Posts Tagged ‘Tips’
The Social Media world is a fast paced and ever-changing environment. In order to succeed in understanding this rapidly expanding world, it helps to keep up with new statistics and facts. The most efficient way of staying ahead is by simply staying involved. If one is consistently interacting with their social media outlets, it undoubtedly becomes easier to grasp new habits and trends.
Over the last year, social media has evolved into a much larger concept. Facebook is still considered the most successful social-media invention to date, with 23% of Facebook users checking their accounts at least 5 times a day. Other sites are giving Facebook a run for its money; Twitter is vigorously recruiting new users at an optimal speed, snagging a whopping 53% more users in less than one year while Facebook users have only increased by 19%.
New trends such as Instagram and Pinterest have become immensely popular recently, allowing users to upload pictures to share their unique story or showcase their brand visually. Businesses are taking advantage of these social-media sites to attract customers with a variety of available product pictures, and in result approximately 1/2 of social media users say Facebook and Pinterest have influenced them on previous purchases.
It has been suggested that the recent jump in social-media activity is due to mobile use. Mobile sharing has become immensely popular among users. Social-media users are no longer required to stay in one location to access their various sites. Mobile devices provide the necessities needed to complete most general social-media tasks such as posting pictures, sharing your status and location and sending/receiving Emails. This light-weight independence is an attractive characteristic to the majority of users while traditional options, such as desktop and laptop computers are not as convenient.
Keeping abreast of recent changes and new technology in social media can be difficult at times, but if one understands the social channels they are targeting, one has a much better chance that their specific social-media campaign will succeed. Social media is mostly user-friendly but at times can be confusing. One must know the difference between simply using social media and using social media to incorporate the right aspects into the DNA of the brand one has created. Social media changes every day. It is imperative to understand the changes to ensure brand success online.
You can find quick tips to improve your social-media presence on our Facebook page here
It may be easy to convince yourself that you don’t need a Facebook page for your business. After all, you’ve gone this long without one. But if you’re interested in building your business and connecting with potential clients in your community, not having a Facebook page puts you at a disadvantage. As evidence, we compiled the following three reasons your business would benefit from having a presence on social media’s most popular site.
Reach: Okay, we’ve said this before but … The top reason you need a Facebook page is the number of people who check in with the social-media giant every day. Facebook is hugely popular and the most visited website in the country. That means, a Facebook page provides you with a platform to reach out to the millions of members who keep on top of their status updates, fans, friends, and followers. The trick, of course, is finding the right audience. Which is why the first goal should be to connect with people in your region and industry. The Internet may be a vast resource able to connect with people half way across the globe, but your goal should be to build a community of locals who may be in the market for your particular services.
Connectivity: In the ever-changing world of social media, Facebook may seem like old hat. But, though it’s no longer the newest or latest craze, it does have the benefit of already having established itself. And by “established itself,” we mean it’s inescapable. That means, Facebook allows you to connect with and link to just about anything you’d ever need, including your blog, Twitter profile, and an impressive list of applications to further increase the functionality of your page. If you can think of something you’d like to do with your page, there is likely a way to make it happen.
Competition: Not having a Facebook page for your business puts you behind the times – and your competitors. It may be a case of “everybody else is doing it,” but it’s true. The more ways you have to explain, educate, and engage potential clients, the better. So, in an increasingly technologically connected world, you can’t afford to be the only business in town that’s trying to connect with customers using 20th-century tools.
Management skills are an important part of having an effective social-media presence. Not only do you have to manage your content and keep up with contacts and comments, you have to effectively manage your time – which can be the biggest obstacle for someone new to online marketing. Here are some helpful hints and tips to making better use of your pages and profiles, as well as your time.
Get A Calendar: This may seem obvious but keeping a schedule will greatly increase your odds of staying on top of your social-media profiles. If you’re continually trying to find 10 minutes to update your Facebook page while juggling yet another busy work day, there will always be something more important to take care of. If, however, you block off a time of day or week to handle all of the notifications, emails, and updates you need to address, you’ll be more likely to get around to it. How often you need to check in with your social-media presence, depends on your business and client base. What works for one person won’t, necessarily, for another. Make a schedule and stick with it.
Put Your Followers To Work: Successful social-media pages are driven – not by their administrators – but by the fans and followers that tune in to what is being posted on the page or blog. In other words, when you’ve got a lively community of people engaged with the information you’re offering, your page will begin to take care of itself. Sure, you’ll need to stay on top of things, but having people reading and commenting on what you’re posting online will encourage others. And, with any luck, your page will become a forum for like-minded individuals exchanging ideas and questions. To get things going, offer a discount or prize for people who comment or contribute to your page. Along with your content, ask a question or take a poll related to the topic. Get people involved and your page will soon take on a life of its own.
Minimize And Simplify: If you’re someone who’s prone to feeling overwhelmed or tends to value results over patience, start small and don’t try to take over the Internet overnight. That means, taking one step at a time. Don’t register for 12 different profiles, fill out half of the info requested, and throw up your hands when nothing’s happened after one week. Start with one page and get familiar with the way things operate. Get used to updating your page and promoting your content. Once you start to have success on one site, try another if you’d like. As always, there’s no universal rule. Maybe Twitter works for you and Facebook doesn’t. Maybe you need both. Only trial, error, and time will determine the answer to what works for you and your business.
Some people fall into the trap of thinking a Facebook or Twitter page will promote their business without them having to do anything at all. Meaning, they register for a page, fill out their information, and believe their work is done. As if the Twitter fairy will come along and deliver their tweets to the masses without them having to do any of the heavy lifting. Well that’s not the way it works. Part of a successful social-media campaign is promoting your pages, blog posts, and online activities. You have to let people know what you’re doing if you hope to have anyone take an interest in your social-media efforts. Here are some hints, tips, and ideas on promoting your online properties.
The Real World: Promoting your pages and blogs in the real world is the most effective way of boosting your social-media success rate. Asking people to like your Facebook page or follow your Twitter feed is made infinitely more effective if you’re doing it in person or offline. It’s why you’re seeing an increasing number of businesses including their social-media info in their advertising, on billboards, and on their business cards. You have to promote your pages the same way you would anything else. Let people know you’re online and ask them to have a look. The more interest you create, the more contacts you’ll make. The more contacts you make, the more business you’ll generate. In other words, remember your Facebook and Twitter pages next time you’re networking or sending printed materials. Ask people to connect with you online and you’ll see an instant increase in activity on your pages.
Via Email: Because nearly everyone uses it, email is a great way to spread the word about your pages, profiles, and blogs. Sending out an email with a link to a new blog post or social-media profile, is a good way to introduce your contacts and clients to your online properties. Even adding your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn address to your email signature can lead to an uptick in visitors to your page. As long as you aren’t bugging your contacts every other hour, asking them to read something you wrote or to stop by your pages is a good way to keep in touch with your contacts while increasing activity on your social-media profiles.
Groups, Forums, And Comments: Participation is another way to get the word out about your social-media properties. Joining groups and forums on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn gets you in front of like-minded people with similar interests and concerns. As long as you’re not too self-promotional and you take an honest interest in the discussions and questions being offered, your presence will be appreciated and your familiarity among people likely to have an interest in your business will increase. It’s an indirect way of promoting your business, but commenting on other people’s pages or questions in forums can boost your reputation, generate new contacts, and increase word of mouth. Stay professional, knowledgeable, and accessible and you’ll soon see results.
Signing up for a page on Facebook doesn’t cost anything. But that doesn’t mean it’s free. In the end, social media is a draw because it seems simple and inexpensive. But, though it may save dollars and cents, it’ll cost you time and effort. In other words, things aren’t always what they seem. Once you’ve registered for an account, the work begins. And that’s where a lot of us stumble. Who has the time? Where are the immediate results? Why bother? Fortunately, a few tips to help organize your efforts and boost your effectiveness may be all you need to help get you through the disappointing realization that it may not be as easy as it seemed.
Find Good Sources: Creating content is difficult. It’s time consuming and involves choices. It requires you to decide what topics will be interesting to your contacts and then provide information on that topic in a compelling way. So what’s the best way to do that? Well it starts with your sources. Find websites, Twitter feeds, blogs, news sites, and anything else that provides inspiration and information you can use. Posting a link to a news story or a list of stats and trends you’ve come across is a great way to create quick, appropriate content. If you’ve got a good list of feeds and sources, you’ll have an easier time finding things to discuss and write about. If you’re starting from scratch each morning with nothing more than your brain and a cup of coffee, you may be in trouble.
Create a Schedule: Disorganization costs you time and creates stress. The best way to avoid this trap is to make a schedule. If you’re having trouble finding time to post to your sites, respond to comments, and check in with your contacts, set aside a block of time in the morning or evening and use it for maintaining your social-media pages. Depending on how much time you’d like to devote to your efforts, you can schedule time every other day, twice a day, or weekly. Just stay consistent. If you stick with your schedule, soon you’ll find a rhythm and won’t have to worry about finding the time to focus on Facebook. Sitting down for a half hour at the end of every day will make keeping your pages fresh and updated easier. It’ll also make you less likely to give up on things after two weeks.
Keep It Simple: It’s easy to get swept up in enthusiasm and try to take over the Internet. But that’s not the goal. You’re only trying to make it easier for your contacts, and potential business, to find, familiarize, and get in touch with you. Build your social-media presence in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you or your audience. If you keep things manageable, you’re more likely to succeed. That means, focusing on only what you can handle. If you’re going to set up more than a page or two, link them together so they’re sharing content. You’re not going to see much success if you’ve got pages that aren’t being maintained.
Social media can be like a Sunday morning crossword puzzle, both simple and enraging. The only difference is the answers to your social-media questions aren’t published in the next day’s newspaper. In order to help demystify social media for you, we’ve developed the following easy-to-remember keys to online success.
Here are the Four Cs of social-media marketing:
Communication: The first and most important thing to remember when pursuing a social-media strategy is communication. It is, after all, what social media is all about. It exists to provide an online platform for people to converse, share, and keep in touch with one another. For business, that means your social-media pages exist as a platform to communicate with past and future clients, referral partners, and potential business. If you aren’t communicating with your contacts, posting content, and participating in groups and forums, you are doing it wrong. You’re a wallflower and an observer. In order to change this, start sharing information, links to interesting articles, questions, thoughts, and offers on your social-media pages. Engage with your contact list and try and entice a response.
Consistency: Once you’ve begun participating, keep it up. Delivering quality content on a consistent schedule is a great way to encourage your contacts to interact with your page. You’re bettering your chances of capturing someone’s attention every time you post something to your page. That means, if you’re posting once a month, you likely won’t see results for awhile. If, however, you’re posting on a weekly or daily schedule, you’ll see more activity. In other words, activity begets activity. Participate and you’ll see more participation. You get the idea.
Content: The most difficult thing about achieving success with social media is producing quality content. What and when is important and makes a difference in the results. There are, however, some simple rules. Stay away from direct advertising or promotion. It’s a fast way to lose visitors. Try to imagine what someone in need of your particular service would find interesting and informative and go with that. Keep it professional. Share news and opinions relevant to your industry or region. Present yourself as an expert and field the questions and comments that come along with your posts. Keep on top of things and find a rhythm. Ultimately, if you’re posting consistently, offering quality information, and staying on top of any comments and questions that come your way, you’ll see results.
Commitment: You have to stick with it. Among the top mistakes people make online is giving up. If you’re expecting something immediate, you’re going to be disappointed. You can’t approach it like an advertisement. Show some enthusiasm for the medium and you’ll find an enthusiastic audience. Treat your social-media pages like a chore you have little interest in completing and your response will mimic your effort. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. Give it some time and effort before throwing in the virtual towel.
It’s been said that we learn everything we need to know in kindergarten. Mostly it’s said as comfort to the majority of us who excelled at nap time but never went on to get a Harvard degree. But it’s also said because a lot of the basics are covered in kindergarten. You learn about following the rules, coloring inside the lines, getting along with others, and not biting someone for stealing your crayons. In other words, the fundamentals. And along with everything else, those basics apply to social media.
Coloring Inside The Lines: Seems simple enough. The lines in coloring books are there because most of us weren’t born professional illustrators. So use them. When setting up a social media page or a blog, be sure to use the guidelines they’ve provided to fill out your page and make it seem like you know what you’re doing. There’s a reason they have a space for a photo, one for your contact info, and for some background information. It’s because those are some of the first things people will wonder when stumbling upon your page. They’re going to want to get a quick snapshot of who you are and what you’re offering. Make a good first impression by completing your profile.
Follow The Rules: There are some simple rules to follow when using social media and, if you don’t, you’ll likely hear about it. Just as in life, people in groups and forums generally want you to follow some simple rules in order to participate. Pay attention and follow along. The benefit of joining groups is to mingle with people in your industry and region. Don’t start off by offending them, ignoring their requests, and using their forum as an advertising venue for your business. Play along and by the rules and you’ll find yourself meeting new contacts and potential clients.
Play Nice With Others: Be polite, participate, and don’t be a jerk or a nuisance. This would appear to be the most obvious of all lessons from kindergarten that could be applied online. Unfortunately, some people abuse the relative anonymity of the Internet. Don’t be like them. Respond to comments politely. Be accessible to your contacts. Ask questions. Take an interest in others. Share knowledge. Be grateful that anyone at all is looking at your page and paying attention to what you’re doing. You’re trying to attract, not repel, people. Act like it.
If there were a shopping plaza that had 900 million regular customers, you’d be among the thousands of businesses clamoring for a storefront on the property. After all, the chance to offer your services to that many people at once would make closing new business almost a mathematical certainty. Chances are there are a handful among those 900 million that are looking for exactly what you’re offering. This is the thought behind social-media marketing and, specifically, marketing on Facebook. Sure, naysayers will tell you it’s a waste of your time and won’t develop anything other than a penchant for procrastination. But with that many potential customers within reach, it’d be crazy not to give it a try.
Here are some thoughts on social-media marketing on Facebook …
Focus on the Goal: Everyone wants other people to like them. It’s human nature and the reason behind Facebook’s ever-expanding popularity. But just because there are 900 million members on Facebook, doesn’t mean you have to make friends with each and every one of them. Focusing on the goal means focusing on business. You’re reading this because you’d like to find new ways to drum up business and make money, not because you need more online friends. Use your fan page to target opportunities and potential clients in your industry and region, not to boost your self-esteem and build your virtual ego. Keep it straight and professional. Making a connection with three people in your area will do more for your bottom line than racking up big numbers of out-of-state admirers.
Avoid Sloppy Mistakes: Fill out your page. Don’t leave it blank. We’ve said it before and we’ll likely say it again. Nothing makes you look more uncertain, unprofessional, and unattractive than a half-filled out fan page without a picture or logo. Keep your info fresh, sharp, and easy to digest. While you’re at it, make sure anything you post is short and easy to read too. Include pictures and stick to a somewhat regular schedule. In short, don’t keep ‘em guessing. Avoiding sloppy mistakes means paying attention to detail. And details often make the difference between success and being totally ignored.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help: One of the great things about social media is that it’s like math. It’s not so much the equation, as it is the answer. There are multiple ways to gain a business advantage on Facebook and other social-media sites. For example, it’s great to share your knowledge and build your reputation but Facebook can also be a tool for learning. So if you’re stumped or curious, ask someone. Sometimes posting a question about something related to your business or your clients’ interests can be an excellent way of, not only starting a dialogue, but learning something from your online fans and followers. Listen closely to their answers and you may discover a trick or two that leads you to new business.
These days, mobile devices such as iPhones, Androids, and iPads are challenging the desktop computer’s popularity, and its way of doing things. Apps, or applications, change the way we react, respond, use, and benefit from technology. At its root, an app is nothing more than a tool. And, obviously, the more tools in your tool box, the more effective and efficient you’ll be. The only trouble is finding the right app for the job. Fortunately for you, we’ve collected some of the best apps for keeping your business organized, efficient, and ahead of the curve.
Documents Unlimited: This app allows you to edit and create Microsoft Office and OpenOffice documents. It consistently ranks among the top business apps because it essentially allows for some of the functionality of the desktop computer in a mobile device. You can also connect to your Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and Google Docs account.
Inkflow: Inkflow is a great solution for anyone that needs to jot down ideas on the run. Turn your iPhone or iPad into a pad of digital paper. Make notes, to-do lists, and drawings with your finger or stylus and then move them around, arrange them, zoom in and out, and reorganize. Best of all its free.
Philips BatterySense: This is a simple but handy app, especially if you’re someone with a tendency to run out of battery at exactly the wrong time. Not only does it keep track of how much charge you have left and how long it’ll take to recharge, it breaks down the amount of time you have left to do certain activities. For example, it’ll let you know exactly how many more minutes of Internet use you have before you’re shut down.
Flipboard: Flipboard arranges all of your RSS, Facebook, and Twitter feeds into an attractive magazine-style layout. In other words, it’ll send you all of your news and updates and it’ll make it look pretty. It’ll also change the way you browse the Internet and use social media. A great way to stay ahead of the game and atop your social-media pages.
Fileboard: Another app for storing, sharing, and working with your documents and files. Fileboard makes it easy to access all of your stuff in one central location. It also makes it easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re on the run and don’t have two hours to search through your documents folder.
Vlingo: Vlingo is a voice-activated virtual assistant for your iPhone. Which is a fancy way of saying it allows you to speak your commands, texts, emails, and anything else you’d like your phone to do. Need directions, say so. Need to send a text message, say so. You get the picture.
Appsfire Deals: Top ranked in the U.S., Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Singapore, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, this app tells you when apps go on sale or are offered for free for a limited time. It’s a great way to find new applications and not have to spend any money doing it.
If you spent all of your time with your head in a bucket, you’d never see the sunshine. Fortunately, there are some fairly obvious ways to correct that issue. Among them, the first – and most obvious – is taking the bucket off of your head. When it comes to social media, there are those that understand, participate, and benefit from the available online tools and there are others that seem to have placed their head in the aforementioned bucket. But, in much the same way, there are some easy solutions for anyone who remains on the social-media sidelines.
Here are three basic social-media mistakes and misconceptions to avoid …
The Only Thing You Have To Fear: Fear is responsible for a lot of missed opportunities. So remember that when you’re telling yourself that your business doesn’t need social media to succeed. Maybe you’re right but maybe you’d be twice as successful if you made an effort to market your wares online. In other words, the number one mistake people make is not trying. Social media can be intimidating for the uninitiated but, trust us, it’s pretty user friendly and the risks are low. Try starting with one account and go from there. You don’t have to master the Internet in the first week. You can, however, get a profile up and start getting the word out. Take small steps. If you get stuck, you’re only a Google search away from an answer to your problem.
Use It or Lose it: Once you’re online and have your info up on the social-media site of your choice, keep logging in. This isn’t a one-stop fix. Abandoning your social-media pages sends the wrong signal to prospective clients and also defeats the purpose of having a page in the first place. Log in often and familiarize yourself with the functions and possibilities. There are limitless ways you can use social media to your advantage but none of them will work if you never log in. It sounds obvious but many people throw in the towel soon after adding their address. Then they proclaim that Facebook and LinkedIn are useless. Those people are wrong. If you spend some time tinkering around, you’ll undoubtedly find ways to boost your presence and build new relationships with potential clients and customers.
Be Resourceful: There are hundreds of available applications, tools, and plugins available for any social-media platform you choose to use. Take some time to research them and figure out what they do. They are there to make your job easier. Technology, though scary to some, is ultimately there to make you more efficient and your work easier. If, however, you never explore its potential, you will never reap the benefits. No matter what you’re attempting to do, there’s likely an application designed to help you out. And most are totally free to use. That means, there’s absolutely nothing to lose other than time. And, after a couple of searches, you will, no doubt, locate a number of resources that will not only make your social-media experience more enjoyable but more profitable as well.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple reminder. After all, it’s easy to forget the basics and fundamentals of anything once you get going. So being reminded of the seemingly small details can often make the difference between success and failure. When it comes to social media, the ever-expanding list of apps, plugins, widgets, websites, and platforms can confound even the savviest online observer. But, at its root, social media is about communication and community. In other words, before you get overwhelmed by the bells and whistles, spend some time getting back to basics.
With that in mind, we collected another list of simple do’s and don’ts for social-media success …
Don’t Be Too Self-Promotional: There will be a temptation to overload your pages with flattering facts about your business and services. But social media isn’t for advertising. It’s for socializing. Your social-media profiles should be a place where you share info and updates that are professionally relevant and of interest to clients and potential clients. Don’t overdo the self-promotional posts.
Do Join Groups: Sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, offer the ability to join groups formed around interests, industries, communities, etc. In other words, joining a group means meeting like minded individuals and sharing thoughts, views, and ideas. It’s a good way of finding your target audience, making new connections, and learning something along the way.
Don’t Confuse The Personal and The Professional: This one seems easy enough. After all, if you’ve registered a social-media account under the name of your business, you already know that isn’t the place for posting vacation pictures. Right? Well, if not, consider your social-media profiles and blogs an extension of your business website. Keep it professional and save the personal tidbits for a profile your clients can’t see.
Do Like, Recommend, Follow, And Fan: If you want to make connections quickly, initiate. Take some time and leave positive feedback on the pages of people and businesses you’ve interacted with in the past. Chances are, if you make the effort to say something nice about someone, they’ll return the favor.
Don’t Ignore Your Contacts: When you’ve made an effort to get people to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else, you have to follow through. If you don’t, you’ll lose the connections you have. This means, you have to be responsive when someone comments on a post or sends you a message. It means you have to log in regularly and share interesting info with your contacts. It means, you have to be social, interactive, and available.
Do Think It Through: Most importantly, you have to give some thought to anything you post online. It’s easy to forget that you’re publishing something on the Internet under your business name and, once it’s up, there’s no telling who will find it or where it’ll appear. Make sure whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it in a way that properly represents your business and enhances your professional presentation.
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.
There’s a good reason many social-media articles compare a successful online strategy to working the room at a cocktail party. It’s because, much like a cocktail party, social-media sites offer opportunities to meet new people, learn new things, and network among people from your community, industry, and region.
Here are some ways to reap business benefits from Twitter …
The Eavesdropper: Let’s say you’re someone who isn’t enthusiastic about opening a Twitter account and regularly thinking of something to tweet so you’ve ignored Twitter altogether. Well there’s even something in for you. Searching keywords related to your town or industry gives you a live-time look at what’s being said about your community and business. It’s a great learning tool and may even change your mind about the usefulness of Twitter. Much like eavesdropping, it allows you to listen in without having to engage. Look for trends among the tweets and use anything you can. Search keywords related to your industry and get a feel for how much enthusiasm or demand there is for your particular product or services. If your leery or uncertain how things work, it’s a convenient way to get a feel for the powerful potential of Twitter. Use it to research your market and better your business without ever having to log in.
The Networker: Now that you’ve done some eavesdropping on Twitter, you may be more interested in trying it out for yourself. Start by setting up a profile using your real name and business info. Then follow a few of the Twitter users you found in your earlier search. Choose people or business that had something insightful to offer or lent a useful link or tip. It’s a great way to painlessly introduce yourself to people without them having to feel any obligation to reciprocate. They don’t even have to approve or accept you. And not only will you begin receiving their tweets in your feed, which will provide you – if you’ve done a good job – with a steady stream of interesting info every time you log in, it’ll also lead to a few people following you back and receiving your tweets. That’s when the social part of the social media kicks in.
The Conversationalist: This is the hard part. It’s not always easy to come up with something to say that’s relevant, interesting, and short enough to meet Twitter’s 140 character limit. One way to start is by sharing interesting links to news or relevant articles you’ve seen online. Another is to re-tweet something someone else posted. Another is to reply to something you’ve seen on someone’s page or to ask a question that will solicit a bit of back-and-forth. Keep it professional, consistent, and mostly non-promotional. Sure, it’s a good idea to offer a deal or discount to your followers here and there. But you shouldn’t overdo the directly promotional tweeting. For one thing, it’s not going to be too interesting to anyone stumbling on your page. It’s called social media for a reason. And much like going to a party and trying to sell everyone you meet, you aren’t likely to have much success if you approach it as an advertising opportunity.
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.
Nobody likes a poorly timed call from a telemarketer. Answering a call about having your carpet cleaned when your house has wall-to-wall hardwood floors is never welcome, least of all during the dinner hour. But, what if that telemarketer, rather than trying to sell you something you didn’t need, gave you some information you could use? What if every time you answered a call from a telemarketer they didn’t try to sell you anything but, instead, told you something fascinating and then left you alone. You may be more opened to future calls. This is the theory behind social-media and content marketing.
Here are some tips on content creation and building a presence and reputation online …
Know Your Audience: You’ll find articles suggesting you need to post multiple times a day to your blog, Twitter, and Facebook page. And yeah, the more you post the more attention you’re likely to get. It’s the old quantity over quality argument. In order to drum up some new business, however, you needn’t follow any arbitrary number of posts per day, week, or month. More importantly, you need to determine what kind of content your customers and potential clients would most benefit from receiving. Sending out a tweet every hour that doesn’t appeal to your customers and has nothing to do with your business won’t gain you any respect or attention. Posting something of value, however, can result in a new connection regardless of the frequency.
Know Your Topic: It’s tempting to get online and fill your pages with everything from the personal to the professional. And when you’re starting out and having difficulty finding appropriate content, posting about your favorite hobbies and habits may seem like a good way to get going. But nobody shopping for your particular services is going to choose you over your competition simply because you share the same taste in television, food, or sports teams. They will, however, take a longer look at your page if you’re consistently posting educational, informative, and interesting content aimed at helping them make better decisions. Give your audience what they’re looking for and they’re more likely to come looking for you when they’re ready to do business.
Know Your Purpose: Because it’s easy and free, setting your business up with a social-media profile may seem less valuable and vital. In other words, it may not seem like something that requires time, effort, planning, and forethought. It does. Spending a little time figuring out how you want to present yourself, what kind of content you’d like to offer, and who your target audience will be, can make the difference between a successful campaign and a half-empty Facebook fan page. You wouldn’t, for example, take out an advertisement without considering what it says, where it runs, and how it brands your business. So the same amount of consideration should go into your social-media properties. Keep them professional, up-to-date, consistent, and timely for best results.
Living in the Internet age is a lot like being around for the gold rush. There’s a lot of buzz about the limitless opportunities and possibilities but there are no guarantees that it’ll make you any money. Fortunately, unlike the gold rush, the Internet doesn’t require you to cross the country on a brutal horse-and-carriage led trip through the mountains and you won’t have to do hours and hours of manual labor in order to try your luck. Which is to say, if mining gold were this easy, everyone would have done it. And yet, there are those that are still hesitant to take their business online.
Here are some tips and ideas for those of you still on the fence …
Social Media Is Local: Stop thinking of the entirety of the Internet and start thinking about it as a way to get in touch with people in your area and region. The Internet may be able to reach all four corners of the known universe but its users generally are engaged with their friends, family, and community when they’re online. That means, social media is actually more efficient and valuable to small businesses than large corporations. After all, no one is going to pay too much attention to a tweet from Coca-Cola but they’d be more likely to read a post or click a link sent from a local business they know and trust. If you’re not doing business in India, there’s no need to set up a social-media campaign aimed at world domination. Keep it focused, targeted, and small to start.
Social Media Is Participatory: Here’s the part that trips a lot of people up. Despite being named “social” media, many people are turned off by the idea that they will actually need to communicate and reach out to other people. They want their social-media campaign to function like an online advertisement waiting to be seen by the right people. Unfortunately, there’s no quicker way to become lost in a pile of forgotten social-media profiles than to set up a page and quickly abandon it. You needn’t feel like you have to constantly be updating and refreshing your pages but it does help to have something to offer. And always be polite and engaging with the people that follow your pages and posts.
Social Media Isn’t Going Anywhere: Fortunately, the opportunities and possibilities of the Internet will be around a lot longer than the gold was in San Francisco. Which means, there may not be a rush, but there’s also no reason to wait. The early adopters will have the advantage of offering something their competition doesn’t. If you wait five years to take your goods and services online, your Facebook fan page will still be beneficial but it won’t give you a competitive edge. Which means, not only can a properly executed social-media campaign benefit your business but the sooner you start the better those benefits are likely to be.
Here’s a stat for anyone that believes blogs aren’t a viable lead generator … More than half of businesses that blog report having acquired a customer specifically through their blog. According to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing survey, 57 percent of company blogs have pulled in a new client, that’s better than Facebook or Twitter. In other words, if you’re thinking of starting a social-media campaign for your business and you’re convinced business blogging is a thing of the not-so distant past, here are some things to think about …
Sharing is Marketing: The percentage of businesses with a company blog has risen in all of the past three years and has now reached 65 percent. In other words, if you’re not blogging, you’re behind the times. You’re a dying breed. A dinosaur. And there’s a reason the majority of companies are maintaining blogs. First, they’re a cheap way of increasing your web presence. Secondly, in the Internet age, marketing means getting your content passed along. Sharing is key. And a blog gives you a place to begin generating content and an audience. Once you’ve gotten accustomed to producing content set yourself up on a few social-media sites to syndicate your content even further.
More Is More: So you set up a blog, posted twice, and when it didn’t result in any new business, gave up? Well what did you expect would happen? According to the HubSpot survey, among businesses who reported acquiring a customer through their blog, 92 percent posted multiple times a day. In other words, the more you share, the more likely you generate traffic, make new contacts, and build new business. Now you may be thinking you don’t have the time to post multiple times a day. Well, 66 percent of those business blogs acquired a customer while only blogging once a week and, among blogs that only updated monthly, 56 percent gained a customer. In other words, even if you’re too busy or too lazy, chances are a business blog will benefit your bottom line.
The Future Is Now: Among respondents to the HubSpot survey, 62 percent say social media has grown more important to them in the past six months. And, on the flip side, only 14 percent named trade shows and nine percent said telemarketing. In other words, if you believed social media was a passing fancy and there was no need to participate, you’ve been proven wrong. More and more businesses are incorporating and benefiting from social media and blogs. And more of them are reporting their successes. The same survey found 81 percent of businesses said their blog was useful or better, with 34 percent calling it important and 25 percent saying it was critical. Yeah, critical.
Think of LinkedIn as the most well-attended networking event the world has ever seen. Then congratulate yourself on finding a way to meet and greet with more than 70 million professionals without having to endure the awkward conversations and business-card exchanges that go along with your regular, run-of-the-mill business gathering.
When used correctly, LinkedIn provides a platform for online networking, maintaining contacts, receiving referrals and participating in the community at large. And so, we’ve compiled the following tips and tools from past posts in order to help you take better advantage of your profile …
Your Profile: Since LinkedIn began as a vehicle for job hunters, many people are still under the impression that some form of copy-and-pasted resume is all you need to attract potential business to your page. Truth is, this is a representation of you and, hopefully, one that will be seen by potential clients and partners. That means, you’ll want to offer up a bit more than your work history. If you have a Twitter page, add it. Add your website as well. Get connected by importing your email address book and sending out an invite to your business contacts. Add a bio and job experience. The more information you offer, the more likely your profile will be found.
Get Active: So you’ve filled out your profile and imported your business contacts to LinkedIn. The next step is getting active on the site. LinkedIn offers the ability to join as many industry-related groups and discussions as you wish. So do it. Search groups by category or keyword and focus on your region or industry. Once you’ve joined, ask a question or answer an existing query. If nothing else, you may learn something from someone. At best, you’ll make new contacts within your industry and region that could lead to business down the road.
Make Recommendations: On LinkedIn, recommendations bolster your credibility. After all, if you’ve got a lot of recommendations, you’re most likely trustworthy and not out to scam, spam, or swindle anyone. But how do you get them? Well, start by recommending people you’ve had positive business experiences with. Once you’ve made some recommendations, it’ll be a lot easier to get some in return.
WordPress: If you have a business blog and haven’t added it to your LinkedIn page, you should. The WordPress application on LinkedIn allows you to easily update your profile with your most recent blog posts, provided you’re using WordPress. And, if embedding your blog on your LinkedIn profile sounds like it may be beyond your technological abilities, it’s as easy as entering your domain name into the application. Everything else is automatic.
Polls: You may think polls are only for research centers and presidential campaigns but they’re also a handy and convenient way of gathering information that will boost your business. Use the poll application on LinkedIn to pose a question to your connections and millions of other professionals, then use their answers to better your services. In addition, the poll application allows you to embed the voting module on your website or blog.
Be Strategic: Once you’ve set up a page and joined some groups, developed some content, discussion topics, or questions to share, it’s time to think strategically about how, where, and when to post it. You don’t, for example, want to post your content on Christmas morning or the 4th of July or even weekends for that matter. Posting the right topic to the right group at a time when there’s likely to be more traffic and interest will make the difference between being ignored and being found among millions of members.