Social networking is the buzz phrase of the 2010s, so if you’re not already part of the “social” scene, you are soooo last week…
Let’s face it; we already know the Internet moves at the speed of a sound byte, so if you think your common or garden variety website is all you need to see some action happening (think hundreds of thousands of visitors with their hundreds of thousands of dollars) rolling in, think again.
Sure, optimize your site to within an inch of its life, advertise like crazy and tell anyone who’ll spare you a nano-second of their precious time about how fantastically wonderful your product/service/ advice/ information /whatever is, and yes, you’ll probably make a buck here and there. But it won’t buy you that brand spanking new S-Class Merc in the showroom or a beachside spread in Malibu.
Today’s savvy online business owner knows it’s all about networking offline and Net working online. Business Marketing #101 tells you the goal of networking is getting your face and your business out there into the big wide world. After all, or so they they say, a word-of-mouth referral is half-way sold before he or she makes that phone call or walks in your door. So it stands to reason that the more people you come into contact with, the more likely you are to get referrals that will lead to sales that will lead to dollars in the bank. Ka-ching!
Taking your Business to the World
Okay, you already know all that, right? So let’s expand that concept a million-fold (or thereabouts) and you have some idea of the power of social networking.
By harnessing the power of the Internet you can put your business in front of thousands of people, who will tell thousands more; and all those thousands of prospective visitors – your prospective visitors – eventually turn into millions of prospective visitors. If you know what you’re doing.
So… where to begin?
In later posts I’m going to cover the good, the bad and the indifferent social media channels out there. Suffice to say that by then there’s likely to be at least another dozen up and running and itching for your business.
Today we’re going to focus on why you’re a mug if you don’t get on the social media bandwagon RIGHT NOW and how to get yourself noticed amid all the noise.
If you want to get noticed, be noticeable. What is it about you and/or your business that makes you stand out from the crowd? (If you answered “nothing”, then it’s time to employ a good Marketing / Creative person… sooner rather than later.)
If you sell little blue widgets just like your competitors’ little blue widgets, but you can get them delivered within 24 hours, then focus on that. Better yet, if your little blue widget comes with an app, then that’s a real plus. Create a punchy marketing bye line and market the heck out of it.
BE A BUTTERFLY
Become a social media butterfly by participating in as much social networking as you can. Think tabloid fodder without the trash. Why are the likes of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian always on magazine covers? Because they’re always visible, floating from one social gathering to the next.
Twitter, post a Facebook message, create a one minute YouTube response/comment video, find new business connections on LinkedIn, or choose any one of the hundreds of social media communities where you can be an active social citizen, and do it frequently; daily is not too often as long as you’ve got something to contribute.
And then share it around. When you get positive feedback from a Twitter message, respond with a pleasant “hey, thanks”. Same goes if you get a question or concern, answer immediately and your active customer response will reverberate around the Twitter community.
If you don’t think you’ve got anything new to say, ask for feedback, opinions, suggestions or comments on something relevant to your industry. Ask an open ended question that prompts a response from all those connected to you and then respond to their responses to keep the conversation open.
PIMP YOUR SOCIAL STATUS
Nobody is going to come to the party if you don’t send out invitations or turn the party lights on.
When you’re active among the social media networks, spread the word! You can do this a number of ways:
- Add hyperlinked social icons to all your pages so visitors know they can access more information at any one of your social media destinations;
- Add “share” widgets to your informational pages so visitors can spread the word. And don’t forget you can add “share” links to PDFs, videos and other attachments;
- Connect to your Facebook page with the Like button. This is fast becoming one of the most powerful inter-connectivity tools on the Web;
- Add a Twitter feed so visitors can see the latest breaking news as it happens;
- Use social media icons on all your promotional material, including business cards, brochures, in your email signature and in newsletters.