Social Marketing / Social Networking

I am sure you have heard a lot of talk about social networking / social marketing on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You might be wondering: "is this right for my business?" The answer is... maybe. It will depend on what your business offers, who your target market is, and if your industry allows for sharing information on a regular basis.

First off - what is social networking? Social networking or marketing is basically getting people together, online, who have a common interest. This could be for personal use such as families or people you went to school with, or it could be for business, such as fans of a restaurant or retail shop.

Several of you may already be on Facebook to connect with family members and old friends. But you may not have taken advantage of this new marketing media for your business. Let’s look at why you might want to consider adding social networking sites to your marketing plan.

1) Search engines, such as Google, index Facebook and Twitter pages. This gives you another opportunity to be included in the search engine index. This always provides a way to promote your site for more search terms. Your posts can also improve your link popularity, if you include links to your site.

2) People are not only using Facebook to search for old friends, but they are also using it to search for products and services. By having a page on Facebook, you increase the chances of people finding you.

3) Once you have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, you can encourage people to become fans or to follow you. Then, whenever you post something on Facebook or Twitter, it is sent or "pushed" to your fans and followers. This saves them from having to go looking for information... instead, it just appears for them. A good analogy would be a TV commercial: you are watching your favorite show, and suddenly you are learning about a new cleaning product. You were not out looking for it, but now you know about it and may buy it the next time you are shopping.

"OK, this sounds good and all, but how can I use these sites?" Well, here are some ideas.

At a minimum you can use these sites for press releases to announce new products/services, awards you have won, new employees, anything new that is happening in your business.

A job recruiter could announcement new job openings.

A consulting firm could post tips and upcoming classes.

A restaurant or bar could announce specials for that day or even for the next hour.

A retail store could have a last minute sale.

A manufacturer  or builder could post images of their latest projects.

Use your imagination and do some testing to see what inspires people.

One very important and often overlooked thing to consider: like any other media used for marketing, your Facebook or Twitter page affects the professional image of your business. It must be treated like you would any other marketing campaign. Check your spelling and grammar. Resist the temptation to combine your "online" business life with your personal life. Keep your personal Facebook page as separate from your business Facebook page as possible. I don’t know about you, but personally I wouldn’t come away with a very good impression of a business whose post extolling their business expertise was followed by a post from the business owner detailing how he was late to work today because he stayed out too late the night before drinking.

Virtualtech can assist you with setting up a Facebook or Twitter account and help brainstorm for what you can post.  Give Tammy a call to learn more.

Use the links below to view Virtualtech’s pages and to become a fan.

April 1, 2010

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