Social Media Marketing For Business

A 2009 survey by Alterian discovered that 66% of companies will be investing in social media marketing for business strategy in 2010.

Listening first and then communicating and engaging have become “musts” for any successful social media campaign and a large proportion of those companies plan to utilise more than 20% of their traditional direct marketing budget in social media.

However, it’s all very well saying that but how should a small local business get the best out of any social media interaction? We know that just bombarding potential customers with direct messages or continually linking to products just turns their attention away so what’s the best method of engaging and connecting?

Here’s a great post that talks about how to integrate social media marketing for business with traditional advertising methods.

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Business EMarketing – Social Media Marketing Is Dying

When I read this article by Duncan Wierman, I have to admit that I agreed with him. I get so many people who either friend me or thank me for following them on Twitter by sending a Direct Message.

Invariably this is just a ruse to send me a link to their affiliate/product page. This is a really bad way to go about your business emarketing.

The way social media is supposed to work for marketing is that you friend people in order to build a relationship with them. You don’t sell… unless they ask you to. And they won’t ask you to unless you have built up a level of trust.

It’s all very well using software to search Twitter and Facebook for those individuals who are talking about keywords that relate to your product/industry so that you can interact with them – but they’re not stupid. If you only do it to bombard them with ads every time you post anything, they’re going to delete you pretty damn quick.

Certainly that’s what I do when it happens because I suddenly realise that I have an inbox full of ‘spam’. So the strategy really does have to be slowly and softly. You make them aware of your brand through the Twitter User Name or Facebook Fan Page but, otherwise, you don’t mention your product or services.

The whole thing that needs to be remembered when formulating a business marketing plan is that it takes seven exposures to your brand for someone to be ready to buy. That’s subliminal messages to their brain, be it through the logo on your company van, an ad in the local newspaper, a post on a relevent blog, a signature in a forum account on the subject, your Twitter account or Facebook Fan page.

Just like a virtual Derren Brown, you are sending them cues that will hardwire their brain to put forward your name if and when they have a problem that could be solved by your product/service.

Constantly ramming it down their throat will only cause immunity, bad feeling or deletion.

I thought long and hard about actually including the article because it is an article with a resource box that refers you to a type of software that builds leads by not using social media. However, in the spirit of article marketing, I have done the right thing as I think he makes some valid points.

Social Media Marketing is Dying
By Duncan Wierman (c) 2010

If nothing is certain, one thing is – social media is losing its magic. What once was a new and improved way to keep in touch with your closest loved ones has become just another sales pitch to convince you to sign up to another dreadful business prospect, newsletter, product, or service. There is no opening or closing – simply raw advertisements that lack sincerity. The people advertising their products don’t care about you or your general interests. They’re too set on the idea that you’re going to sign up and turn them into a success.

What’s wrong with this picture? Could it be that the advertisements lack taste and real value, or could it be that the people who want your business care less about who you are and what you are interested in?

What business entrepreneurs are forgetting is that they are on the other side of the fence of social media. They are on the advertising end, which means without a real connection to the “the people,” they are getting nowhere. At some point, a real connection needs to be established or otherwise all efforts to make a sale or spread the word are pointless.

The truth? No one cares about you unless you care about them, particularly when it comes to social media. Let’s say that you’ve got an account with Facebook. Each day when you see those tiny red notifications, you’re dead sure that they signify a message from your friends or family. Unfortunately, you open your inbox and all you see are loud advertisements. What do you do? You delete them, and you do so automatically without any interest whatsoever about what they say.

Advertising gurus are no longer “gurus,” they are simply annoying spammers who have no clue what they are doing. Business owners are missing the point. If their emails are getting read, it’s only by other advertisers just so they can compare tactics and techniques. Another sad part of it all is that no one is coming up with new techniques. Everybody is following someone who they think is successful, but in reality, no one is making any money because of their lack of effort and knowledge.

If you haven’t noticed (and you most likely have), all online entrepreneurs go about advertising their businesses in the same way. First, they request you as a fríend or become a follower (Twitter). Some of them may greet you with a “thanks for the request” or some other similar phrase, while others jump straight to the point and start bombarding you with their “winníng” sales pitch. Who are you more likely to communicate with? Nothing screams “delete” louder and faster than a sales pitch.

Some of the “thanks for the request” people might actually make it, as long as they don’t jump the gun too quickly. Unfortunately, the majority of them end it right there and automatically go on a link-posting frenzy, and immediately begin flooding your inbox with details about their products with no mention of how they might benefit you individually. It’s almost as if they are “demanding” that you purchase from them without any clear reason as to why.

On the other hand, some people are making sales. They are the ones who take their time in getting to know people. They ask questions and take a true interest in their prospects. Developing customer relationships is the most important part of advertising on social media because in the real world, customer relationships are a must.

It helps to wear the shoe on the other foot. Picture walking into a store with workers that aren’t friendly and don’t seem to have your interest anywhere in their top priorities. They are anxious for you to purchase something and that is it. They don’t care what you purchase or why, they just want your money. When you leave, they want you to come back over and over, even if you’re not interested in what they’ve got. It’s a horrible experience for both you and them.

When you look at it from a different perspective, it helps to see why social media is dying for your company. What people want is warmth and a display of interest in who they are, not lousy sales pitches. As soon as business professionals establish a connection, then they might have a chance, but until then, it’s best to just stick to more familiar means of advertising and leave social media to what it was always meant for. Bring common sense back to your marketing.

About The Author
Former Software CEO turned Internet Marketer. Duncan Wierman shows you how to use creative marketing methods to create a full time income online. Duncan is the original creator of the software that finds business LEADS and converts them to income. Get a trial copy at:
http://www.onlineleadfinder.com/

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Blog on Websites

So many of my clients ask me why I keep banging on about having a blog on their website.

And I hear so many excuses – not having time, not having anything interesting to say, etc., etc.

The truth is that it’s vital to have a blogs on websites because you, as the writer, are an expert in your field and you can provide valuable information to help other people.

Not only that, if you do the posts correctly, you can improve your website’s ranking in Google by using the right keywords and providing changing content on your site.

Jo Dodds explains it really well here in her guide to social media blogging

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Small Businesses Advice

Great small businesses advice from Richard Branson via the Open Forum.

When it comes to social media, Branson said that “For businesses, social media offers both challenges and opportunities. For example, an unhappy Virgin passenger might use the megaphone of a social media platform to complain, when a push of an onboard call button would resolve the issue. But at the same time, social channels can help your customers find one another and allow them a change to interact, which makes an onboard community on an airplane, for example, a “smaller, warmer, friendlier” place.”

Branson believes that when businesses carefully monitor and respond, social media helps businesses anticipate needs. For example, when a Virgin passenger expressed his concern on Twitter about whether he might make his connecting flight, Virgin staffers made sure he made it.

Social channels can also offer immediate feedback on what your customers will respond to: When Virgin America announced a fare sale on Twitter, it became the fourth highest sale day in the airline’s history.

I think that’s what it’s important to remember when giving social media advice for small businesses. This is a route into your prospective and current customer base. You need to seek out where they are and connect with them. To find out who’s unhappy and who’s singing your praises so that you can respond to both – providing useful and immediate customer service for any problems and positively acknowledging the good feedback.

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Virtual Admin vs Social Media Virtual Assistant

A virtual admin is someone who helps out with typing and other office-related skills, catching the overflow without actually being based in your office.

A social media virtual assistant performs a somewhat different role. S/he is responsible for maintaining your online presence. The traditional PR role with some added oomph from the addition of online social media.

"social-media-virtual-assistant"The aim of all these interactive tools is to reach out to people and share your product or service in a fun way. Jo Dodds described it brilliantly recently when she coined the 3 ‘C’s – Connection, Conversation and Commitment. Getting to know people and building relationships by providing useful information and other help.

The main thrust of both Twitter and Facebook is regular status updates. Some of these can be personal but others should be informative statements or useful links that relate to your business or niche and so will require online research. Few business owners have the time to oversee the routine running of their companies AND look up relevant facts to entertain and engage with their social media audience.

Ensuring that all Direct Messages on Twitter, Facebook and any other platforms are answered promptly or possibly merely filtering out any spam so that the business owner can see the wheat from the chaff to be able to respond personally. Decluttering and organising using human intuition rather than a software program to eliminate the unnecessary, so that the task is nowhere near as overwhelming as it would first appear.

By identifying a series of accepted responses to certain questions/comments, the SMVA can deal with the regular day-to-day customer service-based interactions, leaving the business owner the luxury of more time to address any more complicated enquiries. If s/he wishes to participate more often in one media, the SMVA takes up the slack in the others but, because all responses have been pre-agreed, the transition is seamless.

The content and replies on any website blogs, Facebook Fan or Group pages, Youtube or Flickr accounts should also come under the remit of the SMVA, where the goal is to make sure that the same visual and verbal message is distributed across all media.

The social media virtual assistant also keeps abreast of technological developments in terms of both software and which platforms are relevant to and most effective for the promotion of the business, ensuring that the company website is bookmarked, publicised and generally brought to the attention of as many interested potential customers as possible but without aggressively shoving up their nose.

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