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Bring Your Business to The Social Web

| September 9, 2011 | 0 Comments

Your customer’s buying patterns have changed. With the advent of DVR, online radio, and ad blockers, traditional “outbound” marketing tactics like commercials and paid advertising just aren’t working as well anymore. With this crazy upheaval in marketing, what’s a business owner to do? Say hello to the social internet. If you’re not a full time web developer or marketing guru, bringing your business to the internet, social networks, blogosphere, etc can be intimidating. Creating a website is already expensive enough without adding social media and blogging. How can you do it all without breaking the bank?

Creating a Social Media Campaign

1. Register a Twitter account (preferably with your business’ exact name as the username) and a Facebook Page.

2. Before you promote these social properties, start posting content like blog posts, pictures, videos, tutorials, or anything else you can think of. This content doesn’t have to be created by your company, but it should be relevant to your business and be similar to content your customers like to read. When your first fans land on your page, they will be more likely to like or follow you if there’s something of interest for them to see. Now that your business has several Tweets and Facebook updates floating around, it’s time to get your pages customized!

3. Countless companies screw up branding on their social media properties. Include your company’s logo and design a custom Twitter background as well as a custom landing tab for Facebook. It may seem insignificant, but maintaining branding on social media is extremely important to keep your customers and prospects engaged.

4. Start promoting the social properties. Both offine and online businesses need to follow a similar set of “rules” when promoting. Have you ever walked into a store and seen a sign with the words “FIND US” and a set of logos on the cash register, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, etc? Don’t be that store. If you want to be successful in social media, your business needs to provide a reason for people to like or follow you on social media websites! The same store would likely get thousands of likes on their Facebook page if the sign read like this: “Text ‘Like OurStoreName’ to FBOOK (32665) & show the cashier to get 15% off this purchase! or visit fb.com/ OurStoreName.”

Yes, both of those actually work. Try it out with your current Facebook page. Who doesn’t like 15% off for such a simple request? And once you’ve created a fan base, even though you “lost” 15% on one of their purchases, they are now a member of your social list and they’ll receive your company’s updates, and will likely come back for other promotions and even buy at full price from your social savvy company!

This is a little more diffcult for online businesses, but still totally doable. Self proclaimed social media experts like to announce that the trade show is dead and they aren’t worth the money. I couldn’t disagree more. Rent a booth at a trade show that relates to your online business and hand out T-shirts, stickers, lunch boxes, movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, hats, etc (and lots of them), play music (if you’re allowed to) and make it a good time. Have contests through your Facebook page. Announce happenings at the booth through your Twitter page. Everything should be branded with your social properties. If you can’t find a trade show you like, head out to the city streets with a balloon animal guy or a van playing music with fun contests. For both online and offine businesses, be creative, be fun and encourage participants to step outside their comfort zones. They won’t forget your business if you do.

5. Manage The Social Media Campaign: Managing social media is a lot of work. If you get a lot of fans and followers, everything from thanking people for ReTweets to posting updates can take a lot of time. Some companies see it best to hire a social media manager who’s only job is to reply and create content. Other companies, like Zappos, get almost every employee involved in social media. And others see it best to outsource management to a company who will manage the pages for them. Choose any method you like, but don’t let the audience go unmanaged.

Post new content daily and respond to every post, good or bad, honestly and do your very best to help. Ensure this attitude extends to your entire social media force. If you’re not ready to deal with good and bad comments and reply to every comment that comes through the pipe, your company isn’t ready to be on social media. Social Media doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Chances are your employees have some downtime during the day. Teach them the social ropes and how you want your company to be perceived, then grant them access to the social properties. You’ll most likely and they take it very seriously and like joining the conversation on behalf of your company. You won’t see an immediate ROI from social media, but there is one. Customers keep coming back because they’re reminded about your brand. Work at it, it’s not the easiest thing you’ll do, but you may and it actually has the biggest ROI of any promotion you do!

Ben Paster is the founder of Strike Internet, a company that helps other companies build their social presence. You can follow Ben @BenPaster and Strike Internet @StrikeInternet on Twitter.

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Category: Finding Customers, Startup Advice