Social Media? Whats the buzz about?

 

I am currently in the process of teaching a class regarding social media and most people in the class really don’t know why they are there.  Social Media is a term people hear they must start understanding, but really don’t know why.   Here is a very brief intro to social media and how certain aspects can help your business….

Social Media,  so, what’s all the buzz about?  Simply put, social media allows you to make the sale before the sale.   Because the media landscape has changed in the past few years, it is imperative that every company take advantage of these tools or become obsolete.  There is a revolution in the way consumers are buying and making purchasing decisions.  People are no longer trusting broadcasted messages to them, they are actively looking for information and relationships they can trust.

Creating interactive information sources that are engaging and relevant to your customers allows you to connect to clients and prospects.  If done correctly, social media can put you in the top-of-mind position with your customers and create a referral sales force.  If you can show that you truly have your customer’s interests at heart and  brand yourself as an expert, you will rise above your competition and create brand loyalty. Below are some FREE  or very low cost ways to promote your business and increase profits by utilizing Internet marketing techniques.

Targeted leads:  Advertisements that are visible to people who have e expressed an interest in what you are selling.  Instead of using a billboard, direct mail, or magazine advertisement, market directly to people’s interests through Facebook or Google ads, forums etc.  If you are a golf club maker you can put an ad on the profiles of golf enthusiasts.  You only pay for the ad if it is clicked.  Clicks are easily traceable to help you understand what marketing message and campaign works best.  All of this can be done for very small investment

Video: Videos done on a flip camera or by a production company are fabulous ways to differentiate yourself from your competition.  Don’t have a million dollars for a commercial?  No problem, you can utilize video hosting sites to broadcast to millions for a fraction of the cost.  An entertaining “viral” video can be broadcast to millions within days!   Utilizing video will help you gain higher Google ranking as well as allow you to attach a visual personality to your product or service.

Social networking sites:  Social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, ) are key in connecting and engaging your customers and clients.  Utilizing a Facebook business page or Twitter profile can be very beneficial.  You can post recent news about your company, run contests to engage and reward customers in your success,  and have discussions about things that people find of interest in the industry or your brand.  For market research, test market ideas about a new product launch you are considering.  You can post online coupons; and community sponsored events.  All of these things are instrumental to keeping your fan base engaged and wanting to spread your message.  The sites are also excellent for networking as well as getting a leads on possible opportunities.

Article and blog writing:  Article writing can help establish you as an expert in your field as well as giving valuable information to your customers to help them make a better informed decision about your product or service.  In addition, article writing helps to create more links to your site because people can comment, bookmark and link back to your site.  Inbound and outbound links are very important in determining your Google ranking.

Affiliate marketing:  Linking to sites that offer a product or service that you enjoy.  Have a service or a fantastic new product that you feel would benefit your customer base?  Why not advertise it on your site and receive a commission?  Companies are hungry to cross sell in this economy and many are offering a  commission fee to companies that sell or refer their product.  If you truly feel that it is of benefit to your built in audience, it is a win- win situation.  A note of caution (you can only endorse so many product offerings like this before you start losing creditability.)

Customer Service:  Keeping in touch with your clients and dealing with any issues that arise.  Social media monitoring of your brand allows you to get real time results about what your customers are saying about you.  You may then quickly and effectively deal with any disgruntlement, showing that you are a company that cares about its customers.  On the flip side, if there are positive comments out there, why not spread the word by utilizing your newly built up network!

All of these techniques are easily doable for only a fraction of the cost of traditional market research, newspaper and print advertising.   To learn more about how to utilize these tools effectively, give us a call today!

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