Are you as small business owner that is a baby boomer asking yourself – how in the heck is Twitter and Facebook that my kids use going to help my business? If you aren’t sure or haven’t even considered Social Media, then you need to think about the following. Who are my customers and how are they influenced? If you answered that all of your customers are 50 and over and would never use Social Media, then think again. Ask yourself who influenced that decision maker and how that person makes decisions. Ask when that decision maker has left, who will then be making decisions at that company? I myself am a boomer and yes it was my children that introduced me to Social Media out of own curiosity of why their fingers were always typing on their cell phone and why their head was constantly glued to the computer at night.
Social Media is not just Facebook Twitter and YouTube though they are three of the largest Social Media sites. Social Media is a very broad term today and encompasses online directories, LinkedIn and other business networking sites, “in the cloud” sites that store pictures, presentations, videos, and files and even the email newsletters and survey vendors. It is impossible to utilize them all and it would end up being a full time job for someone. Let’s face it – in a small business, most of us are not going to budget for a Social Media guru on their team. The big guys can afford it and have the budget to have someone sit and monitor every comment and response in Twitter.
The key is to figure out which Social Media mediums are right for your business and utilize them to speak to your prospects and customers and integrate the ones you choose to get your biggest return. I plan to develop material for small businesses on how to use each medium in your business, but in the meantime, I will provide you with a few of the Social Media mediums that I am using today to give you an idea of where you might start.
Blog – Provides credibility to your readers on topics that surround your industry, your products, and your expertise. I link to the blog from my website and every time I write an article, I advertise this on other social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. WordPress and Blogger are free, so there is nothing you need to do but set-up your site and create a link from your website to your Blog page.
LinkedIn – This is a must site for all business owners and key employees. This site provides you with networking which is a must for any small business. Each individual has a profile where they provide detail on themselves, integrate applications and other social media, join forums/discussion groups, ask and answer questions, answer and create polls. In addition you can create a company profile which allows you to put detail about your company. I generate the most traffic to my blog and website from LinkedIn. I have made connections with people around the world and have met many prospects and partners through LinkedIn.
PartnerUp – This is a site much like LinkedIn, but has a target market of small businesses and start-ups.
SlideShare - This is a site where you upload and display presentations, documents, and videos. It has integration within LinkedIn, so I am able to upload files of interest for prospects and customers. Down the road, I plan to purchase a paid account where I will receive information on those that viewed and downloaded my files.
Facebook – I just started using Facebook recently. Facebook does allow you to have a company profile, provide links, have discussions, and has applications that can be integrated. I utilize this because there is no cost and I populate the site from others. I have received traffic to my blog and website from my Facebook page, but have not truly utilized this medium to the extent that partners of mine have.
Twitter – I used Twitter in the past personally. I recently created a company Twitter account. I will admit it was difficult for a boomer to get what I wanted to say down to 140 characters, but since I have started utilizing this more in the last few months I now have followers and get a couple every day. I can also track hits to my blog and website from those from Twitter and my traffic on both has increased more so than the followers I have.
HootSuite – This is an excellent tool that helps anyone save time that is utilizing Social Media. HootSuite allows me to submit information on something I have done, whether it is a blog article, update to website, an offer, or any type of information that I want known to all the main Social Media sites at once. I can produce one message that will update LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook all at the same time.
RatePoint – This is a newsletter “in the cloud” product which allows you to upload your prospects and customers. You are able to generate professional looking newsletters, announcements, and surveys. As with all packages, there is the ability for those receiving your information to opt out. You are able to have those that visit your website opt in as well. The reporting is wonderful. You know who read the information, clicked on links, along with other types of metrics.
The next step in my journey is figure out how to monetize my use of Social Media. I do not want to do anything for the sake of just doing it. I want to understand the value of using each one and plan to rollout my own Social Media plan as well. I will determine with mediums are worthwhile using and which ones are not for my business, keeping in mind that there are direct and indirect metrics to determine. If I can increase in my web traffic, I may not be able to directly monetize it, but if for every on-line item I sell, I ask the customer how they found this information, I can directly connect it to revenue. The first step is to develop the right metrics.
What Social Media you choose to use depends on the type of prospects you have and how they make business decisions. I plan to create guides on how to get the most out of several of the Social Media mediums in the coming months to help those of you who are just starting to consider Social Media and understand how to utilize it to its maximum potential for your small business – so stayed tuned.
In : Digital Marketing
Tags: "social media" "marketing strategy" "twitter" "linkedin" "facebook"
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