Archives for January 2010

5 Things to Consider Before Bringing Your Business Online Using Social Media Marketing

Online Social Media Networking for business has arrived!  It’s a way for you to get to know your target audience and let them get to know about you and what you do.  It’s a way to build a relationship with the people who want and need to know what you know.  People do business with people who they know, like, and trust.  Establishing these relationships using social media is just good business sense.  Social networking sites give you an opportunity to share what you are doing, let your customers and potential customers see you in action and create new relationships. You can build a rapport with readers and help those who are already looking for the information you will be providing.

Today, FaceBook and Twitter are the two most popular social networks.  You may already be using them personally.  If not, you have surely been hearing about them.  MySpace, YouTube, and LinkedIn are some other popular networks.  You can trust that your customers and clients have heard of these too.  It’s everywhere!  Many are probably using them already.  What you may not know however, is that hundreds, if not thousands, of other networks exist online for any topic you can possibly think of.

Before you begin using social networking, there are 5 things to think about.  There is much more to consider but these are the decisions you will need to consider before getting started.

  • How do you want to be known?

I recommend using your full name or business name.  This will help you crate branding. Give some thought as to what you want to brand.  Is it yourself, your business, a product?

  • Who do you want to connect with?

Although there are some hot debates on the issue, I believe that there is more benefit to targeting those who are already interested in your product or service or share a common interest rather than blindly trying to reach everybody.   It’s much easier to build relationships with those you share something with than to try to convert people.  Social media networking is built on the idea of having relationships with your following.

  • What kind of things can you offer your following that they will value?

What do you know that your following wants to know?  What kind of information, trade secrets, tips, and benefits can you offer them.  What is the benefit of following you? (What’s in it for them?)

  • Are there forums where people interested in your information gather?

A Google search should be able to find something applicable to your particular business.  Joining these groups and participating in the group will quickly give you an opportunity to be respected as an expert in your field or industry.

  • What platform will you use to keep in touch with your group once you have established a following?

Tweetdeck is my personal favorite.  From here you can update both your FaceBook and Twitter accounts.  Tweetdeck also provides support along with great tutorials on how to use their application.  They also offer an iPhone application for those of you who need to keep in touch and have the ability to be mobile at the same time.  You can find Tweetdeck here.

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Taking a Genuine Interest in Your Online Readers

Taking a genuine interest in your customers whether you have a traditional brick and mortar business, on online business, or both means learning about your customers and what they want.  The only difference in an online business is that your customers may never see you, you are hidden.  Instead, only read the information you provide to them online.  Getting to know them in the virtual world can be challenging.  Whether you have a web presence or just a website is key to being able to learn about your customers.  Having a website that people want to visit means getting new customers and keeping the old ones coming back. So, how can you show that you are interested in the virtual world?

Finding out who they are.

Every person wants to be acknowledged.  They want to know that they matter to others. They want to matter to their families, their friends and even the people they do business with.   Think about hair salons or drinking establishments.  In most cases, the haircuts and the drinks their customers get aren’t much different than what they could get somewhere else.  So why do their customers keep coming back?   The answer is simple, it’s personal, these businesses are based on delivering a finished product AND building a relationship.  They talk TO their customers and not AT them.  A relationship is established.  Their customers feel that they matter, that they are important.

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