Social Media Facebook, Twitter, Blogging where to start?
Facebook, Twitter, blogging … in the past year, these social networking tools have shifted from kid stuff to major marketing tools. If you’re wondering how to use these tools to connect with potential clients, you’re not alone.
Social media is an easy way to connect with people on a personal level. If your website serves as your online business card, then social media can be a form of online greeting card, providing you with a more personal presence on the Internet and allowing you to interact with clients individually.
When done properly, social media is a fun, targeted way to reach your audience on a personal level with a wide range of positive results for marketing, search engine rankings, and traffic. Here’s a basic overview of the most popular methods and how to use them.
Adding a blog to your website provides a personal voice to your business and allows you offer your audience useful information. It can even help your website rank better in search engines. It’s also the most time consuming method of social media and the most difficult.
Before starting a blog, come up with a plan. What kind of information do you want to provide to your visitors? Will you have time to write original content for your blog several times a week? Are you or someone on your staff comfortable enough writing to develop quality content? If the answer to these questions is yes, then a blog is a perfect start for your social media campaign.
If you’re ready to build your blog, keep these guidelines in mind: don’t blog from an outside website like WordPress or Blogger. Your blog should be a part of your website (http://www.yourdomain.com/blog), not part of an outside website (http://yourdomain.blogspot.com). Write fresh, original content regularly (at least three times a week), and keep blog posts under 500 words each.
Facebook is the largest social network on the Web. The website boasts more than 200 million active users with more than half of them logging on at least once a day. And it’s not just kids, either. More than two-thirds of users are out of college, and the fastest demographic is 35 years and older. If you’re not already a part of this huge community, now is the time to join.
The way Facebook differentiates between people and businesses can be confusing. Facebook does not allow businesses to build personal profiles. You have two options for promoting your business: building a business profile page and creating a group for your business. Use the page as a central hub for information about your business on Facebook, and use the group as a forum where fans and friends can interact with you and each other.
Remember, profiles are for people; pages are for businesses. Your business page will need to be connected to a personal profile if you want to reap all of the benefits of Facebook. Build your personal profile first, and keep it business appropriate. Then connect a business page to your profile.
Facebook is people oriented. The only way it’s going to work is if you’re willing to get involved in the conversation. Build a personal profile, seek out friends in your target audience, and participate in groups related to your industry.
For more information on Facebook pages, read Facebook’s help section for businesses at http://www.facebook.com/advertising/#/advertising/?pages.
Twitter (http://www.twitter.com) has quickly grown to become one of the most powerful social networking tools on the Web. According to data compiled by Neilson Online, Twitter reaches more than 13 million people in the United States each month. It’s also the social networking tool that many novices have the hardest time using. Twitter allows users to broadcast short, 140-word messages to other users who “follow” them.
It’s no use if your target demographic isn’t using Twitter. Do some research to determine if you can reach your audience through Twitter. Use the search tool (http://search.twitter.com) to search for terms related to your industry and find people who are talking it. Start following them and they’ll often follow you back. Use Twitter to share useful industry information, personal messages, and news about your business. If you have a blog, link it to your Twitter account so your followers will be automatically notified of new posts.
Initiate conversation about your brand, listen to what people are saying about your company, and be proactive in responding to @ replies and direct messages. Offer information that customers and other people in your network will find interesting — not just marketing and PR speak. Don’t toot your own horn too much, bombard users with links, or repetitive marketing messages. Just like any conversation, these common mistakes will make you boring or annoying to followers.
This is by no means a complete list of social media sites that can help promote business. There are hundreds of other sites and social networking tools. Social media marketing is like any other marketing: different tactics work for different businesses.
Spend some time exploring these websites to determine if they can work for you. Come up with a strategy for how to implement these tools and integrate them with your current marketing efforts. Be sure you’re using a network that your target audience is using.
If you’re unsure of where to begin, Internet marketing consultants can help you come up with a strategy, set up your profiles, and learn to use these tools effectively. Sage Island Interactive Marketing Agency offers a full range of social media consultation services from blog strategy and design to social networking training. Let us help you find the right social marketing approach for you!