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Posts Tagged ‘Online Communities’

TRUST, A Social Media Missing Link!?

Having a Facebook Page WILL NOT bring instant sales.

Twitter WILL NOT triple your Web traffic overnight.

A press release WILL NOT get journalists banging down your door.

Harsh truths, I know, but ones that need to be heard. The problem with small businesses and marketing is they want instant coffee. They want to see a spike in sales or Web traffic instantly, and that simply doesn’t happen unless you’re the Old Spice guy. Freshly showered men aside, all your marketing efforts should lead to one thing:  T-R-U-S-T.

Why Trust Is Important

Is trust necessary? Not really. You could sell a thousand widgets to a thousand people and never see them again. Or you could work to build trust with these customers, and rely on them to become your brand evangelists, to let them tell others how great you are because you’re a trustworthy company. Let them blog, tweet and share their love on Facebook.

Trust keeps customers coming back. If what you sell costs a lot of money, it gives them the confidence to drop the $100, $1,000 or $10,000 on your product or service.

How to Build Trust

Every component of marketing is about trust-building, if done properly.

  • Social Media. Face it: You probably haven’t bought much from brands on Twitter just because they’re there. If a brand you’re following is having a promotion, you might click the link and buy. But that’s promotion. Not marketing. So your role in social media is to use it as a channel to build trust. Create conversations, whether they’re related to your industry or not. Share relevant links, even if they’re not from your own blog. Interact. Give people a reason to seek your brand out on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Press Releases. Sometimes trust is just about being there consistently. Putting out a press release each month can go a long way to say, “Hey! We’re still here doing awesome things.” And while journalists may not be clamoring to publish your news, searching for keywords that lead them to one press release after another from your brand certainly shows that you’re consistent. And consistency is one of the cornerstones of a healthy relationship, is it not?
  • Blogger Relations. If you’re smart enough to be working with bloggers to spread the word about your products or services, kudos. But how you work with them can have just as much impact on your brand as what they think of the product. First off, pay your bloggers. Their time is as valuable as yours. But be there for them too. Make sure they know you’re partners in the blogger outreach campaign you’re working on, and make sure to address any questions or concerns they have before they post. If you build that trust, they’ll go beyond the call of duty for the campaign and talk about your brand on all the social channels, resulting in bonus play for you.

Now WHAT!?

If I’ve put you into a tailspin, don’t worry. Keep doing what you’re doing in marketing, but shift your thinking.  Don’t focus on how many (or few) website visitors that last Facebook contest netted. Instead look at how you built the trust of hundreds of loyal fans. If they are engaged in what you’re doing, you’re successfully building that trust. Keep it up, and those relationships will come to fruition.

Think You Are LinkedIn? Think Again!

It’s no secret that social networks have quickly become one of the most utilized spaces online to learn about new businesses and retrieve company information.  Many marketing experts would agree that a company’s presence on Facebook is almost as important as maintaining a website.  Networking through Facebook and Twitter gets the word out about products and services at a much faster pace than website traffic alone.  In addition, these social networks are accountable for a high percentage of traffic to start-up websites that may never see the light of day otherwise.

With a high percentage of businesses utilizing Twitter and Facebook to grow their customer-base, it may seem a bit odd that LinkedIn (the social network for business networking) has yet to develop a highly effective space for obtaining business information and reviewing companies at a broader level.  LinkedIn started rolling out new features in this department as of late 2010.  However, it seems that many companies, especially B2B products and services, are still unaware of this new marketing opportunity.  Here’s the scoop on business marketing through LinkedIn, then and now.

Then: Business Profile

1. The Face Behind The Brand: Start a personal profile on LinkedIn if you haven’t already: www.linkedin.com

2. Gain Exposure: Claim your business page and fill out the pertinent information. Be sure to use your business email since this is how LinkedIn determines administrative access to edit your page later.

3. Get Referrals: Recommend that your employees start profiles if they haven’t already.  We all love referrals.

Now: Products & Services

The products & services tab is one of the most important new features for LinkedIn Business Marketing.

  • Company Summary – Add a short summary about your company.
  • Slideshow – Add 3 large slides of photos, text, graphics
  • YouTube video – Add a video that represents your business.
  • Products/Services – Add an individual list of products and service offerings.
  • Reviews – Request reviews. LinkedIn community members now have the ability to review a businesses products and services.  Businesses are able to request a review from a customer/client who maintains a LinkedIn account.

Next: Promote

Much like any other website, it’s best to look for ways to promote your page on the outside.  This will encourage new visitors to visit your page, review your products/services and follow your company updates. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

  • Add a LinkedIn button to your website/blog alongside your Twitter and Facebook buttons.
  • Send out an email to current customers and clients requesting recommendations with a link to your new page.
  • Update your personal LinkedIn status with “just redesigned our LinkedIn page, check it out: [link to your company’s LinkedIn page]”
  • Add LinkedIn’s “Recommend” button to your website.  Instructions can be found here.

Utilizing LinkedIn for Business is a no-brainer, especially for B2B companies.  Recommendations from trusted friends, family and peers is arguably the best marketing strategy out there.  LinkedIn’s new products/services review feature enables word-of-mouth communication for the masses.

 

Don’t Fool Yourself!

Almost every day, I hear a business owner talking about how they resist or refuse to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter or other popular social media platforms.

And almost everyone of them suggests that social media is just a fad that will pass.

They are in good company.

Movie producer Darryl Zanuck predicted in 1946 that people would get tired of watching a television every night. Variety magazine predicted the death of rock and roll by June, 1955. Time magazine wrote off e-commerce in 1966, decades before it existed.

If you really think social media is not an important part of basic marketing today, you are fooling yourself.

There are tons of resources that will show you how to effectively use social media marketing, no matter what industry you are in. Start learning now. Find out what works and what doesn’t. And, most of all, establish at least a presence on all the popular platforms.

If you don’t have the time to learn it yourself, hire someone to fast-track your learning or handle it for you.

One word of caution: as with anything new, there are suddenly tons of so-called “gurus” out there. Make sure you at least ask around and try to identify the real experts from the charlatans before you spend any money,

Stress Relief from the Social Media World!

Have you found yourself stressed out by maintaining your personal or small business Facebook or Twitter accounts? If so, you’re not alone. Many of the active social media users I know have gone through that feeling at one time.

This is actually a normal feeling. Anthropologist Amber Case talks about this during her presentation at a TedX event in Washington, DC. She compares our collective online profiles to having a “second self”:

“Whether you like it or not, you’re starting to show up online, and people are interacting with your second self when you’re not there. And so you have to be careful about leaving your front line open, which is basically your Facebook wall, so that people don’t write on it in the middle of the night — because it’s very much the equivalent. And suddenly we have to start to maintain our second self. You have to present yourself in digital life in a similar way that you would in your analog life. So, in the same way that you wake up, take a shower and get dressed, you have to learn to do that for your digital self. And the problem is that a lot of people now… have to go through two adolescencies. They have to go through their primary one, that’s already awkward, and then they go through their second self’s adolescence. And that’s even more awkward because there’s an actual history of what they’ve gone through online. And anybody coming in new to technology, is an adolescent online right now. And so it’s very awkward, and it’s very difficult for them to do those things.”

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help you get this “second self” under control so that it causes you less anxiety:

1.       Use lists – Just like in real life, you likely have some friends in social media that you interact with more than others. Both Twitter and Facebook will allow you to create lists that will help you manage people. I have special lists for different segments of my audience, as well as for those who are close to me.

2.       Hide content – Once you have a sizeable following on Facebook, your newsfeed can get overwhelming. Many people don’t realize that you can hide games or even certain people on their Facebook wall to cut through the noise. Here’s how.

3.       Set limits – One thing that helps some people tremendously is setting specific periods of time to tend to social media interactions. Others have more luck when they set specific times to NOT interact on social media. You can try each approach to see what works best for you.

4.       Know you don’t have to do it all – Some people feel like they need to look at every status update or tweet their friends and followers post. This is unrealistic. Just as you don’t have time to hear what everyone has to say all the time in your regular life, you can’t possibly follow what everyone has to say online. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t keep up with everything,

5.       Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from your social media savvy friends.

10 Tips for getting the most of out social networks for business

  1. Tweet/Facebook every day – at least once a day on Facebook, a few times a day on Twitter. Don’t overdo it on Facebook – people will ‘unike’ you or hide you!
  2. Don’t sell sell sell. Instead chat, interact, respond, RT, ask questions, and always be relevant.
  3. Follow back on Twitter – don’t be seen to be too important to follow back (just like in our everyday ‘offline’ world, people do not like being ignored and like to be noticed)
  4. Always thank your followers if they RT one of your tweets, always!
  5. Use a good application for tweeting, eg: Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, so you can set up relevant columns, to make it easier to not miss what you deem to be important tweets, like when someone ‘mentions’ you, DM’s you – do your very best to never miss these and always respond – always
  6. It’s ok to ‘sell’ yourself, every now and then, but not straight away, build a good list of followers first, build that rapport and trust – ask questions, answer questions and when the time is right, or if the subject comes up – sell, but do it ‘gently’ and in a friendly way
  7. If you blog, tweet your blog post, facebook your blog post, don’t miss the opportunity to spread the word
  8. If you have a Facebook page make sure you change the default setting from ‘Just Your Biz Facebook Page’ to ‘Your Biz Facebook Page & Others’ – there is nothing worse for somebody ‘Liking’ a new Facebook page only to be greeted by nothing other than what the page owner has pushed (and that’s what it looks like – being pushy) – ‘Likers’ want to feel part of a community, and see what they have said, what others have said, and then what you’ve said! They also want to see you responding to Likers questions & comments. Oh actually, there is something worse than seeing ‘Just Your Biz Facebook Page’, and that is when you click to ‘Your Biz Facebook Page & Others’ and see absolutely no interaction, posts or replies from the owner of the Facebook page – to me this is complete and utter ignorance – what goes through my mind is “they don’t get it”.
  9. Learn about FourSquare and start using it, and understanding how it can help your business.
  10. Finally, be patient (and don’t worry about the numbers, it’s about quality, not quantity) – it takes a while to build your network – at least 3 months to start getting traction, and put in the time, it’s worth it.