Use Social Media to Promote Your Business

As the market determines how social media will ultimately impact businesses, you should be positioning your company to take advantage of this new wave of advertising. Depending upon your marketing strategy, you may decide to just test the waters or jump in with both feet. Either way, develop a marketing plan for your social media endeavors. Be sure that you have a policy for anyone (even the owner) that participates in online conversation. Remember, you want to promote a positive corporate image and attract high quality customers and employees.At our seminars on social media, we present an overview of how to get started in social media. We concentrate on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Blogging as these are popular, fast-growth platforms that look like they are here to stay.Social media takes time. Beginners spend approximately 2 hours a week. After a few months, the amount of time spent jumps to about 10 hours a week. Those who actively practice social media marketing, commit 20 hours a week or more to keeping up with their social media activities. As with any initiative before you start, make sure you can devote the time and energy needed to have a consistent presence. Starting small with steady growth is preferable to a big splash then fizzling out.Many people are struggling with an effective social media strategy and evaluating the social media return-on-investment. There are some who claim you can make money with social media, but quantifying the revenue has been difficult. For most, social media is a model for positive promotion, reputation monitoring and networking. Remember, social media is an extension of the more traditional forms of networking. So approach your social media communications with the same integrity and etiquette that you would use in face-to-face exchanges.LinkedIn – A business-oriented social media site used for networking. You can create your personal profile and make a company page. You approve people that want to link to you and send invitations to others to link. Once linked, you get notification on posts, groups, updates and other details about your connections. LinkedIn is powerful for connecting to business professionals, researching companies and participating in industry and topical groups. You can send your Facebook, Twitter, Blog and other posts directly to your LinkedIn pageFacebook – Originally used as a social networking site for college students, Facebook has gained acceptance and influence for all ages. On Facebook, it is easy to post pictures, videos and personal information. Users connect by posting information on walls. You have to accept invitations from friends and choose what information to share. Facebook accounts are created by an individual, but you can make a company page linked to your personal account to promote your company. Use Facebook ads to promote your company by designing an ad and choosing the demographics that will view the ads. Ads can be pay-per-impression or pay-per-click. The fasting growing Facebook demographic is women over 55 years of age.Twitter – A social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-bases posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers. Find followers that are interested in your industry, products or services. Follow those who tweet information of interest or value. Use tweets to drive followers to your blog or other social media sites. Send tweets on a variety of topics, but don’t just tweet advertisements or your followers will dwindle.YouTube – A video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos. Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals but some media corporations offer content. Users can watch the videos and registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos. Use YouTube to upload video blogs, interview, tutorials and presentation to name a few. YouTube content can be used on your website or blog to provide information through video. Some markets prefer video and recording demonstrations, instructions and interviews can be a powerful addition to the printed word. Photos can be uploaded to YouTube, set to music and made into a video with captions. On your YouTube account you can monitor how many views each video has received and allow viewers to leave comments.Blogging – Blog comes from the term web log. A business blog is a website with regular entries of information, commentary, and events. Blogs can be maintained by a single individual or group. There are many group blogs on broad topics of interest Blogs are mainly text, but often add graphics, music or video for meaning and content. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Most blogs allow readers to leave comments in an interactive format, but it is important that comments should be reviewed before being posted to your business blog. Blogs should be professional and well written. Your posts should be used to establish your expertise in an industry or on a topic. Use other social media sites to drive users to your blog where you can explore topics more deeply. Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts.Want to try social media, but don’t know where to start?
Try LinkedIn first. It’s easy to get started, find connections and add content.
Then try Facebook. It’s a bit more complicated, but worth the effort. Once you get your personal page and some friends, make a company page and suggest it to your friends.
Now you’re ready for Twitter. Set up your account and tweet once or twice a day. Remember to make your tweets interesting and minimize advertisement.
Now start blogging! Use the other sites to drive traffic to your blog. Create content that can also be used on your social media sites, web pages and newsletters.

How Social Media Marketing Can Help Your Business Thrive

The traditional marketing model was to get as many eyeballs on your product or service’s message as possible and hope that a percentage of customers purchase. Yellow pages, radio advertising, direct mail, television commercials, magazine ads, etc.. are examples of these traditional advertising methods. These conventional types of marketing are no longer effective as many consumers have become blind to the ‘one way’ messaging. The message has been overdone and people no longer trust advertisers. A recent survey found that only 14% of people trust ads while 76% of people trust consumer recommendations. Accordingly, more marketers began seeking alternative ways to connect with potential consumers.Marketing on the Internet was originally made popular by utilizing Websites and optimizing those sites through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. While still a worthwhile strategy, SEO has been updated by Web 2.0 strategies, such as social media marketing. Social media marketing is when companies utilize Web 2.0 platforms, such as blogs, social networking sites (like Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, Twitter, & YouTube) and other emerging online marketing tools. The benefit of web 2.0 platforms versus traditional means of advertising, and even traditional website marketing, is that it involves ‘two-way communication’, where users are empowered to generate content and businesses are incentivized to communicate with their customers.The days of broadcasting your product or services message out to the masses and hoping for a response are gone. People don’t want to purchase from nameless, faceless companies. Not only are consumers paying attention to the ‘man behind the curtain’, but they also want to know what others are saying about your product or service. A recent study concluded that 80% of US Internet using moms were influenced by word-of-mouth from friends and family when making a purchase decision. No other media platform allows for small businesses to benefit from consumer word of mouth advertising like social media marketing.Benefits Of Social Media Marketing
Increased New Customer Acquisitions – The main advantage of social media marketing is that you will have the opportunity to connect with networks of potential customers that you would otherwise be unable to come across utilizing other traditional marketing techniques and even SEO.
Word of Mouth Marketing- Word of mouth marketing has always been the most influential way to generate sales. With social media marketing, you are able to create raving fans who will voluntarily promote your product and services to their networks of friends. Of course, if your product or service is poor, you may suffer the reverse benefits of this.
Brand Awareness – Branding your business using social media marketing is much simpler, faster, and less expensive to achieve than the traditional advertising medium or even website marketing.
Customer Retention – Web 2.0 platforms are the perfect places to communicate with your customers about new products, special promotions, or merely to educate them on your business. Through consistent, FREE communication, you can keep your company in front of your customer’s eyeballs which will in turn lead to repeat business and referrals. Remember, the key to this type of communication is to be content rich; don’t use these avenues to pitch your product or service.
Rapid Results – The effective and successful implementation of a social media marketing plan will create almost immediate results for your business. This increase can be quantified through increased site traffic, increased lead acquisition, and ultimately increased sales. Unlike radio or TV ads, where your customers disappear once the ads go off air, these web 2.0 platform benefits will continue long-term as long as the communication and updating of your social media presence is maintained.Why Aren’t More Businesses Utilizing Social Media Marketing?Quite frankly, most businesses don’t know how to create or implement this type of strategy. What options to small business owners have when seeking to create & implement a social media marketing plan:Hire an employee- while leveraging the time, experience, and services of others is a smart way to do business, many times this strategy fails. Why? Ultimately, it is up to the small business owner to create the plan and manage the employee. However, most business owners don’t understand web 2.0 enough to create a plan and haven’t a clue how to manage the employee. Plus, paying an employee increases your labor costs, your payroll taxes, your benefit, etc…Outsource- outsourcing is a better alternative to hiring an employee as you won’t have to hire, train, manage, and pay an employee to perform these functions. However, there is a price for these benefits. Outsourcing these services can be very expensive. I’ve known social media companies to charge over $1,000 to create a Facebook Fan Page. This task takes, at most, 20 minutes to set up. Again, the problem revolves around education. Unless you understand how social media marketing works, then you shouldn’t hire or outsource the tasks unless you’re willing to overpay.Do it yourself- The fact is learning the basics of social media, creating a plan, and implementing the plan is a task that every business owner is capable of performing. Finding the right training programs that will show you step-by-step how to create and manage web 2.0 platforms is paramount as is utilizing software that will allow you to manage all of your accounts from one simple location. With a little bit of an investment in education, you can create your very own web 2.0 marketing plan. With a little bit of research, you can find an all-in-one do it yourself social media dashboard that will allow you to perform your web 2.0 marketing in less than 10 minutes a day.

Steps to a Successful Social Media Strategy for ANY Network

Fact: social media sites drive over 31% of all referral traffic on the Internet.With all the new channels constantly emerging, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking about social media as a tactical plan instead of a strategic one.The best social media plans set forth measurable goals and work with any social venue.There are the big guns like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And other familiar names like Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine. However, these are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to all of the social media channels out there. And although they are “smaller,” they still have tens or hundreds of thousands of users. If a large percentage of these users are in your target audience, you should be strongly considering adding it to your active social media strategy.Here’s the big benefit of smaller networks: barely any other business uses them!Think about it. The biggest businesses need a huge audience, so they stick to the biggest social networks, they cannot survive on a couple dozen sales leads a day. But you CAN, and actually you can thrive.Small home businesses owners typically believe that they should just try to copy the big businesses…This is the reason you see thousands of your competitors doing the exact same thing on Facebook and Instagram.With smaller social channels, there is zero competition! You can quickly amass followers and drive large amounts of traffic to your website in no time.You start seeing faster responsiveness, better lead results, and more sales profit.This article is all about a simple strategy that will work on just about every social network out there.How to Find Small Social NetworksExpect to have to dig around for 30-60 minutes to find the best one for your business.There are dozens of social networks that will work amazingly well for your niche audience, so you just need to spend the time finding the one that is right for your business.Check out this list of social media channels you’re probably not using and see if they have any potential for your business.PheedPheed does more than let users share video, text, music, and photos. It also offers live broadcasts and a pay-per-view option. Users set their own price for their content.ThumbWith Thumb, ask a question and get feedback from other users in real time. You can also share your own opinions and start conversations with peers on topics of interest.WhatsAppWhatsApp is a cross-platform mobile messaging app. Users can send photos and videos, share their location, and create groups. There are thousands of home business owners, boutique owners, and other vendors with shippable merchandise that use WhatsApp on Instagram. It is a stress free, confidential, and easy to use method for communicating with buyers around the country. By installing the app on their phone, the buyer can text you their size, address, and other information without sharing it on social media.PicsArtIs a photo editing app combined with a social network. Users can share their photos, discover images other users have uploaded, create a collage, co-edit, and enter contests.hi5Is a social entertainment site. Users can use features similar to other social media sites like sharing photos, connecting with friends, and meeting new people. But hi5’s big focus is on playable games.BuzznetMembers can share photos, journals, videos, and other content based on their interests. Most content centers around music and popular media. Content can be tagged and found on topic pages.About.meMakes your personal homepage into a shareable digital business card. You can connect a resume, or “backstory,” and add a mission statement to your profile. Users also gain access to stats on who visited their site, what they clicked on, and where they are from.ArchetypesAllows users create a customized “Story Page.” Users take a quiz to determine what their personal archetypes are and then that information is displayed on their page. Other features are included to highlight personal preferences and connect users with each other.TsuGives its members a chance to share in earned revenue for the content they create. This method motivates users to create compelling content as well as gives them ownership in what they turn out. Membership is by invite only so it’s a little exclusive.How to Use these Smaller Sites:Your goal is to find the few networks that are likely to have your target audience. All networks have their own purpose-their own niche(s).For now, write down all the networks you think might have your target audience. As you work through navigating each site, you will ultimately determine if your choices are good networks to spend your time on.Look at the Users:Once you’ve chosen a few networks to check out, you can start learning about them.New social media sites pop up constantly. Start to spend a bit of time on the site. When you do, you will begin to understand how the site works and how users interact with each other.Whenever a new form of social media emerges, of course you check it out. After all, you – and your business – should always be on the forefront of trends. Plus you want to know, “Could this be a good fit for my business?”But, after browsing all the social media sites out there, which ones should you really stick with? The plan is always to find great social media channels that allow you to connect with your target audience. Finding and connecting with the right audience makes the secondary step of getting them back to your website (or other call to action) much easier!Understand the Basic Mechanics of the Site:Although these smaller networks don’t often have marketing guides written about them, most of them will have some sort of tutorial you can read to help you out.For example, if you Google:How LinkedIn worksYou will find guides and tutorials offering explanations of the main functions of the site.At the very minimum, every successful site has some sort of help documentation where you can look up the functions of certain buttons or definitions of site’s terms.Learn How Users Interact:Learning what the major parts of the network are will tell you the main purpose of the network from the audience themselves.It’s important to know: what, why, and how people interact on the site.Pick one social media network and get extremely good at delivering what your audience expects from it.When you have systems in place for getting new followers, generating leads, and bringing people over to your newsletter, website, or funnel, only then would you move on to the next social network.Learn How to Drive Traffic from Your Chosen Site:It can be hard to figure out the best way to get users of a site over to your website.To make it easier, you can look for businesses already on the network. Study them to find out how they connect their social profiles and activities with their website.What you want to do is pinpoint as many types of interaction on the network as possible where users can click a link. There is no magic formula for getting people to click back to your website. For this reason, vary the length and format of your content for many different kinds of readers. Intersperse shorter, news-based blog posts with long-form content as well as video, infographics and data-driven pieces for maximum impact.Find at least one realistic path of getting users back to your website. If you start to see responsiveness, then network has potential, and you have the foundations of a strategy.Connect With Anyone You May Already Know (or Have A Common Connection With):

The best way to make new connections is to “follow,” “friend,” or use whatever connection mechanism the site has to connect with people of a certain interest.

What about sending an email to your email list? Since you’ve already identified that your target audience might like this network, you could invite them to join it and connect with you.

A quick email template could be:
Subject: I just discovered something amazing… Hi (Name),After searching for a great (your industry) community outside of the big ones (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), I have hit the jackpot!A couple weeks ago, I started looking at this social network called (name of site). So far, I am really impressed with the quality of users in our industry on this site.(Here is where you will insert all the great aspects of the network that your subscriber would be interested in).I am emailing today to let you know that I think you would be interested in joining. It’s free, of course, here’s the signup link: (URL).All you have to do is create an account, and send me a friend invite (my username is (username)).I think you will really find this site useful too!(Your name)Your goal here is to start building some connections and followers. You don’t need hundreds or thousands, just try to get a few dozen for now.How Much Time do You Have?And now for the question every reader is screaming at their computer right now…”How long does this process take to start seeing results”?If you don’t think you could do it for longer than 5-6 months, you might as well not start.This is the mentality you need to possess with any strategy you are using in your business.Want to make the dime, got to spend the time… Basically, Your Time Break Down Will Look Like This:Every Monday, revisit your strategy to make sure you’re on the right track and focusing on the right areasTime: 1 hourMonday through Friday, implement the strategy. Schedule, create, and post updates. Engage with the community.Time: 2 hoursEvery Friday, check your metrics. See how you’re doing on your goals, and identify areas for growth.Time: 1 hourTotal time: 12 hours per weekDepending on the scope of your business, your time could be greater or smaller than this. The above times are simply a guide and benchmark for your own social strategy. (, if you commit to a good strategy and follow it, you’ll get there a lot faster, but it will still take time.You need to be patient and be willing to keep working for months without seeing much in the way of results. Overnight success rarely happens overnight. Your results will start slow but grow faster and faster over time (this is the process to becoming ‘sticky’).The Key to Social Media Success:How you execute your strategy on a consistent basis will either make you or break you.Besides having the right mindset, you’ll also need other things, namely content.Content is defined as articles, guides, white papers, or reports that you can share with the network community through your profile.Decide on Content:These five content marketing strategies have been found to drive popularityIdeasBuyers are doing more of their own research online. To help buyers recognize needs, you must leverage content that illuminates trends, highlights issues, and provides tangible ideas on how to solve problems. The more independent the content, the more credible it is.


Article highlights

Thought-provoking blogs
PersonalizationOffering exclusive contests, discounts and deals are popular ways to connect with buyers who seek a “bargain” from every purchase. Create a dialogue with your followers, fans and connections. Here are some ideas:

Monitoring activity

Actively engaging the user base

Answering questions

Providing advice
The marketers that appear most successful are leveraging the right content at the right time to connect on a personal level and move the buying cycle forward.EntertainmentEveryone needs a laugh now and then. Entertaining and thought-provoking videos, animations and cartoons are being used to gain followers, fans and connections.Determine your Participation Frequency:Every network is different when it comes to posting frequency.You don’t want to post so much that you annoy your followers, but you need to post enough to grow a bigger audience.To figure out how often you should post, you’ll have to test different frequencies.To start, look at the most popular users (say 10-20), and record the number of posts per week they make.Find an average of those numbers, and start with this frequency.If you Want Success, You Have to be Consistent. That’s it.Come up with a system that will help keep you on track: efficiency and ease of implementation.Having to log in and make a post every X hours is not easy or efficient. You’ll miss some posts that would be beneficial and this will slow down your results.Use automation (but wisely!)Some things shouldn’t be automated:

Curating content – don’t just share any content. Take the time to read posts so that you can share the best ones.

Interacting with users – you can’t automate authentic conversation. If you’re ever commenting or messaging a user, do it yourself.
What can be automated, however, is the actual posting of the content. You can do all the curating beforehand and then have it posted automatically.Streamline manual processes: Do all of the steps in batches.Batching is a productivity technique, where you do the same task many times in one sitting.This reduces time spent switching between tasks and helps you get “in the zone” while working.When it comes to your social media strategy, pick a day once every week or two to curate content. Find as many posts as you’ll need for those weeks so that you can just schedule them to be posted.And as for interaction, don’t constantly check your account for new notifications.Instead, set a time or two, like first thing in the morning and last part of the working day, to check your account and reply to your followers.ConclusionSocial media sites are one of the best sources of traffic.But just because a network isn’t named Facebook or Twitter doesn’t mean it can’t help your business.Smaller social networks often have far fewer marketers on them than larger ones do, which makes any type of marketing on them much more effective.