Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

#1 Connecting With Customers – 10 Ways Small Business Can Use Social Media to Save Time

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Social Media has become one of the greatest assets a small business has. Social Media gives small businesses the power to connect and educate their consumers free of charge, an ability that until recently was restricted to large corporations with a large PR budget. However, despite the power of Social Media, many small businesses have not yet taken advantage of this tool. Time is the most valuable asset small business owners have, and they are far from ready to ‘waste’ it on Social Media.

At 3wCommunications we understand how valuable your time is; we also understand the value of Social Media and what it can do for your company. In order to help you take advantage of the power of Social Media, we will be posting 10 articles on how small business can use Social Media to save time. Each article will lead into the next and ultimately provide a formula for how best to utilize Social Media in your business. The following is the first article from this series.

When most small business owners hear the words “Social Media,” their first thought is that it’s a waste of time. Facebook is the place you go to play Farmville while your boss isn’t looking. YouTube is where you head when you have five minutes to spare and need a good laugh so you watch the “Jackass” video a few more times. Twitter is where you end up when you want to commiserate about the Phillies’ latest trade decisions, or to catch up on Real Housewives or New Jersey gossip.

Is it possible that these sinkholes of productivity could actually save you time? Yes, and in this report we’re going to show you 10 ways to leverage Social Media to make your life better, complete your tasks more quickly, and have more time for the things that matter (like a Plants vs. Zombies marathon – just kidding!).

These days, business is all about relationships. We buy a car from the guy our neighbor’s brother recommended. We hire the contractor our mother’s accountant used. We go see the movies that everyone on Twitter talks about. So finding ways to take business relationships beyond transactional is a sure-fire way to cement yourself in the minds of your customers or clients.

Social Media – blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the like – are all ways to connect with people. And if you can use these tools to establish and enhance your relationships with your audience, you’ve got a leg up on your customers. Here are a few examples:

  • The yarn store owner who tweets her new customer to ask how the new sweater is coming along…
  • The car salesman who leaves a link for $10 off an oil change on a customer’s Facebook wall…
  • The homeschool curriculum vendor who records a short video showing how to set up a classroom in the home in a back bedroom…
  • The golf instructor who holds a Skype party during the Masters…

The possibilities are as vast as the world of Internet business. You will notice some commonalities between the ideas above:

    1. 1. They’re relevant. They are directly applicable to the niche or industry you’re in (the golf instructor, for instance, isn’t sending out oil change coupons; the yarn store owner isn’t hosting a Masters chat).

 

    1. 2. They’re personal. Each interaction connects with the audience in a manner beyond a simple “buy my stuff” way.

 

    1. 3. They’re useful. Each interaction provides value to the recipient. In some cases, it’s a dollar savings (the coupon); in others, it’s information (the video and the sweater inquiry). And even the Skype party is useful in terms of entertainment. The recipient is better off for having taken part in the interaction.

 

    1. 4. They’re free. They don’t cost anything to the small business owner.

 

    1. 5. They’re relatively low on the time-investment scale. A tweet or Facebook post takes seconds; the video, a bit longer, actually saves time in the long run as the vendor is answering a question he or she receives over and over again. The Skype party takes place during an event the golf instructor was going to watch anyway.

 

As you can see, Social Media provides ways to reach your customers on an intimate level quickly and inexpensively. People want to be treated as individuals, not as numbers, and Social Media provides a way to do that without spending your whole life on the phone.

Social Media also has the power to educate your customers with little cost to you, which is the subject of our 2nd article in this series, 10 Ways Small Business Can Use Social Media to Save Time.

Top SEO Techniques for Promoting Your Facebook Page

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Setting up a Facebook Fan Page for your business or website can be a wonderful tool that will bring you lots of new visitors. Once the page is set up, there are two things that will give it good exposure – an extensive network of fans and proper search engine optimization (SEO).

Expert marketers use several different techniques to make Facebook Pages rank high in the search engine results.

The key to having good SEO for your Facebook Page lies in figuring out the top keywords that someone would search for online in order to find your business. This process of “keyword analysis” is what will ultimately make your page come up when people look for that topic. For instance, if you have a Facebook Page that talks about wine tours in Spain, then your list of top keywords must include “wine tours Spain,” “tour of wineries in Spain,” “Spanish wineries tour,” “wine tasting tour in Spain,” and “popular wine tours Spain.” When you figure out a list of all your top keywords, you can then strategically set up your Facebook Page’s SEO.

Your Facebook page title

Use your company’s most important keywords in your title. This will help people find you through Facebook’s search feature as well as in search engines such as Google and Bing. Ideally, the title will be short and descriptive, letting visitors know at first glance what your page is about. Having a good title with descriptive keywords will make your page more popular, thus allowing you to build a strong fan base.

Choose a custom URL

Having a custom URL is important for achieving high rankings in the search engines for any web page. Facebook automatically generates a web address (URL) for your fan page, but you can edit it to include specific keywords. Using our previous example, it can be something like http://www.facebook.com/SpainWineTours. Notice that the URL is brief but descriptive and memorable at the same time. It includes a few of your top keywords that are very specific to the topic you are trying to rank for.

‘About You’ box and ‘Info’ tab

Filling out the ‘About You’ box and the ‘Info’ tab will not only tell visitors what you are about, but will also help you rank better in search engines.

The ‘About You’ box is on the left side of the screen – it appears below your profile picture. It only allows a few short sentences so be sure to add a solid description with a few keywords. Along with that, Facebook also allows you to include a link back to your main website or blog. Your ‘Info’ tab is where you can give out as much information about your company as you would like. Good things to cover here are your areas of expertise, any awards that you may have won, achievements, and any qualifications that may impress the visitor. Here, again, you can add a link back to your website or blog. Fill out the ‘Basic Info’ area as much as you can, and use the ‘Detailed Info’ section to add your web address and a keyword-rich description.

Link-Building for your Facebook Page

Be sure to add a Facebook icon to your company’s website or blog with a link going back to your Facebook Page. You can also link back to your Facebook Page on other social media sites, discussion forums, blogs and online directories, which ultimately builds up your page’s reputation in the eyes of the search engines.

Link-building is very important for SEO, and the more links you can acquire from high-quality websites, the better. This link-generation process should be included in your search engine optimization campaign, as it will play a major role in bringing more fans back to your page.

Why it is Important to Participate in Social Media Marketing

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Many business owners already have personal accounts on one of the four largest social networking sites – Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or Twitter. Many of them are already involved in “social media marketing,” on a personal level – connecting with classmates, college friends, relatives, acquaintances and anyone else they can think of. The process is actually quite similar when it comes to utilizing these social networks for business purposes.

Today most large corporations have a powerful online presence and can afford to hire full-time social media managers to run all of their networks for them. Smaller companies are well aware of the fact that being involved in social media is important, but they simply don’t have the time to become experts at social media marketing; after all, they have their own businesses to take care of each day.

You might not be able to build huge networks overnight, but if you start small, you can eventually build long lists of contacts and enjoy all the same benefits of social media marketing that large corporation do.

The best thing about social media is that it’s very flexible. You can mold it to be whatever you want. If you are just getting started with social marketing for your business, here are a few things you can do:

  • Set up an account on each of the most popular social networks; this way your customers can find you and befriend you.
    These profiles require little maintenance but allow you to see what your clients are talking about online, participate in conversations, and learn more about their tastes.

  • Search for your existing customers and connect with them on these social networks.
    Start with your best clients and work your way from there.

  • Provide valuable content by posting messages on a weekly or daily basis.
    If you are a house-cleaning business, post information on home cleaning tips and other useful advice. If people like it, they will send it to their friends and re-post it elsewhere. This will make their friends want to get to know you better.

  • Get involved in conversations.
    People who regularly use social networks don’t expect lengthy conversations from you; so short (but personable) messages will get the ball rolling. This is where you can build relationships with your customers and win their loyalty.

Social media marketing can be a very powerful tool; companies use it to increase their brand awareness, promote new products, build reputation, and so much more. Don’t miss out on this tremendous opportunity to reach out to your clients online; instead, see for yourself what it can do for your business.

4 Ways to Master Social Media Marketing

Monday, August 9th, 2010

In the August issue of Inc. Magazine there is a terrific article on social media marketing called “4 Ways to Master Social Media Marketing.” The basic theme of the article is that social media is no longer an option; rather, it is a necessity.

According to Nielsen, 79% of large businesses are using social media “to engage their audience…build buzz, establish relationships, foster communication…and cultivate long-term brand awareness and consumer trust.”

The article claims that it doesn’t matter what type of company you are or how much experience you have. All you need is to learn a few simple rules. “Social media is not so much a new idea as it is a way to communicate ideas, and the nature of a good idea hasn’t changed. The same marketing principles from 50 years ago apply today; they are simply communicated in a different way.”

This is a very good article that offers concrete suggestions on how to use social media. There are four “take aways” that you can immediately utilize in your own business.

  • Raise Brand Awareness
  • Drive Valuable Traffic
  • Grow Consumer Loyalty
  • Build Brand Equity

In addition, the article gives a handful of very valuable examples of successful social media campaigns from which we can all learn.

Top 10 Social Networking Sites

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Here are the Top 10 Social Networking sites that drive the most traffic, as per Vertical Measures blog post. OK, so there are really 16; who’s counting? This is mandatory reading! Check out these sites and decide which ones make the most sense for your online marketing strategy.

1. LinkedIn

2. Merchant Circle

3. Facebook

4. Twitter

5. Yelp

6. Plaxo

7. Fast Company

8. MyWikiBiz

9. Ecademy

10. Spoke

11. 123People

12. BxBusinessWeek

13. Fast Pitch Networking

14. ZoomInfo

15. Google Profile

16. Naymz