August 1, 2011

Marketing via Web and Social Media Networks

I attended 2 conferences last month, both included talks on how to use social media on the internet to market a business, product, or service. Media methods included the company website, blogs, and social networks. My intent with this post is to share some of the tips I learned on using social networks as part of the marketing plan. I will follow with another post later to cover blogs and websites.
Currently, the benefit of using social networks is if someone who friends, connects with, or follows you really likes something your share, they may pass it on to the people who a in their own list, which means your message is multiplied at not cost to you. It is a digital version of “word-of-mouth” advertising, which is the best you can get.
  1. To start, you need to investigate how people use each of the different social networks before choosing the best for your purpose. You can actually hurt your reputation by selecting a network or method that has a different purpose from what you are trying to do.
  2. After you investigate your network options, choose the best one to begin building a profile. Each of the social networks will allow you to add a personal photo and build a link to your company website. So be sure to take advantage of that to build links back to your site so people can find out details about your company that are not going to be on your social profile.
  3. Do not try to connect with others on the network until you have at least the basic profile built. Many network site give you the option of loading your current email contact list to find people already on the network via their email address.
If you are thinking of using a Facebook page, remember this site is primarily a way to link up with family, friends, and associates you wish to better connect with on a personal level. Because your audience here is so diverse, you need to be careful what you post especially is you use photos. Something your family or old high school buddies might find amusing may be a turn-off for a work associate or potential client. The experts recommend separating your personal profile page from your business by setting up a fan page for your company or for each of your products (or product lines – as an example an author would have a fan page for each book that has been published). 
If you have a consulting business, you may want to use a networking service for professionals like LinkedIn. Here people link up to grow professionally and through groups that may share job openings in a particular field or where a need for a consultant or outside trainer exists. You can share your expertise via updates on your professional page, share data with groups you are a member of, and get recommendations for your work from others who are on the network that have worked with you in a professional or non-profit area. Remember this site is for professionals, so no cutesy stuff here – keep it professional!
Of course, everyone had to talk about Twitter. True it limits your updates to only 140 characters (less than the others), but you may be able to build a larger following on this site much quicker. However, a larger following may not necessarily mean the right people are following you. Who are the right people? They are the ones who care about what you have to say and potentially what you may be selling. If you plan to use multiple networking tools, you might consider linking them together – Twitter updates can go to or come from Facebook or LinkedIn depending upon how they are set-up. If you are thinking of using Twitter, you may want to read my blog series (links below) on the Twitter Journey which contain lots of links to great data:

The above are the big 3 to consider.  However other sites were mentioned at the conferences too.  The key is to check out every site someone invites you to join to be sure it helps you promote your business and/or your expertise.  If it will not, then it probably won’t be worth the investment of your time to set things up and send regular updates.  Let us know of other sites you recommend by putting them in comments on this post.  Check back in a few weeks for another marketing method.

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1 comment:

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Special Offers: Social media is a great platform to announce your company's special offers. With millions of people around the world interacting on social media, your special offer is likely to get a great response.