Using Social Media in Marketing : Part 4

Okay I Get It, How Do I Get Started

Now you are ready to dip your toe in the waters of Social Marketing, the cheapest and easiest way is to add a blog to your website. Write short posts a few times a week about topics relevant to your business, offer insights to manufacturing processes or customer case studies. Keep it topical and timely. Set up a Twitter account and a Facebook page, and share your blog posts or other interesting articles you have read online. Most importantly, be honest and genuine. Be human. Interact, respond to questions, join conversations. It’s not always easy or immediately rewarding, but given time you will develop your own ‘voice’ and your personality will shine forth.

Beyond those simple beginnings, we can get a little more involved. Build a Ning community around your brand where your customers or users can commune and hold discussions and share their stories. Develop a YouTube or Vimeo channel for training, advertising, branded content or seminar highlights. Populate a Flickr account with photo’s from conferences and Expo’s your company attends or speaks at. Offer promotions through FourSquare using location based marketing. The tools are numerous and varied, but they don’t have to all be embraced at once. Take on one at a time and slowly develop an online social marketing presence that supports your overall brand personality.

One of the most important things to consider about Social Networking is to listen. Too many companies and individuals see these online tools as just another publishing and marketing vehicle in the old linear, uni-directional sense. Broadcasting ads and promotions to the world without listening to the inbound stream of replies and questions. Whilst it is quite okay to use Social Networks in this manner, you’d be missing an undeniable opportunity to make the most of what this medium has to offer. And many users, your potential customers or clients, are often turned off by one-way hard-sell techniques. Be conversational, address problems, offer support or feedback. Also, don’t shy away from confontation, make fans out of foes by solving problems and offering assistance.

It’s not always easy to make friends across a computer network, but once you find a handful of people who share some common interests you’ll find your connections with these people are much stronger and you’ll develop your own little clique. And that is something that is often overlooked when discussing Social Networking. It would be impossible to be friends with, converse with and be liked by everyone in your online social environment. You would never have enough time to focus on actually running your business. But once you have a dozen, or twenty, or fifty or how many people you feel comfortable with keeping up with regularly, these people can become your advocates, your evangelists. When they like you (in the real, emotional sense, not just in the Facebook friending sense) they are more likely to spread your work, pass on a reference or give a recommendation about your brand or product. The adage is people do business with people they like, and social networks facilitate that practice perfectly.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about putting the media into Social Media. Check back then, or better yet subscribe with your RSS reader and have the series delivered to your inbox.

If you have any questions regarding this article, or would like to discuss setting up a social media platform for your organization, leave a comment below or contact me through the Contact Me page.

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