04.18.11

Social Network Marketing for Small Business

So… how can your business use the power of social networks for a competitive advantage and maximize your exposure and connect with your customers, clients and employees where they interact, network and commune everyday?

Social MarketingMake friends on Facebook

Start a group around the passions and interests of your employees, clients, or customers. Promote your events. Share your stories. Post photos and videos. Do NOT make it all about you. Make it all about your shared interests. Make it fun and engaging. Your Facebook page has to add value to “friends’” lives to have them actively participate.

Encourage satisfied customers to spread the word on Yelp and City Search

Manage your online reputation. Create a business profile. Encourage great reviews with contests or rewards. Resolve issues with unhappy customers. Provide promotional offers. Sponsor events or relevant interest pages.

Get LinkedIn with business

Connect with potential new clients. Reconnect with old colleagues and clients. Join industry groups. Post your blogs and videos. Put up your latest PowerPoint presentation. Get involved in industry conversations. It’s not just enough to fully optimize your profile; you have to jump in, engage, and work the system.

Get spotted on YouTube and Flickr

Create your own branded video channel to showcase your products or services. Sponsor relevant video content. Create an entertaining viral video. Post product images and photos of corporate events and more on Flickr.

Join industry forums

There are plenty of discussion forums created for almost every industry. Search them out. Listen and monitor for appropriate discussions in which you can offer your expertise. Don’t just talk about your products or services, but provide clear and objective answers or feedback. Also try starting a discussion to generate a dialogue around something you have a passion for.

Social network engagement takes time and patience. Listen first and then engage. But in today’s hyper-connected world, Social Marketing should be part of your integrated online marketing plan.


For more information on social network marketing, contact Tom Casale or Bill Kamper at info@simplifiedsolutions.biz or call 312-886-7669.

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04.18.11

Why People Use Twitter

Twitter MarketingUpdating status = self-promotion?

What drives people to tweet?

According to the “Consumer Internet Barometer” from TNS and The Conference Board, 41.6% percent of Internet users who used Twitter did so to keep in touch with their friends.

In addition, 29.1% used it to update their status, 25.8% to find news and stay updated, 21.7% for work purposes and 9.4% for research.

Men and women both used Twitter primarily to keep in touch with friends. Secondarily, men were interested in finding news and women in updating their status.

Users under age 35 were more interested in broadcasting their status than their senior counterparts. Older users were more likely to use the service for work-related purposes.

The average Twitter user interacted primarily with friends and family

The next most popular tweeters were celebrities, bloggers, TV shows, co-workers, brands and journalists.

More women interacted with friends, family and celebrities than men, but men were more likely to follow bloggers.

Older users trailed younger ones in interaction with every Twitter user type except journalists and brands.

Who can Twitter users blame for their addiction? One-half of tweeters said a friend or family member introduced them to the site and 33% were hooked by a co-worker.


For more information on online marketing, contact Tom Casale or Bill Kamper at info@simplifiedsolutions.biz or call 312-886-7669.

This article was posted on e-marketer.

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04.18.11

Social Media Marketing: How to Get Started

Simplified Solutions - Social MarketingNow that things like Facebook and Tweets are household words the question is how to make it work for your business or company.  As you know, Social Media consists of network-based websites and technologies that support and encourage user-generated content and conversation through blogs, photos, videos, discussion forums, reviews, and more.

By effectively engaging your audiences within these communities you can increase dialogue and participation with your brand and company significantly impacting your business.

The first thing you need to know is that Social Media takes some work and it takes time. You have to be committed. But the ability to influence discussions, manage your online reputation and spread the word virally, and even generate leads, can return rich rewards. You just have to be patient and gain an acute understanding how to make it work for your business.

So how do you get started?

Set Objectives

What do you want to accomplish? Build your reputation in the marketplace? Generate traffic to your website? Create awareness within a select community? Promote an event? Build some brand ambassadors to evangelize about your product? There are many goals that social networks and media can help you achieve. Create a list of objectives and then decide what is the best social media strategy for your small business.

Search

The first thing you can do is search for Social Networks that your customer may belong to. Some may blog on professional networks. Some may participate in conversations on industry forums. Others may be on Facebook or Twitter. Yelp, a peer-to-peer review site, has become a very popular site for folks to weigh in on everything from companies to their favorite places. Even your local newspaper is now online and offers blogs on every subject.

You can search for your name or by topics that you think your customers may be involved with.

Listen

The first thing to do is to listen. Spend some time understanding the audience and conversation. It’s important to know the rules of the road. Don’t just jump in and start talking. You want to learn who the big influencers are and to get a sense of the tone and tenor of the dialogue. Must importantly, you want to understand how you fit in.

Engage

Take your first step. If we are talking about a blog or a forum, maybe you can offer expertise or comment on a subject you are passionate about. Your advice could lead to further conversations.

If you hear someone comment negatively on your business, you have a chance to dig further and maybe resolve the issue. On a site like Yelp you might even want to thank customers for their favorable comments with a free offer.

Start a Facebook page or LinkedIn group around your company’s passions and those of your employees, clients, or customers. Promote your events. Share your stories. Post photos and videos.

Rinse and Repeat

Now that you have taken your first step, wait and see what happens. Then try it again. It’s important that you experiment. Engaging in Social Media is more of an art than a science. Be prepared to make mistakes (one to avoid is being too self-promoting vs. organically engaging). Just remember, it takes time, work and a lot of typing.


For more information on social network marketing, contact Tom Casale or Bill Kamper at info@simplifiedsolutions.biz or call 312-886-7669.

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04.18.11

Facebook Marketing – Turning customers, employees, and clients into “friends”

Facebook MarketingFacebook is now the most widely talked about social network platform on the planet. Its popularity is growing with people of all stripes and interests. Is there a place for your business to get involved and engage with social networks such as Facebook? The answer is yes… if you do it the right way. Social network marketing should be a part of your online marketing plan.

Not too many companies have the brand affinity of a Nike or Starbucks where you can naturally attract and build a community. So what are your options if you’re a local retailer, real estate firm, bar or staffing agency? For people to “friend you” or join your group, you must offer some real value in their lives. They are just too busy for another friend. And is anyone really a friend of his or her real estate company? To fit into your potential customers’ daily interactions you have to be both creative and authentic in your approach.

Here are two ideas on how to make some friends on Facebook.

Build a community around shared passions

If you are active in local or regional community causes, Facebook is a great way to share the passion. By setting up a volunteer network around your cause you can invite your customers, clients and employees to join your Volunteers/Friends for (name of cause here) for events, updates and participation. Your Facebook page can now become a hub, or platform, for daily engagement and interaction with your different audiences in new and exciting ways: Start conversations using your daily status box. Make sure you respond to messages on the Wall. It’s your chance for a dialogue. You can also encourage your “friends” share their own volunteer experiences. With Facebook, it is easy to post videos, posters, links and calendars to promote events and causes. There are also applications to survey opinions or create polls. You can even create flash mobs by sending out a message on the day of the event to boost attendance. Be sure to include your employees in the mix to generate some viral activity on their own Facebook sites. Always encourage friends to spread the word and refer other friends. You can also join other related groups to get some infiltration/cross-selling going. Remember, the key to success on Facebook is building your program around a shared passion, not just marketing your products or services

Create a peer-to-peer exchange

Turn your Facebook page into a support or resource forum around your products or services. Build a central hub where customers or employees can ask questions and get answers. Turn employees and customers into idea machines; invite ideas on how to improve products or services. Show off your newest ad campaign and hear what they have to say about it. You can even let your “friends” troubleshoot issues for you. People like to think they can make a difference. Again, use contests, polls and surveys to encourage feedback

These are just two ideas to get you started. To make it work, you really have to understand your audiences and how your business and culture fit in on Facebook. Once you’ve figured that out, you can turn your attention to recruiting people to join your Facebook page. That’s another story… to be continued.


For more information on social network marketing, contact Tom Casale or Bill Kamper at info@simplifiedsolutions.biz or call 312-886-7669.

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