How to use social media for business marketing



Successful online marketing
How to use social media for business marketing

Years ago if a company wanted to roll out a new product it often meant costly advertising campaigns. These campaigns often included free samples sent by mail, television commercials and advertising in print media. Today, the Internet has changed much of this process, allowing companies of all sizes to roll out their products online through social media.

While the advent of social media has certainly made the introduction of new products and services easier, it is still necessary to take some basic steps to help guarantee the success of a product launch. Companies that wish to introduce their products or services must have a solid social media plan in place to help ensure long-term success.

Social media is far more than sending out information via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Social media involves producing and sharing content, developing a following on social media sites and sharing information that followers will find of interest.

Business owners who are interested in social media marketing should be aware of some of the finer points of engaging their audience including:

Responding to inquiries — Followers often ask questions through social media sites regarding product pricing, features or specials. Business owners can address these concerns through the social media network, they can create blog posts to address these concerns or they can develop a FAQs section on their websites. Whichever method is chosen, the information must be helpful and available;

Brand building — Social media marketing is a perfect way for a small business to build their brand. This entails not only educating customers and potential customers, it also means being watchful for negative information that needs attention. Companies who are active on social media should be monitoring their brand at all times;

Search engines — Companies should always be aware that their responses on social media sites will appear in search engines of they are using relevant keywords. This can mean a boost in traffic from search engines. This is even more valid since Google rolled out the Realtime update that allows users to see what is being said on social media sites.


Instructions

Step 1

Create a plan

Companies will need to create a social media marketing plan that includes their goals, a decision on how accounts will be managed, information on who will manage accounts and how inquiries will be responded to.

Business owners will also need to determine which social media sources are going to provide them with the most return. This will involve reviewing sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare. Other accounts that should be reviewed include Redgage, StumbleUpon, Redditt and other popular social bookmarking sites.

Step 2

Develop the brand

For a social media campaign to be successful, companies will need to brand their social media accounts. This involves consistency across all networks including name usage, photograph or avatar usage and messaging. Those companies who maintain multiple social media accounts want to make sure that clients and potential clients easily recognize the company regardless of the site they are using.

Step 3

Messaging plan

Messaging to clients and potential clients is a crucial component of social media marketing. Companies will want to ensure that their message remains consistent. This involves training any employees or staff members of the overall goal of the social media plan. Whether companies are providing news feeds, customer service inquiry answers or information, the message must be consistent across all social media sites.

Step 4

Decide on automation

Companies may elect to use some form of automation for social media messaging. This may include RSS feeds from blogs, simple messages about specials or links to product information. These automated feeds should be checked on a regular basis to make sure that links remain valid, that the message remains consistent and that specific direct inquiries are addressed.

Step 5

Providing information

Companies will need to keep in mind that at the heart of social media marketing that consumers are searching for information. Information can include special deals, product features or news about the company. Those business owners who focus on the needs, wants and questions of consumers will nearly always fare better than those who simply market the product without measuring the impact of the information. Providing the best possible information to consumers is the path to social media marketing success.

Step 6

Implement, monitor and adjust

Once a plan has been developed, companies can begin to implement their social media marketing plan. Once it has been launched, all plans should be monitored for success. Not every social media plan will work perfectly as soon as it is launched and companies should be willing to adjust their plan accordingly. Product specials may be advertised, new information about products or services may be provided and inquiries addressed. Companies should feel free to experiment with their plan until they determine what works best for their business goals.


Things Needed
• Solid marketing plan
• Accounts on social media sites
• — Twitter (all markets)
• — LinkedIn (business to business)
• — Facebook (all markets)
• — Foursquare (local markets)
• Accounts on social bookmarking sites
• — Redditt
• — Stumble Upon
• — Redgage
• — Others as needed
• Blog or website
• Email contact name and address
• Commitment to success

Tips & Warnings
• Do not ignore your audience
• Respond to inquiries as quickly as possible
• Maintain a regular presence; don’t be absentee
• Provide relevant, well written content
• When using automation, use it wisely
• Keep audiences informed through use of news RSS feeds and other relevant information
• Review followers for «non-family-friendly» content

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