page that are in your area and looking for your services is better than having five million in China. It takes quality online connections, not quantity.
Do Explore The Possibilities: Nobody can tell you the best way to market your business. It is, after all, your business. But spending some time exploring what your social-media page of choice can do may result in new and exciting ideas. There are an endless number of applications, tools, and resources available on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or any other social-media page you choose to use. Learn what they are and how to use them. Chances are, if there’s something you’d like to use your page for, there’s a tool to make that easier for you. Take some time and fool around. You may be surprised at the functionality available to you.
On the Internet, content is currency. Having a website, blog, or social-media profiles without content is like having a car without wheels. You’ve got the foundation but you don’t have the means to make it go. Successfully marketing your business online means you have to, not only be part of the conversation, you have to start some yourself. You have to stay active and continually engaged. The Internet values quantity over quality and, if you have both, you’re golden.
Here are some things to think about …
Types of Content: The mistake a lot of people make is feeling like their content has to always directly relate to their business. It doesn’t. Your content has to appeal to your target audience but doesn’t have to have a direct link to the services you provide. For example, if you were selling skin-care products to teenagers, you wouldn’t have to fill your Facebook fan page with posts only about teenage skin and ways to keep it healthy. You could use anything that might appeal to teenagers. Posting about issues and topics interesting to teens would be more effective than posting only about skin. After all, teenagers may want clear skin but they likely aren’t interested in reading article after article about it. Mix it up and keep it interesting.
Ways to Use It: Content is a general word. What does it mean exactly? Well, it means anything you share anywhere you share it. It can be blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates, or emails. It’s not about where, it’s about what. In other words, once you’ve created some content, think about the most appropriate ways to use it. Twitter, for example, has a very specific format. You can’t tweet a paragraph, so quick updates, links, and photos are perfect. But a blog post may also work well as an email blast. If you’ve got something to share on your blog and you’d like to share it with your email list, you’re going to boost the number of people who see it. And numbers, after all, mean more opportunities for business.
How To Think About It: Here’s the trick. Stop thinking of your Internet properties as having to compete against everything else on the Internet. If you’re in real-estate, you don’t have to worry about your real-estate blog competing with the top sources of industry news and information on the web. You’re never going to surpass the number of people looking at the top news sources and industry sites. You’re never going to become CNN. You’re goal isn’t to have the number one site on the web. You’re goal is to have the number one site among your clients and customers. If you’re sharing your content with the people you’re hoping to do business with, it doesn’t matter how many hits you receive. If you have one visitor to your blog and they end up your client, you’re an Internet success.
The lesson behind the story of the Three Little Pigs isn’t that the pig is a particularly industrious animal. It’s that the pig who used bricks rather than sticks to build his house survived by being the most intelligent pig. He outsmarted the wolf and saved his fat friends by having the smarts to choose a sturdy building material rather than one more easily blown down. In other words, sometimes outsmarting the competition and surviving means choosing the right tools and materials to build upon. And that’s how the story of the three little pigs relates to social-media marketing. You may not feel the need or understand the benefits yet of marketing your business online. But having an online presence means you’re building a sturdy foundation for your business and using all the tools available to you. In other words, you’re not a pig in a straw house hoping for the best.
Here are answers to three common excuses and misconceptions about social-media marketing …
The Internet Isn’t Going Anywhere: It may seem tempting to dismiss social-media marketing as hogwash. It’s a convenient excuse to seem smarter than everyone else by not buying into the newest thing. Unfortunately, the Internet is no longer a new thing nor does it appear to be on the way out. The choice here isn’t whether or not you’re going to use social media to market your business. The choice is between doing it now and doing it later. Small businesses using social-media sites and blogs have found them to be an effective way to boost brand loyalty, communication with customers and clients, and new business. Just because it doesn’t work overnight and without any effort from you doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
Don’t Think Of It As Facebook: It may seem silly to have a Facebook page or Twitter account for your business. So don’t think of it as social media. Think of it as a mini-website, a branch office, or satellite location. In other words, just because it’s a Facebook page doesn’t mean you have to use it to update your friends on where you’re hanging out on Friday night. Think of it as an extension of your website being hosted on the web’s most popular site. If your Twitter page is just an easily-updated extension of your online brand, then it’s a much easier concept to grasp. After all, making changes to your business website is difficult and not something you want to do a couple of times a day. But if you want to get a quick message out to your clients and customers, having a presence on any of the major social-networking sites means you can. You can never have too many avenues for communicating, keeping in touch, and generating word-of-mouth.
It Does Work, Just Not On Its Own: It’s also easy to say it doesn’t work. Or that you tried and nothing happened once you set up your page. It will take some time and effort but it will work. If you bought a phone and never used it, it wouldn’t be a broken phone. And you couldn’t return it due to a lack of calls. In other words, social media and online marketing is just another form of communication. Having an account on Facebook or Twitter won’t bring in business by itself but if you use your account to get in touch with past and potential clients, it will result in more familiarity with your business, new leads, and new business.