I attended a presentation last week by Clara Shih from Salesforce.com. Clara just released her new book, called The Facebook Era, about how businesses are networking, marketing and selling more stuff through social networking applications. We do a fair amount of social media marketing here at VerticalResponse and we definitely believe in its value for small business. While it’s not a replacement for other online marketing programs, it does augment those programs more virally at little to no cost.
Social marketing is more the responsibility of the employees today than the employer. Why? Because any company or business owner can set up a Group, Page, or Cause on Facebook and invite current customers to become fans or members, but it’s the employees (or friends of the company) that already have the established social networks online. Without a few individuals taking the time to create posts, add links, and invite their friends to become fans, too, it will become a stale community. Leverage is the key to driving adoption.
Three easy steps to get you started with social media marketing:
1) Create a Company Page or persona, like Jack Box on MySpace, that is fun and interactive. Get your employees or friends to dedicate a minute or two a day to help get things going, update their own Facebook status’ mentioning your brand, Twitter about the page or something new they posted, and include a link in your email newsletters to increase traffic and membership.
2) Search Twitter for your company’s industry or topics that relate to your business and start to follow a few other industry experts. Your own list of followers will quickly grow. As it grows, keep tweeting about industry news, press you received, or even that you’ve just completed your latest email newsletter (this is a little list-building tip). Add links in every tweet to drive them to your site, group, blog, or opt-in form.
3) Measure your success. After all, if you can’t measure it, why are you doing it? Use tools like:
Obviously there is a lot more you can do with social networking, leveraging sites like LinkedIn, Classmates.com, and others. But I wanted to make your first steps into social media easy and fun. Remember, social media networking is just another way to keep your business top of mind with customers and prospects. You are bringing your message to a highly targeted audience online and making your business or service easy to find for your customers.
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