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Social media

Social Media Best Practice

I read this great article, written by By WILLA PLANK from the Wall Street Journal, which I’d like to emphasize some key points. Read the entire article here.

How else can we say it: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as tools to promote your services and products online. Many businesses already including social media tools in their marketing strategy.

But don’t feel pressured to jump in quickly and create a profile on every site. First, decide if it’s right for your company. As mentioned above, Social Media should be INCLUDED in the marketing strategy, assuming you have one. There is no reason to set up accounts on the social networks, for the sake of it. These social network can be used as a marketing tool, and need to be handled as such.

For instance, a Facebook fan page probably doesn’t make sense for a business-to-business outfit, and companies that target older or retired customers might benefit more from direct-mail campaigns, or even knocks on doors. Work out what fits your business, don’t just dive into it.

If you’ve decided to incorporate social media, remember that YouTube videos, blog posts and status updates are just a part of your entire marketing arsenal. Here are three best ways to use social media.

1.Stand out by trying less-crowded or up-and-coming social-media sites.

Everyone knows about Facebook fan pages. But if you’re a neighborhood business that relies on local clientele, you might want to consider Foursquare, which combine elements of other social-networking sites (Twitter, Facebook or Yelp) to help spread word of establishments and provide rewards to encourage customer loyalty. If you’re strapped for time, at least maintain a blog that provides good content and answers consumer questions.
You could always create your own social network, on a ning platform.

2.Don’t expect instant sales, but make sure to get actual results.

Social media is more about brand outreach. Make sure you have a reasonable goal and a well-thought out strategy to achieve that end. First, listen to what is being said about your business and competitors on Google alerts, RSS queries, Twitter, Yelp and BackType.

Make sure you have your profile account names on all print communications you distribute, such as flyers and menus. Identify your biggest fans, and figure out how to organize them or point them out in some way. Reach out to other bloggers in your industry. Have them contribute to your blog, and create cross-marketing activities

3. Don’t forget social media is a tool to strengthen offline relationships.

Many small businesses already have personal ties to customers in their communities, and these tools are designed to enhance those relationships, not replace them. For instance, you can use social-media tools such as YouTube to give customers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your company, or display more of your personality than you can through an ad. Create videos to show the personal side of your business, your people, your premises – people attract to REAL people, not to companies.

Use social media as a tool to “meet” potential clients or business partners, but make sure you follow up with an in-person meeting or phone conversation. Tweetups are very common everywhere. Find out what is happening in your area, and join the conversation. Show up (or send employees), and if there isn’t one in close proximity – create one! It’s fun, and very beneficial for everyone involved.

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