Tips for using Social Media to promote your business

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Liz enjoys writing on a variety of topics. She is currently the Marketing Manager for a SIP trunk provider service company and enjoys learning the latest in social media.


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Social media is the craze these days and it appears things will most likely become crazier as new players invent new ways of keeping in touch either with friends or in the case of business – with clients.

Originally, when social media began its rise to popularity it was mainly focused for personal use between individuals, such as MySpace and Facebook. However, businesses soon began to see the massive potential for marketing their brands to large audiences online at a single time, and soon these social apps being studied by marketing departments from East to West.

Today, the evolution of social media tools for business is still evolving, however it can safely be stated that it has started to generate some traction as applications have provided business friendly features or versions, such as Facebook Pages and LinkedIn.

No matter how many social apps are out there, companies must learn how to best utilize existing platforms in an effective and practical manner suitable for their business.

Here are three areas to consider when incorporating social media for your business.

Blogging for Business

A blog can be used two ways for a business. First, a blog can be the business if it is an online business which generates income through affiliate programs and advertising. Secondly, a blog can be used as a part of the marketing initiative for a company’s website, being accessible through a navigational link to a separate area of the site. It is under the premise of the latter which this section will focus on.

The purpose of a company blog should be to “add value” to a company and its image/branding. For example, if you happen to sell online phone services, I would not expect the blog to be a place where prospects would fill out quote forms. However, it is a place where the company could provide industry specific information and content relevant to their line of products, albeit a list of Lync SIP providers, or the latest Cisco IP phone.

The benefit of adding value to a website is twofold. On one hand, it shows that you are actively keeping up to date with industry happenings, and this creates a positive image for your business. Additionally, blogging can be used to add fresh new relevant content to your site – something which the search engines, especially Google, like to see when they rank pages.

For example, if your company sells an organic clothing line, the company blog could discuss topics such as what “organic” means, the government’s role in organic standards, and so forth. Over time, Google will begin to recognize that there is a common element, or elements, such as the term “organic” throughout your site. This in turn gives greater validity to the nature and content of your site – a big part of Google’s ranking


Facebook – To have or not to have

I am not a believer that every business needs to have a Facebook account – unless your products are very consumer oriented. A perfect example is baby diapers. Your target audience is not babies – it is the parents and most of the time it’s the mothers. Moms love joining online groups which discuss baby products. Parents are some of the most interactive groups of bloggers, commentators and distributors of information online because they are aggressively looking for relevant up to date information for their families. In a case like this, you want to actively promote your Facebook page and encourage active interaction among consumers.

If your Facebook – or even blog, generates a lot of consumer feedback and opinions, it is critical to listen and review each comment that is posted. Use this opportunity to gather information on what works and what doesn’t, what your consumers like and what they don’t like. You will also find useful insight, ideas and suggestions freely given for improvements on your existing products.

Facebook – when fitting to your business model – is a powerful promotional and research tool – all for free.

Twitter – Use it carefully

Twitter has become increasingly popular in exponential ways. This tool is a great way to get quick snippets of information or updates out to clients or potential customers who might be following you.

For business purposes you should first determine what Twitter is to be used for. Is it used for promotions? Is it used for company news? This is important because you must be careful as to how much information should be released from a company. Too much information giving away too much insight into the direction of the company for example, could give your competitors an upper hand on knowing plans you may have for the future direction of the company.

Twitter can also be used against you by your consumers. I saw this first hand when my husband and I chose a VoIP provider for our small home based business. Part of their marketing materials one of the companies sent us included screenshots of unhappy customers blasting one of their competitors on Twitter. I’m not sure I agree with this method of marketing, but the point is to use Twitter in a way that promotes positive comments.

If you use Twitter to report service issues, down times or other maintenance status updates, expect negative comments to appear. However, using Twitter for notifying customers of special sales and promotions will more than likely produce the positive tweets which bode much better for online social marketing purposes. Choose wisely what information you make public and how.

To stay up to date with the latest social media tips and applications, subscribe to reliable online articles and magazines which focus directly on social media so you can keep up to date and continue to improve upon the best social media tactics that best fit your business.
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