5 Easy Social Media Wins for Your Small Business

5 Easy Social Media Wins for Your Small Business.

Why use social media?

The best way to illustrate why small businesses are using social media is with a story. Think back to the days of the wild west. In those days, towns had one general store, and the store owner knew everyone. People trusted him and knew what they were getting. Enter the industrial age, and efficiency trumped personalization. People didn’t mind where they bought from, as long as goods were cheap.

Now, that mentality has changed. Consumers are once again reverting to a need for personalization from businesses large and small. The need has been rekindled by the Internet and our ability to find anything we want, as well as a mistrust of advertising (think used cars salesmen).

We’ve reached a point where the consumer wants to know the store owner’s name and that he can be trusted. Small businesses must look beyond their want to grow into corporations, and instead focus on their core customers. Thanks to social media, we’re able to foster these relationships easily and quickly.

Big Win 1: Local Social Networks

For local businesses with a storefront, sites like Yelp (Yelp) can make a real impact. Yelp allows businesses to create listings with all the necessary information for a consumer to find you, while other customers can review and comment on your business. Many of these sites will let business owners “claim” their listings and add information, such as phone numbers, store hours, menus, etc.
Consumers use local social networks to find businesses, but also to get social proof when making a decision. They use comments and reviews to go with the “best” listing. Because of the demographic these sites target (people ready to make a decision) small businesses can see a great return from local social networks.

Big Win 2: Blog or Social Hub

When most businesses begin a social media campaign, they tend to focus on Facebook (Facebook), Twitter (Twitter), and other social sites. They usually forget to incorporate their own site and tie their social profiles together. Our second big win, is the creation of a blog or social hub. Why push your consumers to connect with you on other sites, but not give them a reason to visit yours?

Building and writing a blog may be time consuming, but it creates a way to connect with users on your own website. Additionally, creating useful content such as how-tos or industry insights can keep customers engaged.
For business owners that don’t have the resources to update their blog regularly or can’t think of what they’d write, I suggest building a “Connect” page. A connect page, or social hub, offers readers a way to find your business’ most active profiles and join you on those social sites. The page could also include a short bio or how you use each social site.

Giving consumers a reason to visit your site is extremely important. A blog or social hub can pull consumers to your site and into the sales funnel.

Big Win 3: Twitter

Everyone is talking about Twitter. So why is it a big win? Simple: it connects you with your consumers in real-time via the web, desktop applications, and even mobile. Finding a way to offer value while humanizing the business can lead to a stronger following and increased word of mouth marketing.

A great example is CoffeeGroundz, a small coffee shop in Houston, Texas. The author of their Twitter account is charismatic and his commitment to customer service has drawn a lot of attention to his business. By being engaging and interacting with the community @CoffeeGroundz has been able to double their clientele.
With Twitter, business owners are able to cater to their consumer’s needs instantaneously. In a world where everything needs to be done yesterday, a quick response can create a lifelong customer.

Big Win 4: Facebook Fan Page

Another major social site to target is Facebook. Creating a Fan Page is simple, but truly utilizing it to its fullest potential takes some guidance.
A Fan Page allows a business to visualize and build a community, similar to Twitter. However, unlike Twitter, you can add and customize a great deal more.

At the very least a business should update their Fan Page “status” to keep consumers informed and engaged. A more advanced technique would be to add things like coupons or Google (Google) maps directions to the storefront. These kind of resources give consumers a reason to visit the Page and interact with the brand.

Big Win 5: Custom Wiki

My final tip is to use a custom wiki, which takes advantage of a phenomenon called crowdsourcing. In other words, use your customers to give information to other consumers.
The easiest way to do this is by creating a wiki for your FAQ or Customer Service knowledge base. Let your consumers enter the problems they’ve had via a public forum (the wiki), and provide your responses publicly as well. Although showing problems may seem backwards, it’s a very effective way to retain customers and generate new sales.

Consumers aren’t stupid, they know that mistakes happen. Instead, they want to see that their questions will be answered quickly. Also, with a public wiki, customers can see if a concern has already been addressed, saving time for both you and the customer.

With minimal moderation, a wiki can build trust in your business and make your customer service more efficient.

9 Ways For Luxury Brands To Use Social Media

9 Ways For Luxury Brands To Use Social Media

I believe luxury brands are the IDEAL brands to be using social media and that social networking, microblogging and online content creation represent big opportunities for these brands to really stand out, improve their customer loyalty, drive sales and, in fact, maintain the image they have worked hard to create for their brands. If this seems like overpromising, keep reading for what I feel are some of the biggest opportunities for luxury brands to use social media:

  1. IMB_RitzCarltonLogo

    Live up to the promise of your brand. In luxury marketing, the brand is critical in creating an emotional attachment that goes beyond just a product or services features. If the value of your brand is built through your attention to service, such as the Ritz Carlton, then how can you use social media tools to reinforce that idea for your customers and live up to it?

  2. Find your biggest fans. Most luxury brands have a steady stable of hardcore fans. Often these are the people who buy the products frequently, but it could just as likely be the enthusiastic aspirational customer who dreams of one day buying your product. Luxury automakers have known this for a long time, using tools like social networking to make sure that teenage boys continue to dream of one day buying a Ferrari, so one day when they can afford one, they might.
  3. Create exclusive experiences. Exclusivity and luxury often go hand in hand. The nice thing about social media is that you have many opportunities to create things like exclusive private networks or special content that is only for customers or VIPs. The added benefit of this is that you can make those individuals feel engaged with the brand in a way that isn’t open to the general public.
  4. Let fans make your brand part of their digital identity. As each of our digital identities moves online, we have new ways of attaching “badges” to our online profiles, becoming “fans” of brands and using other methods to not just connect with brands we love, but to broadcast that affiliation to our entire social networks online.Gucci does a great job of this on Facebook with hundreds of thousands of fans.
  5. Track product or service opportunities. People talk about anything and everything online, and when it comes to the category of business you are in, listening can lead to breakthroughs that you may never have otherwise seen – including what your next product line might be or a new type of service that people are wishing for.
  6. Identify emerging brand crisis or issues. The real time nature of much of social media means that many brands are seeing news of potential product defects or other types of brand crisis break through social media before they show up anywhere else. This alone could justify the effort of more actively listening to what people are saying about your brand online.
  7. Improve retail and/or distribution. Sometimes the challenge in selling a luxury product or service has less to do with what you have and more about where you sell it. When it comes to deciding markets to focus on, many luxury brands simply focus on large metro markets – but social media can help you identify unlikely markets that might offer golden opportunities.
  8. Prove customer base and demand. Part of the challenge for any luxury brand, particularly one that is less established or newer, is proving that there is enough customer passion and interest in the brand to warrant being stocked or sold through more mainstream distribution channels. Having a strong base of support through social media can help you get past this hurdle and demonstrate to a buyer that your brand is worth the risk.
  9. Share live events more broadly. Often exclusive events are a core part of how many luxury brands connect with their customers. These are, by necessity, closed and focused on smaller groups – but social media could offer a way to let an equally exclusive subgroup participate in the event (or see an archive after the fact).

via Influential Marketing Blog: 9 Ways For Luxury Brands To Use Social Media.

Live: Analytics For Social Media

Live: Analytics For Social Media

via Search Engine Roundtable: Search Marketing Expo 2009 East Archives.

Below is live coverage of the Analytics For Social Media from the SMX East 2009 conference.

This coverage is provided by Keri Morgret of Strike Models.

We are using a live blogging tool to provide the real time coverage, please excuse any typos. You can also interact with us and while we are live blogging, so feel free to ask us questions as we blog. We will publish the archive below after the session is completed.

SEO tips for Facebook and Twitter

SEO tips for Facebook and Twitter – iMediaConnection.com.

In the constantly changing environment of social media marketing, brands and agencies are frequently asking themselves how to measure the success of online campaigns. There are different answers, of course, depending on the goals of those campaigns. One marketer might view the total number of Facebook fans as the end-all metric, but his client might be concerned only with converting Facebook page visitors into new sales.

Even though they duke out the details, marketers will all likely agree that no matter what, they will have to drive traffic to the page. And for now at least, the big search engines remain one of the best ways to get eyeballs.

Traditional search marketing holds that there are two ways to get search engine traffic. The first is to pay for it via pay-per-click advertising, and the second is to earn the traffic with optimal search engine placement. In the earned search marketing business of search engine optimization (SEO), a Facebook fan page is merely a web page, just like any other, except that it has the built-in benefit of residing on a very powerful domain. The same goes for YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Smart optimization, combined with the strong domains that house them, can propel your social media pages to the top of search engine results for relevant searches.

Social media marketers and SEOs should work together to optimize profile pages, fan pages, channels, etc., to give them the best chances for ranking well. Google and other search engines apply all the same rules to social media pages that they apply to any other page, so understanding the basic guidelines of SEO can have a significant impact in the traffic you are able to drive to your social media assets.

SEO can be broken down into architecture (the way a page is built), content (what appears on the page), and linking (inbound hyperlinks from external sources). Since most social media sites give very little control over the architecture of the page, you will usually be left with linking and content as the only elements that can be changed.

With that in mind, here are tips for optimizing your Facebook and Twitter initiatives, as well as some brands that are getting it right.

Next page >>

5 simple changes to get better social media results

How is your social media marketing working for you?

If you are struggling or finding that your social media efforts are not paying off for you like you would like, then its time to make some changes.

Here are five simple things you can do to get better results.

1. Focus on one social media site for the next 90 days. This may seem too simple but the reality is that sometimes a lack of focus can be affecting your ability to make money and grow your business with social media.

2. Focus on building your list with social media. Are your social media activities generating at least five new signups to your email list a day? If not, then you are not giving your contacts and other people you meet via social media enough chances to join your list.

3. Do some research. What is your target market and those you come in contact with via social media looking for? Are they looking to buy what you are selling? If not, these is a major problem and you need to find ways to change your offerings to match what those people you meet through social media are looking for and what they will pay for?

4. Are you offering too much information? Yes, it is possible that you could be offering too much. By overwhelming people with too much information or trying to hard to sell people you can be turning them off and this can have drastic effects on your social media marketing results.

5. What can you change or do differently? Make a list of all of the things you could try that might work better for you and then commit to working on one of them. Some examples include: marketing more on facebook with a fan page instead of your profile, using more than one twitter account, combining two blogs into one, changing one of your websites into a blog, etc.

thanks to 5 simple changes to get better social media results.


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