In the old days of marketing, most business owners either took out an ad in the newspaper or had their establishment listed in the phone book. Today, a phone book makes a great doorstop or kindling for a bon fire. Business owners are getting the word out about their business using the Internet and social media. Not everyone has their system in place, however. Most people wing it and fly by the seat of their pants.
Simply having a presence on the Internet is not enough. About 80% of Twitter accounts are inactive. Facebook users are either addicted to the platform, or they have accounts with blank faces and few friends. For many, Linked In is an enigma. Some business owners have discovered the advantages of having a blog, but hardly ever write in it. Still, there are more self made millionaires on the Internet than anywhere else.
The reason . . . they get it. They have social media strategies that work. If you aren’t using the Internet, you are missing out.
Develop an online plan that is congruent with your business plan.
First and foremost, you have to know what you want from the traffic you receive on the Internet. Are you looking for potential customers, expert status, JV partners, or another purpose? Create strategies to accomplish the goals you want to accomplish.
Establish a networking hub
Think of your blog as your home on the Internet. Facebook is fun, and effective for business, but it is only a cog in the wheel of your hub. Your blog is you, your business, and your mission. It is where you establish credibility for your purpose and a place for your prospects to become a part of your community. Make sure it is attractive, inviting, and has a compelling reason for people to want to visit.
Facebook is where the party is, so treat it like one. If you want to promote your business, imagine you are at a networking event. It is to create relationships that may lead to business once you get to know one another. Create a Facebook page to highlight your business. Add valuable and interesting content that will keep people interested and not feel that they are being sold to. For your personal page, be careful in how others will perceive you. Stay away from politics, religion, sex, sports and bad language. You can mix a little business with personal observations such as: I just had a delicious lunch at Olive Garden with one of my favorite marketing clients. This will let people know you are in business and what you do, but will not make them feel you are promoting or beating them over the head.
Twitter is a micro-blogging platform. You have 140 characters or less to get your point across. Use it for announcements and links to interesting information. Do not spam your business on it. Connect with others and comment on their updates using the @ symbol and their Twitter username such as @rebeccaolkowski. Create relationships. Monitor your conversation using Tweetdeck (free download) or Hootsuite (also free)
Linked In is for business professionals and for those seeking partnerships or jobs. The best way to interact on Linked In is to join common interest groups, ask questions to the group and to join in on the conversation.
Ultimately you will want to use Facebook, Linked In or Twitter to invite others to visit your blog and to hopefully opt into your RSS feed or mailing list. Always announce new posts along with a link. An easy way to do this is to connect your blog to Networked Blogs on Facebook. Each time you write a post its RSS feed is posted on to your Facebook wall.
I believe it is best to not automate your social networking updates. If you use an outside program such as Tweetlater or ping fm to auto update into Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and other platforms, you are not participating in the conversation. It is fine to use strategically, but not all the time. Set aside one hour or less per day to find out what your friends are up to and to comment on what they have to say. Otherwise, you are nothing more than a robot.
Make sure your blog is user friendly and contains buttons or plugins to encourage others to share, tweet, comment, and bookmark your posts.
If you found this post informative or would like to add to this topic, please feel free to comment, tweet and share.
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