How Social Media Can Help Your Business

I get lots of questions from different people on “How can all this social media stuff like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Squidoo, Digg, YouTube, Blogs help me?”

So lets first define Social Media, with Wikipedia’s Definition: Social Media is a form of internet marketing which seeks to achieve branding and marketing communication goals through the participation in various social media including writing content that is remarkable, unique, and newsworthy. Lastly Social Media utilizes social networking and user-generated content platforms to promote a product, service or content.

Now that being said…necessary tools for Social Media are bookmarks, blogs, forums, podcasts, networks, communities, wikis. Important and versatile sites are places like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Myspace, Digg, Stumbleupon and Squidoo.

The number one point to remember is this

..Due to Social media marketing being so easy to implement and it being so affordable, it is of significant importance to small businesses. In some respects, today’s businesses face the same challenges that early marketers experienced with emerging print and electronic advertising mediums, the most important of which is building meaningful and lasting relationships with new and existing customers. The key difference this time around is that successful marketing efforts increasingly hinge on the ability to reciprocate, in authentic ways and real-time ways, with a growing and increasingly sophisticated online consumer audience.

So where do I start?

By a long shot, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and Facebook were the top four social media tools used by marketers, with Twitter leading the pack. All the other social media tools paled in comparison to these top four. Download Social Media Marketing Industry report.

How do I measure the effectiveness of social media?

A significant 81% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated exposure for their businesses. Check out Social Media Marketing Report. Improving traffic and growing lists was the second major benefit, followed by building new partnerships. A rise in search engine rankings is also an evident increase, as well as a reduction in your overall marketing expenses. Now that is some GOOD news…if your not involved in Social Media Marketing…then it’s TIME!

StartupNation does make a valid point when it says that many small businesses have failed to embrace the opportunities in social media marketing.

If that’s you, then speak with an Internet marketing consultant or do your own research of how social media marketing can help you. It would be beneficial for you and your company.

Last year in February, an article came out on “Social Media Will Change Your Business”

It’s a good read with some great links for blog writing. One of the paragraph talks about “grabbing you by the collar, and shaking you into action” and that was written LAST YEAR! All in all there is some important information for newbies and veterans alike. The story of the Google employee that got fired is one of them…because it shows how fast social media can work.

Another way Social Media can help your business is the customer relationship.
As a business you would be interested in creating a dialog, direct and immediate feedback benefits, and to learn directly from your customers on what has been successful and what areas need focus and enhancement. Sharing content is the real power and the advantage of using social media. Businesses can keep their online community up to date with news, events and what the business has to offer. Social media and conversation marketing are not ends unto themselves… like traditional marketing, they are simply tools, albeit transformative tools, to building brand, market affinity and sales. And while it may be too much to expect even the wisest “old dogs” to learn to master all the nuances of these “new tricks”, true wisdom stems from surrounding yourself with people who get it. Don’t let fear control, instead become intellectually engaged in ways that leverages your knowledge of your core business, customer and products and work with teams who can help convert your vision into the social media and conversion marketing space. Best auto injury attorney near me

Ezine @rticles has some great thoughts on Blogging, Relationship Marketing, Customer Voice and Social Marketing. Customer Voice is a huge one this year which is where Twitter or blogs have been the most efficient.

Customers want voice in your business…give you feedback.

Relationship Marketing

Is also top in 2009 as a tool to build loyalty, along with a timely response, or you can have a blog and a Twitter account as these all have interaction with the customer. These also allow you to create a personality for your business as well as develop an image as a forward-thinking company that is responsive. Responses include Tweeting back on Twitter, a Facebook response, sending a personable card, thank-you card and a quick thinking of you card. A top of the line online card system that is extremely affordable and saves you time and effort is SendoutCards. The fastest, most affordable Relationship Marketing tool online with over 13,000 cards available along with gifts and gift cards. You write it, they print it, stuff it, stamp it and mail it for you. Can’t beat that deal!

Facebook for Business!..

Yes you read that correctly…Facebook for business is very real…read this artlcle: Facebook’s Latest Design Update Helps Businesses part of it reads “With the latest evolution, Facebook makes its service more valuable to businesses.”

Here’s another good one to check out: 30+ Apps for Doing Business on Facebook great read from Mashable The Social Media Guide.

What is LinkedIn? and why should I be a part of that?

If you’re running a small Internet business or have a regular brick-and-mortar business, “knowing” the right people and being able to ask and answer questions significant to your business will help you build your network with contacts. Someone you know in your line of business is already on LinkedIn. You just need to set up a profile, start introducing yourself around, join groups and discussions, start discussions with any questions, or answer discussions with your expertise in your area. What a wonderful way to reach beyond the limits of time and travel to someone else who is like minded and able to discuss important things, answer questions all in a few lines.

Never heard of a Squidoo lens before?

A Squidoo lens is a free web page that states what you are interested in…it could be as simple as a recipe if your a restaurant, to as complex as how to take the perfect picture. Along with links to anyplace you want, you can join groups, be a lens master, create as many pages as you want and get the word out!..

StumbleUpon…great name…what does it do?

Here’s how it works. Install the toolbar, identify some categories you like on the web, then hit the Stumble button. The service takes you to a web page that is popular with people who share your interests. You’ve got the option to give that page a thumbs up, a thumbs down or just leave it by hitting the Stumble button again. Over time the service learns what you like and integrates that into the decisions it makes in sending you someplace new when you hit the button. If you’re a small business with very good content, submit that content to stumbleupon. When these people finally will shop they will shop in their local area and an most of them will use Google to do it. Yes you will stand out with a Stumbler in this sea of 10. Try it…you’ll be surprised!

What has Social Media done for me?

I really enjoy meeting new people, creating new relationships, networking along side people with like interests, and using the tools available to generate opportunities and provide insight to help others. As a business owner, I have enjoyed the benefits of Social Media, it’s simple approach with countless of avenues. I also enjoy presenting this knowledge for others to use as it would benefit them by building relationships with other like-minded businesses and entrepreneurs along with keeping their customer base informed of products, generate better customer relations and service.

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