August 10, 2011 | By:

Making Social Media Work

One of the questions that I consistently receive from the businesses that I talk to is, “I always hear about social media like Facebook and Twitter, but how do I make them work for my company?”. I really love talking about social media because it’s one of the fastest-growing and easiest methods for businesses to get in front of potential customers and clients.

I want to talk here about ways you can use the platforms that most benefit businesses. The social media platforms currently used for businesses are Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. Google Plus just appeared and seems to be taking a small share of Facebook users, however, Google Plus initially removed businesses that tried to create profiles. Google Plus assures us though that due to the high demand, they will be enabling business profiles in the next couple months. See Christian Oestlien from Google’s comment HERE

Facebook is currently the most far-reaching and ubiquitous social network in the world and is one of the most important networks for businesses. Facebook can be used in a number of ways, including posting new products as well as industry-related and relevant information to the clients/customers you’re trying to attract. Facebook is a fun, light platform to push out a message so make sure it’s not boring or overly heavy- but as with any marketing, take into consideration the demographic you’re trying to attract. Keep it interesting and entertaining. The main take-away is: mix it up! Keep your Facebook page on its toes by doing a variety of things and make sure to interact with your followers. The other BIG part of running a successful Facebook page is to go out as your page and interact with other pages in your areas of interest. Are you part of an association or community? Visit their page as your page and interact. Go and like many pages that fall in your same interests and attract the same types of clients/customers that you want. Even go and like competitors.

YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world and you NEED to be on it. Youtube is not just for funny cats and webcam singers! YouTube videos are highly indexable on Google and will get noticed if they are interesting, entertaining and informative. Many businesses are starting to see the major advantage of posting how-to videos, product videos, funny videos and just about any type of video related to their business. Make sure to create a great title, description and relevant tags. Think of what the customers YOU want will be searching for and create tags that hit those points. Create a custom YouTube channel to store your videos and it will serve as a place that interested people can subscribe and leave comments. Make videos that YOU would want to watch.

LinkedIn is important for professionals and B to B’s for a number of reasons. Connecting with and establishing a network of contacts to pull from and interact with has become an invaluable tool for many businesses seeking to form professional relationships. Another good way to utilize LinkedIn is to create and maintain a company “group”. A group is one of the most powerful aspects of LinkedIn and is a great way to share information, create discussions and bring in people that you don’t have a connection with into your group. Grow your network, create thought leadership, share blog posts and get people interested!

Twitter is another social network that is very important in several ways. Twitter is a good way to reach a user base that you might not reach on Facebook. In addition, it lets you get your message out in real-time, albeit in only 140 characters. Create lists, organize followers, and take advantage of Twitter’s automated features. Another useful feature of Twitter is trending topics. From Twitter: “From news stories to the latest buzz about movies, music and more, the trending topics reflect what new or newsworthy topics are occupying most people’s attention on Twitter at any one time”. Be sure to see what’s trending and if it’s relevant to your business in any way, tweet about it and use the topic’s hash tag to take advantage of the trending topic bandwagon.

As with any writing, content creation, and marketing in general, before you hit “Post” on that new article, ask yourself, “Is this something that I would read?”. If the answer is “no”, then you should rethink before posting. The social networks are a great way to generate interest, get leads and build a following, however, just like we always preach in marketing, if you don’t create interesting content, take advantage of new features, and you aren’t active, your efforts may not amount to much. If you get your content polished, learn the social networks and make a habit of using them, you will see fantastic gains.

Jeff Langhammer
Ilfusion Creative

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