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Social Media Marketing – What is it?

September 11, 2012

Before we get started, watch this video to familiarize yourself with some common terminology.

Think of social media as a giant party, get together, or some sort of social gathering. When you attend these types of events, there are always groups of people scattered around the area talking about different things. Each of those groups of people are clumped together due to their similar interests, and are like-minded individuals.

When you approach one of the groups of people, it is considered rude to begin talking about yourself, explaining what you do, what you sell, your favorite color, what you did the night before, etc. You wouldn’t do that, would you? Instead, you would approach the group, listen, and wait for a good time to interject with your thoughts, and provide value to the conversation (now that you have a better understanding of what they are talking about). The conversation will continue, as will your insights and thoughts about the subject. Eventually, someone will ask you “So, what do you do?” That is your key to begin your sales process.

You can almost mirror this behavior in social media networks. Social Media is not a magical tool that allows you do all sorts of things that you couldn’t do before. It just allows you to do the things people have been doing for thousands of years, except online rather than in person. Let’s start with the first (and most used) social media networks.

FACEBOOK

 DSM Solutions Facebook Page

DSM Solutions – What is social media?

Facebook offers exceptional, low cost marketing opportunities for small business. Facebook now has over 600 million users (that’s a big party!) Facebook offers a very powerful platform on which to build a presence. If you’re not already active on Facebook; you should get started right away. At the very least, create a personal page. Invite some of your close contacts.

Start by searching some topics that relate to your business. Get involved in the conversation, just as if you were at a party. Ask questions, provide your thoughts, suggestions, references, etc. You can even use your blog or website to refer readers to more information. But, DO NOT TRY TO SELL ANYTHING. The internet is a great tool for research, and many users rely on searching for products and businesses to help their decision making. But, this trend turns people into experienced users who can tell at an instance that someone is trying to sell them something. Not to mention all of the lies and scams going on, it is hard not to be cynical of the information that’s out there. Go ahead and try it. Research a product and see how many links or websites you avoid because you think they are trying to sell you something.

Back to the point – DO NOT try to sell them anything. You want to build and grow a relationship with your customers first. Do that by interacting with them, engaging in conversations and BUILD TRUST. Talk about things that interests your readers. Once you have made connections with these people, direct them to your Business Page, and ask that they “like” it. Those who have liked your page will see things you post from that page. Use the page to drive conversations about relative topics (relative to your business or product). Remember, your page is not the only page that your users are receiving posts from. You are now competing for screen space. Your competition – all of the page owners whos followers are also your followers. You have to keep your followers interested or else your content will get buried by other content posted from your competitors.

People are slowly moving away from trusting big businesses and media, and focusing on REAL LIFE recommendations made by real people. The average person has 100-200 Facebook friends. That means if one of your followers engages with you in a posting, 100-200 other people will that that. If 5 of your followers engage in a posting, 500-1,000 people will see it. Those who see that were friends have “liked” your page are more likely to“like” your page because they see that their friends trust your page. After you have built your following, you can begin promotions, sweepstakes, advertisements and other activities. These are the most effective ways of competing with other pages. But beware, too many ads or promotions will cause your following to diminish. Nobody likes to be spammed; we already dealt with spam when email was introduced (and it is STILL an annoying problem, and has ruined much of the success of email marketing). A good rule of thumb is 4 out of 5 posting should NOT be selling anything, but rather informing or relating to the followers in some way (jokes, pictures, comics, videos, articles, etc).

Basic Strategy: 

If you haven’t signed up for Facebook yet, you absolutely should as soon as possible. Once you’ve signed up, you should also consider securing your company’s username and reading about Facebook privacy and security. Be aware, however, that if you reserve your company name for your personal account, you won’t be able to use it for your Business Fan Page (more on those in the Advanced Strategy), so you may want to create a Page before registering your company’s name. Fan Pages have special rules regarding usernames, which you can read here.

You should do one other thing: search for your competitors and evaluate their Facebook presence:

  • What types of Pages have they built?
  • How many fans or “friends” do they have?
  • What sort of promotions are they running?

Spend 15 minutes (per competitor) looking at their posts, photos and/or videos to understand how they’re using Facebook. See if you can analyze what your competitors are doing, and if it has been successful or not.

Advanced Strategy:

You may already have a personal Facebook account, but how do you extend that presence for your business? You have several options. A Business Fan Page lets you create a page where customers or fans of your business can register as a “fan” — expanding the presence of your business (because your updates will also flow to their pages). You might also want to consider running hyper-local ads on Facebook. Every time a follower interacts with a posting from your business page, it shows up on that follower’s page, which is then shown to their friends. The average Facebook user has 100-200 friends.

Watch this video: The Top 5 Facebook Marketing Mistakes

Read more about Facebook

Twitter

DSM Solutions Twitter Page

Twitter has grown tremendously over the past year. For some small businesses, it offers an incredible marketing platform. BusinessWeek’s recent profile of 20 ways businesses use Twitter might give you some ideas about how you can leverage Twitter for your business.

Basic Strategy:

If you haven’t signed up on Twitter yet, you should sign up today and reserve an account in the name of your business. While you might ultimately tweet in your own name, you’ll want to have the option to tweet from a business account. More importantly, you don’t want your competitors to register your business name. Twitter names are like domain names – once they are taken, nobody else can have that name. Donald Trump had to make a Twitter name called “TheRealDonaldTrump” because someone else had already taken the name “Donald Trump”.  The same goes for Facebook domain names. Facebook allows you to customize your domain name once you have 30 followers. For example:

www.facebook.com/yourbusinesswww.facebook.com/dsmsolutions

Next, you should spend 15-30 minutes on Twitter’s homepage, doing basic searches to become familiar with the type of content available on the service. For example, if you are operating a small gift basket business, do some searches for various terms and phrases such as “gift basket,” “gifts,” “gift basket business,” etc. You should also search for the names of your competitors to see whether they’re on Twitter and if they are, how they’re using it. And don’t forget to search for your small business name – your customers may already be talking about you! Once you become comfortable with the content that’s already available and how your competitors are using Twitter, you can begin thinking about a strategy for how you’ll leverage Twitter for your business.

Advanced Strategy:

To truly leverage Twitter, you’ll want to learn and use a few more advanced tools. This includes desktop and mobile Twitter clients like TweetDeckSeesmic, and Tweetie. Desktop clients give you more flexibility and more control over your Twitter strategy than you’ll have on the Twitter website. Among other things, you’ll be able to pre-define searches (so that you can monitor certain keywords, including your business name) and group people you follow so that you can minimize the noise and focus on the real content. You might also consider using a web tool like Twitterfall, which will allow you to define (and color-code) various custom searches that you can review from time to time, and also to follow trending topics.

Read about how to utilize Twitter as a restaurant

Company Blog

DSM Solutions Blog

Basic Strategy:

At a minimum, you should consider reserving a domain name for your blog – if you don’t already have a custom domain for your business. If you’re comfortable enough to set up your own blog, that’s generally the best way to proceed – although this requires a bit more technical knowledge (many hosting providers offer a 1 step easy setup for blogs that will automatically install WordPress for you). You can also setup a blog directly at WordPress.com (it’s easier to do, but you don’t have full control over everything that you would on your own site).

Advanced Strategy:

How do you build an audience for your company blog? GREAT CONTENT.

Decide on a focus for your blog, and write awesome content that people will enjoy. For example, DSM Solutions’ company blog focuses primarily on social media and how to utilize it – since the company provides social media marketing strategies and consultation. You may think, “Well why would you give away all your secrets?” Because at DSM Solutions we aren’t hyping up social media to be a magical “cure-all” approach. Instead we are saying, “This is what social media is. This is how businesses are using it. This is why businesses are using it. Yes it is free. Yes it takes time investment to be successful. Here are some guides. Come talk to us when you are tired of doing it yourself or you want to improve your ROI and generate leads and sales for your company and its products.”

Think about your expertise and the expertise or great product your company provides. More importantly, think about the things that you’re interested in writing about. A blog requires a long term investment of time (and resources), and you don’t want to be stuck writing about things that bore you.

You’ll also want to consider how you can make it easier for your readers to help promote your content. For example, install helpful plug-ins, such as a TweetMeme button, which makes it easy for people to retweet your posts on Twitter. Don’t be afraid to experiment with plugins to add to the functionality of your blog, but keep it simple. You want to keep the blog focused, and easy for your readers to use.

Linked In

My Linked In

 

LinkedIn is a business oriented social network for professionals, and it’s huge, with nearly 50 million users from over 200 countries.

Basic Strategy: 

Once again, you’ll want to at least reserve your business name (or your personal name) so that others can’t use it. Similar to the way you might start exploring Facebook and Twitter, you should look around on LinkedIn to see how your competitors are using the service. You might also look up your customers and connect with them.

 Advanced Strategy:

LinkedIn has some powerful features that most people don’t use. For example, you can encourage your customers, clients or vendors to give you a “recommendation” on your profile. Recommendations are useful because they’ll make you and your business more credible with new customers. If you’re a roofer, for example, ask your customers to recommend you after a successful job. You’ll find such recommendations useful – particularly since your LinkedIn profile will come up high in search engine results. I recommend that you read Chris Brogan’s post from last year discussing the elements of a good LinkedIn recommendation.

Another strategy involves the many subject matter groups on LinkedIn. Find some groups that have a connection to your small business and become involved in the conversations. Answer questions when you can, and help to establish yourself as knowledgeable about specific topics related to your business. There are many small business and general marketing groups that will be very useful resources for you, and if there isn’t a group that interests you, consider starting one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Comment
  1. I do not even understand how I finished up right here, but I thought this put up was good. I don’t understand who you might be however certainly you are going to a well-known blogger in case you aren’t already. Cheers!

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