Using Social Media to Increase Your Business NOW

While the idea of social media goes back even beyond the days of AOL (that’s America Online for the young whipper-snappers out there), the idea of small and large businesses utilizing this new online craze as a marketing tool didn’t fully come to fruition until sites like My Space and Facebook popped up on the webosphere. Now we have a myriad of social media choices that have become a part of our daily lives and can be used as ways to connect to potential and current customers like never before. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular social media sites and how you can use them to your advantage.

Facebook

Remember those days back in high school where if you didn’t attend the party at the cool kid’s house, then you didn’t have a social status? That mentality is alive and well in the world of Facebook. Touting the largest user base, by far, of any social media network, ignoring Facebook simply isn’t a choice for businesses anymore. Just like that big party, everyone who is anyone is there. Plus, Facebook allows you to market your companies through the use of advertisements, which can result in big advances for your company.

Tip: Take advantage of all of the insights and valuable information Facebook has to do some promoted posts and advertising. Pick a post that has some sort of lead back to your website to a landing page where they can convert, and watch the people come in. As an added bonus, give them an incentive for sharing the post with their friends. For $50 you can reach thousands of people who are female, just got engaged, lives in Denver, and likes Star Wars. Talk about reaching your specific buyer persona!!!

Twitter

Recent reports have shown that many young people are forsaking more complicated social media outlets for the world of the 140-character message. Take it for a spin and you might understand why. Twitter messages, known as “tweets” by the cool kids, are simple and direct by design. No ranting or long-winded advertisements are possible. You say what you need to say, then get out. Think about it this way – your target customer is driving down the highway at 70 MPH and your Tweet is a billboard they see as they’re flying by. Make your engagement on Twitter something worth while and punchy. And by using Promoted Tweets, you can target your audience based on specific criteria of your choice, just like with Facebook. Be sure to follow the 80/20 rule — 80% of your “tweets” should be used for fun and/or information, while 20% should be used in a promotional sense.

Tip: While hash tags (#) have been given some bad press, mainly because of those in the population who a little # crazy, they can be an invaluable tool in getting your message out there to a large audience. For example, if we’re sharing a blog about Marketing Your Small Business, then using the #Business makes sense. Because those who follow #Business will see it in their streams.

LinkedIn

Every business should have a LinkedIn account. So if you don’t have one, make sure you get right on that! This is the site where businesses of all sizes and professionals of all industries can network with others. With similar functionalities to Facebook, such as posting updates and liking statuses, you can easily stay connected to business associates and attract new ones. And we all know that connecting with other businesses can help ours grow.

Tip: One diamond that you should be aware of are LinkedIn Groups. Here, you can join groups that would be natural referral allies for you, or are where your target customer would hang out. Within the group, participate with other members and be sure to share your awesome blogs and other savvy content.

YouTube

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine, behind Google? That’s right folks, people are jumping on YouTube to find anything from funny videos to how to guides. It makes sense really, because people are visual by nature. We’d rather watch a short video containing the information we seek rather than sitting down and reading it. Plus, Google ranks YouTube videos in their organic search results, so it helps a ton with your search engine optimization. Rock on.

Tip: An easy, and inexpensive, way to utilize the power of video and YouTube is to create Vlogs. These, in essence, are video blogs. They are simple, straight forward, and don’t require much editing. It’s just you in front of your webcam talking about what you know best – your business. Just remember to keep it energetic, fun, and educational – this is not a sales pitch.

Google+

Although it’s not nearly as big as Facebook, the recent growth of Google+ has been absolutely staggering, making it an essential tool for your business. A big reason for this is its connection to YouTube. Businesses that have a constant presence on YouTube, so the creation of vlogs or other such videos, have shown to gain a following rather quickly. Funneling your efforts through Google+ is a great way to attract attention and integrates beautifully into your other social media channels, and even your email.

Tip: Start building your circles. You can not only add suggested circles that people can add you to (so for us it would be things like business, small business, marketing – you get the idea), but you can also start creating circles that are centered around your buyer personas. This is how you’re going to post comments and discussions that are targeted to what is relevant to people within each circle.

Slideshare

The idea behind Slideshare is the creation of visual elements that can help get the word out about your company and ensure that you stay connected with your customers. Sharing your slide decks and presentations online is a great way to reach out to customers, but the brilliance behind Slideshare is that it gives consumers a way to easily digest your information in a visual format rather than read through pages of printed data.The presentations you create can also be easily integrated into a variety of other websites, which will help increase your exposure as well.

Tip: Don’t make these presentations too big. It’s great that you may have an introduction or sales presentation that’s designed to take an hour. But, let’s be real. No one is going to sit and dedicate an enter hour to going through it. Stick with the same rule for YouTube – 3 to 5 minutes. If you have a large presentation that just can’t be condensed to that, break it up into series.If you want your business to optimize everything that social media has to offer, you need to have a presence online that takes advantage of all these social media outlets, plus others that fit your business. By doing so, you’ll be able to reach out to the maximum number of potential and current customers, having a huge impact on your business.

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