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Smart Marketing : Using Social Media To Be More Profitable

Best practices for succeeding in social networking

May 2010 By Carl Mandelbaum, President, Almond Tree Marketing

Traditional media is an instrument of communication such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Following that line of thought, social media is a social instrument of communication.

Putting it in Web 2.0 (the process of putting us into the Web as opposed to onto the Web) terms, that would be a Web site that doesn't give you information, but interacts with you while providing that information. The type of interaction can be as simple as asking you for your comments or as complex as recommending movies to you based on the ratings of others with similar interests.

The number of users hooking up to one social media site or another is growing by the day. And this means that you have millions of potential clients out there whom you can convert to long-term customers using certain strategies.

Getting Started

If you're someone who is relatively new to social media, you will want to begin by implementing the following three strategies:

1. Make Your Web site 2.0-compliant

This is easily achieved by changing the look and feel of your site to be more user-centered and by adding a blog. You will have to stay focused on constantly updating your site with fresh content that your users find relevant and interesting and providing them a way to leave a comment or feedback.

Other examples of Web 2.0 include Web-based communities, Web applications, hosted services, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites and wikis.

2. Create a Facebook Business Page

As of right now, putting up a Facebook page and posting to it is free of charge. The nice thing about having a page here is that you can leverage a fast-growing social media site that most of your clients may already be using, and there is no limit to the amount of fans you can have.

3. Establish Your Own YouTube Channel

YouTube is a place where you can share videos. These videos can be educational or instructional, advertorial, funny or just about anything else you can imagine. It is easy to upload your videos on the channel you create. Then make sure you publish the link on your Web site.

Blogging, Facebook and YouTube are really hot right now and don't show any signs of dissipation. Implementing these strategies goes a long way in helping you grow your business by way of social media.

But What About Twitter?

No, I haven't forgotten Twitter. To illustrate how popular and highly regarded this networking and marketing tool is, search engines have made a deal to include tweets in search results. That's huge!

If you're just starting out here, it is your duty to get the word out. Invite everyone you know to follow you, send out text messages, place your address in your e-mail signature, write blog posts, place a link on your Web site, put it on your business card—just make it a point to let everyone know that you're on Twitter.

To make the most of any social media network, especially Twitter, you have to update your profile regularly. People will consider you serious if there is a fresh tweet from you each time they visit. Try to avoid the automation tools now available and tweet directly.

Don't sell here or followers will drop off in droves. Instead, use Twitter to build solid relationships by posting useful tips, interesting news, in other words, sharing your views, opinions and likes with your community. Maintaining a cordial relationship with your followers is key to your success here.

Show Me the Money

The bottom line is that social media can increase profits—not directly, but indirectly. These sites are a great place to find potential new clients, allow your customers to feel in touch with you and get in touch with consumer wants and desires. When you consider that it only costs your time, these are pretty valuable benefits.

Keep in mind that you want to develop lasting relationships with the people in your groups. This is not something that you can just do until you don't feel like it anymore, it takes a commitment. Social media sites have become such a relevant way to communicate and do business that you can no longer avoid participating if you own a business. If you are still hesitant or unsure, partner with a professional marketing company to help you get set up and give you some useful tips and techniques. CR

Important Social Media Practices• Make your Web site 2.0-compliant• Create a Facebook business page• Establish your own YouTube channel• Join Twitter, and get everyone to follow you—build solid relationships by “tweeting” useful tips.


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