TOPIC: Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing
Using social sites such as Facebook and Twitter; Pinterest and Google+ to reach potential customers is tried and true. You just need a recipe for success.
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91% of Adults Online Use Social Media Regularly

Posted by Alec Hess

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Is there any better place to grab attention and promote your business? I’m not saying it’s easy, but for many businesses using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, etc. has proven to be a great advertising spend. And that’s part of the rub, because although most social sites are free to use, it takes time and attention (read: money) to make social really work.

You can’t just design an ad and let it sit there. You or someone in your company has to consistently spend time nurturing your social presence. You need to gain trust by offering something for free like advice, and then you need to nudge people to your website, services or product.

But it can be fun; you can learn what your customers like and improve your business all at the same time. 

Using Social Media Effectively Requires Three Things:

  1. An account, which is easy and free to sign up for; just make sure you’re opening a business account and not a personal account (for most businesses).
  2. A detailed, fully filled out, well designed set up on each social site, which is different for every site, but makes the difference between looking professional and sophisticated (read: trusted), and looking amateurish.
  3. A plan to consistently and regularly interact with the site: post opinions regarding your business or industry, answer questions and inquiries, start conversations, give help and advice, refer to interesting links, and generally become a socially important thought leader in your field that people will trust, interact with, be glad they have as a contact, and most importantly, purchase from you and refer others to you.

Some Basics:

Social Media platforms are web-based networking sites, which are used to turn communication into an interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals. Consumers and companies alike can use this exchange to build connections, give feedback, post news and updates to personalize the experience as much as possible.

Social sites are the number one online activity: 
People spend 1 of every 6 minutes online using social media.

Areas That Can Be Addressed With Social:

 
  • Raise brand awareness.
  • Channels to place content and build company website traffic.
  • Networking to find new business and employees.
  • Target leads & prospects: friend, follow and expand your customer base.
  • Amplify word of mouth: encourages involvement so people can tell others about your good work.
  • Receive Feedback: Find out what people are saying about your company, correct mistakes or complaints and impress customers and potential customers.
  • Develop customer loyalty: reward loyal fans and generate repeat business.
  • Participate in the conversation: create and upload polls, status updates or videos about your field or business to keep people involved.

What If You Simply Don’t Have The Time?

Social Media agencies, software and free apps can help! Outsourcing your social media needs can be the answer you’ve been looking for. By hiring specialized social media professionals, or setting up some software on your own, you can optimize your efforts; keep the costs down and the positive results high.
 
Some areas a professional would cover:
  • Consulting: identify and target your audience
  • Customer Development: publish engaging content to drive fan interaction
  • Community moderation: monitor pages for questions and opportunities
  • Analytics: to actively adjust your social media strategy
 
Don’t wait until your competitors have already scooped up potential clients because they have better SEO than you. On the next two tabs are great deals, some free, to get you started optimizing your site for search, as well as some brilliant tested and trusted vendors. Good luck! Let us know how you make out.

Alec Hess is a marketer and small business expert as well as Principal of Full Voice Media and Vanguard Healthcare Products; and co-founder of BizSaves. His focus is on small business success and he has consulted, guided and advised many firms.
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Other Great Articles:

Mashable: 5 Low-Cost Social Media Marketing Strategies for Authors Mashable: Crafting Your Social Media Budget: Experts Sound Off Forbes: The Developing Role of Social Media in the Modern Business World Mashable: How 3 Entrepreneurs Used Instagram for Business
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