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Posts Tagged ‘social media tips’

Top 15 Social Media Tweets for 2017

Posted by advantagemarketing on August 1, 2017

Top 15 Social Media Tweets for 2017Social media can be tricky to navigate due to the ever-changing features, networks and guidelines. Here are some of my top social media Tweets to help you make the most of your efforts.

Simple Solutions to Common Marketing Challenges – http://ow.ly/N4l630dujdP

Three Keys to Better Social Media Engagement – http://ow.ly/u3Mb30dujf3

Demographics of the Top 7 Social Networks [Infographic] – http://ow.ly/5P2U30dujkB

Three Keys to Better Social Media Engagement – http://ow.ly/h6LV30acnki

How LinkedIn Uses LinkedIn for Marketing [Infographic] – http://ow.ly/v0wQ309C28L

Social Media Tools That Can Free Up Your Time –  http://ow.ly/HEVi309C1V6

How to Build a Smart Yet Simple Social Media Marketing Plan [Template] – http://ow.ly/nWw630acnYv

How to Maximize Your Facebook Reach – http://ow.ly/EZLP30acpgM

The Most Popular Social Networks with Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers – http://ow.ly/X55b30acnLI

12 Personalized Email Examples You Can’t Help but Click – http://ow.ly/bV9z30acnz1

Which Social Media Platforms Are Right for Your Business? – http://ow.ly/vtey309C2VB

Want to get more out of your social media content? Wondering how you can save time and increase engagement? 5 Ways to Repurpose Your Popular Social Media Posts – http://ow.ly/aoKf3085QHR

Five Ways for B2Bs to Tap into Social – Experts offer tips for wary participants – http://ow.ly/80Ez30acoGg

Four Powerful Groups of B2B Brand Advocates on Social Media, and Five Tools You Can Use – http://ow.ly/nUGe30dujZ4

4 Steps to an Unforgettable Social Media Strategy for B2B Companies – http://ow.ly/N1Pt30drJSu

Posted in Social media coaching, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

5 Marketing Hacks You Need Now

Posted by advantagemarketing on July 28, 2016

It’s the middle of summer – the perfect time to try one or more of these five marketing hacks to refresh your marketing efforts!

  1. Syndicate Old ContentTime for tips and tricks concept with red word and sign printed on a clock face.

    Once you create a piece of content, push it out to social media, and follow up with your initial rounds of commenters, most brands consider that source “tapped,” and never revisit it again. In some cases, this is necessary—especially if the article is news-based or otherwise temporary in nature. But if the article is evergreen, it will hold a permanent value. Why let this value sit idly on your blog when you could continue tapping it periodically for long-term dividends? Keep a list of your old evergreen content pieces, and re-syndicate them occasionally. This will generate new interest from new followers, and may be valuable to older followers who didn’t see it the first time around. Read More

  2. Use Custom Landing Pages

    Building a landing page takes time and effort, but they’re far more useful when they exist as a cluster. Each individual landing page should serve a highly specialized purpose, targeting a niche audience and serving one specific need; this allows you to refine the small details of your approach to cater to one specific type of conversion at a time. But beyond that, you’ll need to create multiple versions of each functional landing page, splitting your strategy even further into variants. The goal here is to compare and contrast how all your different landing pages perform, giving you more data and more user insights you can use to speed up the development of your campaign. Read More

  3. Create a Google My Business Page

    This is a great way to boost your online visibility. This listing will make your business easy to find on Google Search and Google Maps. It will also allow Google+ users to easily review your business. As local business reviews increase, your search engine rankings will also improve. It would also be a good idea to add your business to the Yahoo Local listing. Read More

  4. Curate Content for Social Media

    In order to build a loyal following on social media, you need to be considered a consistent source of high-quality content from a variety of sources that either informs, entertains, inspires or helps your followers whenever they see it. Ideally the content you will curate and share should meet more than one (if not all) of those criteria. You need to find other companies and social media users who are sharing quality content in your niche. Once you find them, you can re-share the things that they’ve shared and benefit from all the work they’ve put in to creating or finding that great content. Read More

  5. Make Your CTA Painfully Obvious

    Before you begin implementing any type of content marketing strategy for your company, the most important thing you need to decide is what you want your website visitors to do while they are there. Because we are consuming information faster than ever before, we are all the more likely to ignore the more subtle marketing messages we might encounter online. That’s why it’s so important that bloggers and business owners include a clear call to action as frequently as possible while still feeling natural and logical within the content. Read More

Share your favorite marketing hack with us.

Posted in Business, content marketing, Marketing, marketing hacks, small business, Social media marketing, Traditional marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

7 Twitter Tips You Need To Know Now

Posted by advantagemarketing on April 9, 2015

Put these tips to work today to build your company’s Twitter presence and increase awareness of your brand.

Put these tips to work today to build your company’s Twitter presence and increase awareness of your brand.

Is Twitter in your marketing tool kit? It should be. Twitter allows your company to gain more traffic, gather more leads, and generate more customers. Here are some tips from HubSpot to help you make full use of what Twitter has to offer:

1. Create a keyword searchable bio

In the bio section of your profile, include commonly searched terms and hashtags to increase the number of times that your page will show up in search results. This generates more traffic and makes your profile easier to access.

2. Use eye-catching images

Including images in your tweets will make them stand out and catch the attention of more users, generating more leads for your business. Most users scroll quickly through their timeline, and only stop to read the tweets that look interesting, so including a picture will drive more engagement from Twitter users. The ideal size for an image is 1024 x 512 pixels.

3. Include GIFs

For the same reasons as tip #2, including GIFs in your tweets will tremendously upgrade your Twitter arsenal. GIFs that are embedded into tweets are converted into MP4s and play automatically. This is another great way to catch the attention of potential leads.

4. Include hashtags related to your content

Having commonly searched hashtags will help your tweet to be seen in more search results, but it’s important to not be obnoxious about it. One or two simple hashtags included on each tweet is the perfect way to generate more traffic and reach a wider audience.

5. Keep tweets short

Keep it short and to the point. Tweets with 100-120 characters generate a lot more clicks and engagement than tweets with 140 characters. Most users only skim these tweets, so keep them as succinct as possible without sacrificing content.

6. Curate Twitter lists to segment users

Twitter Lists helps you to organize users into groups. This can best be used to build strategic connections by allowing you to sort users that you are most interested in engaging with. Twitter lists can be also used to follow a separate group of users from those you follow. This is a valuable resource for targeting the users that you want to reach out to.

7. Engage with your audience consistently

Keeping your tweets interesting is only half the battle. Keeping your tweets consistent is the key to gaining new leads. We recommend that you send around five tweets a day, to stay relevant and reach the widest audience possible.

Put these tips to work today to build your company’s Twitter presence and increase awareness of your brand.

Posted in brand building, content marketing, Marketing Strategy, Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

How Can Your Small Business Benefit From Pinterest?

Posted by advantagemarketing on March 18, 2014

PinterestBy guest blogger Laura Carter

So what exactly is Pinterest, how does it work, and why is it important to your small business? According to the insight firm Semiocast, Pinterest now has over 70 million registered users, 70% of which are active users in the U.S.  These numbers have helped Pinterest join the likes of Twitter, Google, and Facebook in becoming a major player in the social media market.

The content on Pinterest has grown tremendously over the past year and is no longer just recipes and do-it-yourself projects. Large and small businesses alike are realizing that it is a valuable tool for promoting business and driving sales.  In fact, studies have shown that Pinterest is responsible for over 41% of e-commerce traffic from social networking sites.

How does Pinterest work?

Pinterest differs from other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, in that it is primarily an image-based social media platform. It is a collection of your favorite images, quotes, products, recipes, and more that you “pin” to a virtual pin board and can reference at any time. When you use Pinterest for your small business,  you can pin your awards, project photos, books, sales notices,  or products for everyone to see.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Keep Boards Neat and Organized

It is crucial to pin dynamic, visually appealing photos that are high quality, colorful and relevant to your business. These images also need to be organized into specific boards. For example, if you are an architect,, you should have one board for homes you’ve designed, one for commercial buildings, and so on. Be sure to add links in the descriptions of pins and use hashtags to increase visibility. Choose eye-catching images for board covers that are representative of the pins on that particular board. Take the time to build up your page and choose pictures that inspire you and contribute to the overall authenticity of your page.

Make Your Website Pin Friendly

If your business already sees significant traffic, increase your Pinterest audience by making it pin friendly. Add “Pin It” buttons to all of your content. Doing this makes it easier for visitors to pin your pages and share them with their friends.

If you want to increase your website traffic, Pinterest can be a powerful way to direct new visitors to your site.  Have Pinterest-friendly, hyperlinked content on your boards to lead viewers from Pinterest back to your website.

Engagement Is Key  

As with all social media, engagement is important. Take the time to curate and pin images that are relevant. Follow “Pinterest etiquette” and don’t pin too much all at once since this will clog your followers’ feed and look insincere. Instead, try pinning images twice a day. Morning (10-11a.m.) and late evening (9p.m.-midnight) seem to be the best times for the majority of brands to pin.

Get active in the community and like, comment, and re-pin others’ content. Also answer questions and comments that others leave on your boards.  This will create a sense of genuine networking and will help build relationships with current and prospective customers.

With its own spin on social networking, and the advances and changes made to accommodate business accounts in 2013, Pinterest is proving successful for many small businesses.

Let us know how Pinterest is working for you by posting a comment in the Comments section.

Posted in Business, lead generation, Marketing, Marketing plans, Marketing Strategy, Pinterest, small business, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Miss Out: Read Our 7 Top Posts from 2013

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 15, 2013

most popular marketing posts

Did you miss these top posts for 2013? It’s not too late to check them out!

Did you miss any of our best posts during 2013?

You can catch up here – these seven posts were particularly popular with Marketing Advantage readers.

(And we’d love to know what your favorite Marketing Advantage post was in 2013. Just leave a quick comment below to tell us.)

7 Ideas for Attracting Customers

I gave a talk recently to the Just Think B.I.G., Bernardsville, NJ, group about marketing tactics that attract customers. Many of the women business owners present knew their product or service really well, but didn’t always know how to attract the attention of prospective customers.

Marketing is all about getting people to know, like and then trust you. There are many ways to do this; here are the seven ideas I spoke about… Read more

23 Sales and Marketing Ideas for 2013

At a recent Executive Exchange Inc. meeting, business owners talked about how they will boost their sales and marketing efforts in 2013. Here are some ideas that were discussed… Read more

How to Market Your Business with an eBook

Less expensive than producing a “traditional” book, electronic books (or “eBooks”) exist in various formats, including MS Word files, Adobe Acrobat pdf files (one of the most popular formats) and HTML files (which can be read using a web browser). You might even consider converting your book to the ePub format, which is becoming a standard for e-readers… Read more

Does Social Media Fit in Your Professional Services Marketing Plan?
“How can we use social media?”

That’s a question I often get from partners and owners of professional service firms. They think social media is something they should be paying attention to, yet they are unsure where to start, or even if they should start, using it.

For retailers and other businesses that market products entirely to consumers, social media marketing – through Facebook, Twitter or even YouTube – has become accepted practice. It lets them to get closer to their customers, provide better service and earn positive word of mouth.  But what about professional service firms? Is there value for you in social networking? If so, which of the many social media tools is relevant for you? Read more

How Professional Service Firms Can Get Started in Social Media

In my last post, I wrote about how social media can help professional service firms become thought leaders for their target clients. I also talked about how to choose the most relevant social media for your firm.

Here’s a simple framework for fitting social media into your firm’s marketing plan. Think of three interactive segments that build on each other to benefit your practice: tried and true tactics, conscious outreach, and cutting edge tactics. With this framework in mind, you can choose the tactics from each segment that fit your firm’s culture, level of marketing expertise, and target market… Read more

15 Tips for Creating Engaging Content

Content rules. Whether you’re tweeting, writing blog posts, or contributing to a LinkedIn group discussion, it is content that drives conversations and connects your professional services firm to its social network. But creating content that your audience will want to read can be challenging. à Read more

29 Marketing Tactics for Building Know, Like, Trust – and Try

Is summer a quiet time for your business? Then it’s time to rev up your lead generation machine! Put one or more of these proven marketing tactics to work now and start getting prospects to KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST your business and TRY your products or services.

Remember: marketing is all about making selling easier – if not almost unneeded. Effective marketing eliminates the need for that pushy selling that so many of us dislike. That’s what these tactics can do for you… Read more

Have we left one of your favorites off? Drop us a comment, below and let us know which one!

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, sales and marketing, small business, social media and phishing, Social media marketing, Traditional marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WSJ Social Media Insights Apply to Consultants Too

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 2, 2013

social media for consultants

Consultants can benefit from these social media tips as reported in the WSJ’s Small Business Report

Today’s Wall Street Journal Small Business Report offered some excellent social media advice that consultants can apply to marketing their own practices:

  1. Be genuine. Don’t hire someone to speak for YOU. Although it’s fine to have someone post your updates, the posts should reflect your viewpoint and who you are. People respond to authenticity.
  2. Stop being a social media bore. Engage your audience by devising social media posts that are NOT all about you. Talk about a recent successful client engagement – without revealing sensitive client information, of course – or discuss timely news and events that are relevant to your consulting specialty.
  3. Have a few social media strategies. I advise my consulting clients on this all the time and WSJ experts agree: not every prospect or client is on the same social media channel. Your job is to find out which social media tool you can use to capture your target audience’s attention.
  4. Don’t let social media become your entire plan. Although everyone seems to be talking about using social media, it really is just one of the marketing and advertising tools you need to promote your consulting practice. Your marketing strategy should take into account the members of your target audience who use social media and may look for you there, as well as target audience members who may hear of you in other ways.
  5. Don’t let social media take over your business schedule. It’s easy to waste time on social media, especially if you’re new to it. Delegation is key! Find someone who can take on the day-to-day tasks, so that you can focus elsewhere. Set a fixed time each week to review your postings so you know what’s being done.
  6. Don’t try to do everything at once. Start with the social media channels you are most comfortable with, and where you will most likely find your best consulting clients. Once you have mastered that channel, start adding others.

Read more of the WSJ Experts’ advice.

Do you need help integrating social media into your firm’s marketing? Let’s talk! Sign up for a complimentary marketing assessment to get started.

Other posts you might be interested in:

Does Social Media Fit into Your Professional Service Firm’s Marketing Plan?

How Consulting Firms Are Tweeting, Using Social Media

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Consulting, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Demystifying Hashtags

Posted by advantagemarketing on November 26, 2013

demystifying hashtags

What are hashtags and why should businesses use them in their social media? Find out in this post.

“What is a hashtag and how do I use it?”

This is a question I often get during my Getting Started in Social Media talk. Here’s what you need to know about hashtags and how to use them effectively.

All hashtags start with the familiar ‘#’ which, to those of us who remember touch tone phones, is also known as the pound sign. According to Uriel Alvarado on the Intelligent HQ blog, they were cooked up by Twitter user Chris Messina in 2007 and later embraced by Twitter. Hashtags allow users to engage in real-time conversations. With hashtags, you can create topics and group your own tweets with others on a similar theme. The tags can also be used as a symbol of belonging to a group with the same interest or opinion. A popular – or trending – hashtag can also indicate that something is trendy, cool, or topical.

Social Media Sites Supporting Hashtags

Today hashtags are used on many social media channels, not just Twitter. The graphic below shows some of the sites that now support hashtags.

social media sites supporting hashtags

Why use a hashtag?

Hashtags can be useful even to those who aren’t social media wonks or pop culture enthusiasts. They can be used to publicize news, especially fast-breaking or urgent stories (think #ArabSpring, which broke on Twitter before the national media picked it up).

Businesses can use hashtags to advertise, promote an event, or start a conversation with customers and followers. Consumers can share positive or negative experiences with a company or brand via hashtags. The #loveVerizon and #hateATT hashtags are two recent examples of consumer experience sharing.

Using a hashtag in a social media update gives context and content to your post. For example, if you were participating in my Getting Started in Social Media talk at the American Appraisers Association National Conference in New York City, you might have posted this update to Twitter:

Learning a lot about using #SocialMedia for #marketing my appraisal practice from @LMKasprzak at the #NatlConf2013

Someone reading the above post would know you were at the conference and, more importantly, that you were learning something to help you advance your appraisal practice. The reader could also click on the #NatlConf2013 hashtag and see other posts about national conference events.

If you create a hashtag, you can register it on Hashtags.org, which also provides tracking. Twubs.com is another service that allows you to register and follow hashtags.  Although you can’t prevent others from using your hashtag, it may be useful to claim a hashtag that could be integral to discussion around a trademark, promotional campaign, or event, says Rebecca Murtagh on the Search Engine Watch blog. When you optimize conversations, content, and updates with hashtags, they become more visible to others on social media platforms and search engines, points out Murtagh.

Hashtags are also a great – and free! – research tool. If you want to know what your customers are talking about, what your competitors are doing, or how the media is treating a specific topic related to your product or service, track hashtags, says Murtagh. They are extremely useful in identifying the frequency and reach of topics, discussions, and tapping into audience sentiment.

Other ways businesses can use hashtags include:

  • Tracking mentions on the social web
  • Finding influencers engaged in a topic.
  • Attending a conference virtually and expanding your network with people in your industry
  • Branding a presentation, webinar or keynote speech
  • Participating in Twitter Chats on topics of interest or in your industry
  • Dealing with a crisis
  • Building a community around a brand
  • Extracting customer insights

Using Hashtags Effectively

Now that you understand what hashtags are and how they can be used, let’s turn to social media expert John Cade for some pointers on how to create an effective hashtag:

  1. Skip punctuation, spaces and hyphens. Your hashtag should read #artappraisalservices not #art-appraisal-services. Anything following the first punctuation mark will show up as text that is not clickable, and therefore is not actually part of the hashtag.
  2. Keep hashtags short. Shorter hashtags are easier to remember and are easier to type, especially on a smart phone.
  3. Use no more than 3 hashtags per post. More than three hashtags is considered spammy and can annoy your followers.
  4. Go with upper and lower case. #NatlConf2013 is much easier to read than #natlconf2103.
  5. Avoid redundancy. Another common mistake, says Cade, is posting a tweet that includes a hashtag of a word mentioned earlier in the tweet. For example, the tweet, “I really like blogging about appraising art. #appraisingart” is more effective when it’s written “I really like blogging about #appraisingart.”

Do you have more questions about hashtags? Ask away in the Comments section below.

Do you need help integrating social media into your firm’s marketing? Let’s talk! Sign up for a complimentary marketing assessment to get started.

Other posts you might be interested in:

Does Social Media Fit into Your Professional Service Firm’s Marketing Plan?

How Consulting Firms Are Tweeting, Using Social Media

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Social media marketing, Traditional marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Social Media for Professionals – 4 More Resources

Posted by advantagemarketing on September 6, 2012

Chemical Engineering Progress magazine recently ran my article series on social media for professionals.

I recently authored an article series on social media for professionals for the Career Catalyst section of Chemical Engineering Progress magazine. These articles are great resources, whether you are professional just starting out in social media, or a business owner who wants social media tips and techniques to grow your business.

My philosophy is to keep it simple. As a business owner or professional, you have a lot on your plate already. I write so that it’s easy for you to absorb and learn new social media and marketing tactics. Then it becomes very easy to put these ideas to work in your own business or professional career.

In “Getting Started in Social Media” you can discover the benefits of Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and other social media and get practical advice on using these tools effectively, whether you’re a veteran or relative novice.

Use LinkedIn to Advance Your Career” reveals tips and techniques for using LinkedIn to establish a professional online presence, connect with others, and find business and job opportunities.

Smart Blogging for Chemical Engineers” shares how blogs allow anyone – even people with minimal computer knowledge – to easily publish text, photos, and audio and video files on the Internet. The article offers blogging tips for sharing technical information, building thought leadership, and growing a community of followers.

Cloud tools for collaboration

Professionals can find new ways to work together with Internet-based collaboration tools.

Internet-based applications are changing the way we work together. In “Use Cloud Tools to Collaborate” you’ll learn how virtual tools can help project teams make decisions more quickly, reduce costs, and increase productivity.

Need help getting your social media efforts off the ground? Check out our Quick Start Social Media Coaching for professionals and business owners.

Like what you’re reading? Subscribe and get The Marketing Advantage by email. Just click on the Subscribe today! link in the right sidebar of the Marketing Advantage home page.

Posted in B2B marketing, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I’ll Have the Special with a Side of Facebook Please

Posted by advantagemarketing on July 25, 2011

by Christian DeGobbi, PCM

Simple tips for Facebook

Simple tips for integrating Facebook in your company's marketing

For businesses both large and small, integrating Facebook effectively into your marketing activities not only makes a lot of sense but can change the way your clients and prospects view your company.

Having a Facebook page for your business today is great, but not enough.  A savvy company knows how to promote their social media presence and weave it into their existing marketing efforts.  When done in a smart and successful way, your target market will view your company as one that is “with-it”, interactive, and encourages, values and desires feedback.  Unfortunately, not too many companies are doing this well… if at all.

Here are just a few simple ways your company can start integrating Facebook with the rest of your marketing:

  • Most Web sites have a top menu bar on their homepage calling out “Services”, “About Us”, “Resource Center”, “Contact Us”, etc.  Include “Facebook Page” in this menu bar.  You’re sure to drive more of your Web site visitors to your page, compared to just having the obligatory Facebook logo buried somewhere on your home page.
  • Make it a company standard for all key executives and sales team members to have a link to the Facebook page in their e-mail e-signature line.  A brief comment right on top or below the link can inform the viewer of a new Facebook posting, video or feature.
  • If you run print ads, drive readers to your Facebook page through a “teaser” ad.  You can do this in many creative ways.  For example, ask a really compelling question in the main header of the ad – a question your target would really want to know the answer to – and direct them to your Facebook page for the answer.  Or, if you are running a special, provide the reader with just a hint of information.  Let them know they can read the rest of details at your Facebook page.
  • Include your Facebook URL on all marketing materials from business cards and brochures to event booths and promo items.
  • People, in general, enjoy participating in polls that interest them and seeing the results when they click “Submit.”  I know I do!  Start posting a weekly poll on your Facebook page that interests your base (on the same day/time so your visitors know a new poll will be posted every Tuesday at 9:00am).  Not only are you providing interaction and information to your fans, as well as gathering super insights, but it’s a great way to start a dialogue directly with your fans.
  • Videos are a huge draw for any online site, especially Facebook.  If you have a interesting and informative video posted, the next time you send an e-mail campaign, include a link with a brief description of the video in the body of the e-mail.

These are just a few ways you can start promoting your Facebook presence, while enhancing the way clients and prospects view your company.

I would love to hear what you’re doing to integrate Facebook in with the rest of your marketing activities! Who’s first?

Christian DeGobbi, PCM is currently the Marketing Manager, Americas for Dow Jones Indexes. He recently earned his Professional Certified Marketer designation from the American Marketing Association, of which he’s an active member. Christian has 15 years experience at top NYC advertising agencies and B2B client side marketing.

Photo credit: http://flic.kr/p/247omf photo by eston

Posted in Business, Marketing, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Businesses Can Take Advantage of Social Media

Posted by advantagemarketing on May 10, 2011

Discussing social media on WDVR FM

Technology Today host Rich Kazimir and I talked about how businesses can use social media to connect with customers

I was a guest last week on WDVR FM’s Technology Today radio broadcast. Host Rich Kazimir interviewed me about how small businesses can take advantage of social media. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

Rich:  Can you start by telling us what social media is?

Loraine: The simplest way to look at social media is as a collection of tools for interacting online. That can be by posting content like photos or articles, or sending out short messages, called updates, to people who are following you. This is called social networking. The big social networking tools are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. And, of course, blogging.

There are other tools that help you track and share content you like – that’s called social bookmarking. Social bookmarking tools include Reddit, Stumbled Upon and Digg.

For business owners, social media is a great way offer valuable content that engages prospects and customers.

Rich: So if you had to summarize social media in a few words, you’d say…

Loraine: It’s a collection of tools that enable business owners to interact with their clients and prospects online.

Rich: How should business owners be thinking about social media?

Loraine: Business owners need to understand that social media is a conversation; it’s not a one-way push of their company’s advertising message. They need to think of it like a cocktail party – how you’d join a conversation when you walk in to the party. You wouldn’t just barge in and start talking. You’d listen – comment – ask a question – then offer your opinion.

The best way to use social media is to integrate it with your company’s other marketing tactics – like your website, trade show, or public speaking engagements.

Rich: Where should a business owner focus, especially when they’re getting started?

Loraine: First, owners need to understand that social media is content driven, and they need to have good content to contribute to the conversation.  So they need to start with a plan for developing content and what content they will use.

Owners should also realize that they don’t need to be on every social networking site. They can start by finding out where their customers and prospects are – then that’s where they need focus their efforts. It’s a good reason to give clients a call and ask them, are they reading blogs? Posting tweets?

Once owners know where their customers are, then they can go ahead and set up their own accounts on these applications – whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or another app. It’s free to set up accounts and if the owner is reasonably comfortable around email and the Internet, then they should be able to learn these apps pretty quickly. All the apps have online tutorials which make learning them a bit easier.

Rich: Can you give our audience some examples of companies who are using social media effectively?

Loraine: I’ve seen both large and small businesses use social media effectively as part of their marketing. Comcast mines Twitter for customer service issues and then responds fairly quickly… Office Depot just started a contest that integrated Facebook with email marketing – it’s their 2011 Official Small Business of NASCAR contest. This is targeted at growing their small business customer base.

A couple small businesses I’ve seen would be WebUndies.com – one of my clients – who is working on integrating their current email marketing with Facebook and Twitter to grow their customer base. I also work with an IT security startup – Aujas – and they are using an electronic newsletter, website, WordPress blog, as well as a white paper marketing campaign and industry trade shows.

Rich: I’ve seen businesses start to use social media, but then they seem to lose momentum and stop putting out new content. How can businesses stick with it?

Loraine: Losing momentum is a big problem, especially when a business owner has so much else on their plate. One thing an owner can do is see what content they already have developed for their business and repurpose it. For example, a how-to manual or a non-confidential email to a customer can be the basis for great blog posts.

It’s also perfectly ok to hire knowledgeable content developers who will work with you to develop your message – to write blog posts or tweets.

Rich: Aren’t there also tools that can help a business owner with social media – like Tweet Deck? Can you talk about those?

Loraine: Tweet Deck, Social Oomph, Hoot Suite are all great tools for helping an owner schedule and promote their content through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. They’re all free tools too – some have premium paid subscriptions, but the free accounts work well.  These tools also have online tutorials, which can be a big help.

Rich: What would you recommend as the starting point for the small business owner listening tonight?

Loraine: Definitely start by asking your customers what social media they’re using. Learn those tools and get your company profiles set up. Then you can see what content you already have that you can repurpose. You’ll be off and running.

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Posted in Business, LinkedIn, Marketing, Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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