The social networking arena seems to expand daily, and while it offers many opportunities, it can also be confusing and overwhelming. But the fact of the matter is business social networks are not going away any time soon. Including social business networking in your business’s marketing plan can be a simple and effective way to build name and brand recognition, promote your product and sales items, and build a following.
Instead of trying to get on every social site out there, select two or three good ones that will help you be most effective with your marketing and businesses goal, with sites such as Facebook and Pinterest. Business blogs or Twitter, it’s important to use them wisely and consistently to attract customers. As you get more familiar with business social networks, you’ll be able to incorporate them into your marketing and sales plans a lot easier. Use the following benchmarks to ensure your use of social networking is benefiting your business.
Your Networking Efforts are Local, Not Just Global.
Social media can bring your business worldwide exposure, but if you’re not including local customers in your efforts you’re missing out on a big market. Include local expositions, trade fairs and other promotional opportunities in your marketing plan. Encourage your local customers to spread the word, they will gladly support their hometown business.
People Are Engaged.
The longer you blog, Facebook, tweet or pin the more your following should grow. Getting good comments and activity on your account from people following it shows they are relating to your social media offerings. Follow customer reaction closely so you know when you’ve tapped into a “hot” business topic so you can capitalize on it.
You’re Seeing Measurable Results.
Have your followers mention something memorable such as a code or comment when they react to your status change or Tweets. When customers frequently tell you “I saw your post about such-and-such on Facebook, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
Social Networking is Your Business’s Fluid Marketing Tool.
Traditional marketing methods can be very costly to change, but social networking is not. If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of your customers’ needs, you’ll change your social networking efforts to meet them. Keep your social media use fluid to stay on top of trends and avoid falling behind.
For social business networking to be effective for you, it must be used consistently. You’re not likely to build a following with any social media venue if your presence is hit-or-miss. Be ever-present without being pesky so your name, business, products or services become a recognized and welcome part of your customers’ social media experiences.
Recommended Books on Social Media Marketing:
- 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More!
- Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (And Other Social Networks)
- The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
- The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success
- A Social Strategy: How We Profit from Social Media
Yvonne Buchanan is a 20-year veteran of public relations, marketing and advertising. She teaches public relations courses online for career changers, freelancers and students through The PR Academy www.learnpr.com and is co-founder of Real-World PR www.realworldpr.com , a public relations information provider for small businesses. Real-World PR offers public relations toolkits (manual/CD combinations) that allow small business owners to create and maintain their own public relations programs.