10 SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING TIPS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS

As business owners venture in to the scary world of managing their own Social Media campaigns, many are driving blind. A little bit of education goes a long way and we suggest following these 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Business Owners to get started. There are endless ways to drive traffic to a website, increase brand awareness around the web, and engage with potential clients through Social Media Marketing. The ability to reach people in real time and target a relevant audience has never been easier.

social-media_0

 

10. Serve the community

Don’t always be looking to serve yourself and your business, provide your following with something that helps them that may not necessarily help you. Becoming a resource is the greatest step you can take to becoming trusted within your community. Spend time researching the other areas that your target market are interested in and provide helpful links and information.

9. Pass traffic to your website

From everywhere possible! Your main social Media Marketing goal should be passing traffic to your website. Remember that your own website is still your greatest sales tool. It has all your information and has the ability to keep people interested. Link from all YouTube videos, Flickr photos, business profiles, and anywhere else you can possibly imagine.

8. Use tools

There are a ton of third party tools for Social Networking websites, use them. They will help you stay organized and save time. Some of my favorites are:

  • ReFollow for Twitter
  • Flickr Uploadr
  • StumbleUpon Toolbar

7. Find niche networks within your industry

There are Social Networks popping up everywhere. Many are specifically targeted to a particular niche. Find Social Networks within your niche and use them. The traffic may not be as high as Facebook and Twitter, but you can easily become a leader within smaller Networks.

6. Write, write, write

Set up a blog. Write until you can’t write anymore. Hire a writer. Do something, anything to keep your content fresh and your readers interested. Don’t just write for your blog, submit articles to sites like Squidoo, Associated Content, InfoBarrel, and HubPages.

5. Promote everywhere

Once you have finished writing, promote it everywhere. Pass traffic through all of your Social Networking accounts, submit your articles to Digg, Reddit, Mixx, etc. Promote everything you do on every single avenue possible. You never know which site could make your article a hit. Whether you get a ton of Retweets, hit the front page of Digg, or get lot’s of Stumbles… if you’re writing something of value, it will catch on somewhere.

4. Learn from your community

Use the people in your community as you wish them to use you. Learn from them. Whether you’re at the top end of your community or just started your business you can learn something from anyone. Research like minded people and businesses to always stay on top of your game.

3. Provide something of value

What do you offer that other don’t? If you don’t know the answer to that question you better find something fast. You can provide Twitter only specials, discounts to Facebook Fans, the next xx people to retweet get something free.

2. Interact with your audience

Spend time talking to people in your community. Reply to Tweets, comment on Facebook posts, engage your audience from your own posts. Host polls, reply to the comments on your blog. If you disagree, be polite. Do not come off as arrogant or as a know-it-all. Be respectful and always answer in a timely fashion when contacted. Word of mouth is still a great way to drum up business, being prompt and a resource can get your respect and respect gets you referrals.

1. Be everywhere

I recently heard someone say “Oh no, I don’t have Facebook, I just used LinkedIn”. While LinkedIn appears to working very well for this person, why cut yourself off from any potential source of clientele? Find and use every single option available, some work better than others within certain industries, but all can provide the option to interact with potential customers and give the option to refer people to your website.

Taken from: http://www.stikkymedia.com/blog/10-social-media-marketing-tips-business-owners

Essential social media advice for B2B companies

Here are some things the B2B world can learn from B2C social media best practices:

Devise a clear strategy before you dive in (and update yours if you’re already in the water). 

It’s not enough for a business to just “be there” when it comes to social media, and that applies to consumer brands and B2B companies. There have to be good reasons for you to engage in the media you’re using.

Ask yourself these questions, and perhaps even poll your customers or members to get clear answers:

• Is my intended audience already on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn? This question will become especially relevant when you’re deciding which social media channels your company should use. Chances are your customer base is using LinkedIn, so that should be a no-brainer. It gets a little trickier with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. It’s even trickier to determine whether your customer base will want to find you in emerging social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram.

• How is my audience using different social media channels? This takes the previous question a step further. Your customer base may be using Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends and family, but are they also using it for networking or professional reasons? If your customers are on Facebook, but most are not using it to connect with companies for business purposes, that social media avenue may not be a priority. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be there; it’s only to say that you should prioritize the spaces your customers are using for professional reasons.

• What are my benchmarks for success in social media? We establish our benchmarks by taking a look first at how like-minded organizations are succeeding in social media. If we’re trailblazing, our goals will be less number-based and more anecdotally focused. We’ll want to listen first and make adjustments as we go. Eventually, our benchmark may be that our Facebook page is the first point of contact for the majority of our consumers—whether they’re inquiring about products or reaching out for customer-service purposes.

• Do we have the ability to effectively measure our success in the social space?If you don’t have the metrics to tell you how you’re performing against the benchmarks you’ve set for success, it will be difficult to justify increased spending on social media. You should measure more than just “likes” and “follows” month over month; you should be measuring engagement.

Don’t sound so corporate. 

It’s easy to tell social media managers to develop a distinctive voice in social media, but it’s tough to make it happen—especially when you’re writing for B2B. Inherently, these companies are less likely to have an overarching voice to rely on.

If you’re managing the social media presence for, say, Frosted Flakes, you have a built-in voice: Everything’s “grrrrrreat!” There are also layers of legal approval that you have to maneuver before a post goes up, so it’s likely that any semblance of voice could be lost in that process.

Don’t let it discourage you. If your company doesn’t have an agreed-upon voice, make it your own. Be conversational, but most of all be brief.

I’ve seen so many B2B organizations that feel every post needs to be a paragraph long. In my experience working with B2C brands, I consistently see that the more concise posts consistently garner higher engagement rates.

It sounds basic, but always respond to anyone who posts on your wall. We make this a point with our B2C brands, and B2Bs should be doing the same—even if it’s just to say “thanks for posting.”

Taken from: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Essential_social_media_advice_for_B2B_companies_10819.aspx

Six Social Media No-Nos for Small Business

The number one social media no-no for small businesses is ignoring social media marketing and the enormous potential that it offers. The beauty of social media is it can level the playing field for small businesses allowing them to compete with larger corporations. A recent national study reported 8 out of 10 companies, of all sizes, are using Social Media and planning to expand efforts.

If a business does not have accounts at some of the major social media sites – Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter – then it is missing out on potential sales,  free publicity,  increased brand awareness and traffic to its website. The social media enthusiasm and obvious business missteps are reminiscent of the mid-1990s and the early days of the world wide web when several major web portals were competing for attention.

Regardless of the obvious opportunity, this does not mean that a business should rush into creating mulitiple social media accounts before it knows what its doing and why it is doing it. Avoid the Fire – Ready – Aim approach where you can.

2. Acting without thinking is the number two social media no-no for business. Before creating a social media account, a business should:

  • Decide who is in charge of maintaining and updating the social media account
  • Decide on a marketing strategy (hint: Study what successful people in your field are doing.)
  • Create your company’s written social media communication guidelines/policy and tell your employees about it. Depending upon your company size, coordinate this with HR and Legal.
  • Be customised where you can. Examples: Create a custom-designed Twitter background and decide what avatar the business will use – a logo? A picture of a product? A picture of the owner?

3. The third social media business no-no is being too aggressive and self promoting

Social media marketing requires the soft sell. It’s important to get your marketing message out there and let people know about your upcoming sales, specials, contests, giveaways, promotions, etc., but it’s also important to interact with people on social media sites, have conversations, ask them about themselves and what they’re up to, and offer free advice about your area of expertise, if applicable. (See item 4)

It’s possible to sell yourself without sounding like a salesman. Instead of singing your own praises, talk about your accomplishments and how they helped someone else. Results can speak for themselves.

4. The fourth social media business no-no is being dishonest.

Integrity is required for long term success. Don’t use an avatar of a person that isn’t you, such as a scantily clad model. It makes people instantly suspicious when they see those avatars; they assume that it’s a spam account. Don’t send direct messages, tweets or updates that trick people into clicking on a link, such as saying “This is how I finally started driving traffic to my site!” with a link – which should lead to a blog post, but really leads to a Clickbank product. You will only fool people once.

Be transparent. People are smart. If your company has authorised staff to participate on the company’s behalf; they should say so. Goodwill can be generated if they share tips from their area of expertise in accordance with your communications guidelines for social media communications.

5. The fifth social media business no-no is neglecting your accounts.

Don’t create multiple accounts, then get bored and abandon them all. If you can not update an account – delete it. It creates a bad impression to create an account and then only update it every few months.  It’s worse than not having an account at all. It makes it look like you are a business that isn’t minding it’s store, that it doesn’t have enough personnel to actually run the business. While this may be true, you don’t want to publicise the fact.

6. The sixth social media no-no is breaking the social networking Golden Rule                

Genuine appreciation goes a long way. A largely unwritten rule of community and relationship building is thanking people and extending a helping hand or Tweet to the next person.  This is part of integrity but it is also simple common courtesy.

Taken from: http://kamaron.org/six-social-media-no-nos-small-business

4 social media marketing disasters

Social media is becoming an increasingly important marketing tool for firms of every size. As the world moves online and an increasing proportion of business takes place digitally, your firm needs to ensure that it is utilising tools like social media to their full potential.

As our recent article on social media successes demonstrated, a well thought-out digital campaign can yield impressive results. But a large number of businesses have found themselves in the middle of a digital disaster after botched social media marketing campaigns.

There are numerous reasons for this; a lack of understanding of the ‘rules’ of social media is one of the most common. The nature of social networking and other similar media means that these poorly executed campaigns can be far more damaging than an offline mistake.
Many businesses are still getting to grips with social media. Here are some of the most notable disasters of recent times.

Honda learns about disclosure

When launching a new product, the Crosstour, Honda decided to give fans a sneak preview of the design by posting photographs on their Facebook page. The fans were sadly unimpressed, and the page was soon covered with a slew of negative comments.

One loudly proclaimed how much he loved the new design, saying he “would get this car in a heartbeat.” It did not take fans long to realise that this love voice of positivity was, in fact, Honda’s product manager.

Customer engagement is good, and Honda could have benefited from addressing the comments head on. But by resorting to deception, the company quickly attracted the ire of fans.

Habitat gets caught spamming

Furniture retailers Habitat were an early adopter of Twitter. But, in an effort to drum up a bit of interest in their products, they found themselves on the wrong side of spamming rules.

To try to increase their exposure, a Habitat marketing employee began appending ads to ‘trending topics’ in the hope that they would appear when users searched for popular keywords. But Twitter users (a force to be reckoned with at the best of times) saw this as spam and reported it to moderators. Habitat ended up having to issue an apology.

Twitter provides a great way for firms to communicate directly with their customer base. But it is vital that you learn the rules of the platform in order to avoid making embarrassing mistakes.

Employees fall like Domino’s

Last year, two employees filmed themselves flouting hygiene rules in an American branch of Domino’s Pizza. They then decided that it would be a good idea to upload the video to Youtube. It quickly became a phenomenon; the video was viewed thousands of times, Domino’s suffered enormous financial losses, and the employees were arrested.

While this was not an error on the part of Domino’s marketing department, it perfectly illustrates the potentially destructive power of social media. As well as engaging with customers on these services, you should monitor them for mentions of your brand in order to nip disasters like these in the bud.

Rentokil are nowhere to be found

Pest control firm Rentokil recently launched a Twitter profile, and began sparking up conversation with other users. Soon after, though, the firm published a press release with which members of the scientific community took issue. One prominent British user repeatedly asked Rentokil for clarification – but silence soon descended on their Twitter page. Of course, their silence was eyed with suspicion across the Twittersphere.

It is inevitable that you will sometimes face difficult questions from other social media users. The worst thing you can do is ignore them. Instead, you should tackle them head on in an amicable, professional manner.

And a happy ending

Of course, while some hapless firms flounder in a social media quagmire, others deftly use the technology to their advantage.

Phone company O2 is a case in point. They employ several staff solely to monitor social networks for users experiencing problems with O2 products or services. They respond quickly to these individuals, using the same method. Finally, they often follow up at a later date to ensure that the problem has been solved. Customers therefore have their issues resolved quickly, and end up with a positive impression of O2’s service.

Social media has immense power – but this can be a power for good or ill, depending on your point of view. If you are to harness its potential in order to create positive results for your business, you should try to learn from the mistakes of others. Learn the rules before you play, and treat other users with respect. This will help you to guarantee social media success.

Taken from: http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2010/04/2010-04-23-four-social-media-marketing-disasters/

10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Business Owners

As business owners venture in to the scary world of managing their own Social Media campaigns, many are driving blind. A little bit of education goes a long way and we suggest following these 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Business Owners to get started. There are endless ways to drive traffic to a website, increase brand awareness around the web, and engage with potential clients through Social Media Marketing. The ability to reach people in real time and target a relevant audience has never been easier.

 

10. Serve the community

Don’t always be looking to serve yourself and your business, provide your following with something that helps them that may not necessarily help you. Becoming a resource is the greatest step you can take to becoming trusted within your community. Spend time researching the other areas that your target market are interested in and provide helpful links and information.

9. Pass traffic to your website

From everywhere possible! Your main social Media Marketing goal should be passing traffic to your website. Remember that your own website is still your greatest sales tool. It has all your information and has the ability to keep people interested. Link from all YouTube videos, Flickr photos, business profiles, and anywhere else you can possibly imagine.

8. Use tools

There are a ton of third party tools for Social Networking websites, use them. They will help you stay organized and save time. Some of my favorites are:

  • ReFollow for Twitter
  • Flickr Uploadr
  • StumbleUpon Toolbar

7. Find niche networks within your industry

There are Social Networks popping up everywhere. Many are specifically targeted to a particular niche. Find Social Networks within your niche and use them. The traffic may not be as high as Facebook and Twitter, but you can easily become a leader within smaller Networks.

6. Write, write, write

Set up a blog. Write until you can’t write anymore. Hire a writer. Do something, anything to keep your content fresh and your readers interested. Don’t just write for your blog, submit articles to sites like Squidoo, Associated Content, InfoBarrel, and HubPages.

5. Promote everywhere

Once you have finished writing, promote it everywhere. Pass traffic through all of your Social Networking accounts, submit your articles to Digg, Reddit, Mixx, etc. Promote everything you do on every single avenue possible. You never know which site could make your article a hit. Whether you get a ton of Retweets, hit the front page of Digg, or get lot’s of Stumbles… if you’re writing something of value, it will catch on somewhere.

4. Learn from your community

Use the people in your community as you wish them to use you. Learn from them. Whether you’re at the top end of your community or just started your business you can learn something from anyone. Research like minded people and businesses to always stay on top of your game.

3. Provide something of value

What do you offer that other don’t? If you don’t know the answer to that question you better find something fast. You can provide Twitter only specials, discounts to Facebook Fans, the next xx people to retweet get something free.

2. Interact with your audience

Spend time talking to people in your community. Reply to Tweets, comment on Facebook posts, engage your audience from your own posts. Host polls, reply to the comments on your blog. If you disagree, be polite. Do not come off as arrogant or as a know-it-all. Be respectful and always answer in a timely fashion when contacted. Word of mouth is still a great way to drum up business, being prompt and a resource can get your respect and respect gets you referrals.

1. Be everywhere

I recently heard someone say “Oh no, I don’t have Facebook, I just used LinkedIn”. While LinkedIn appears to working very well for this person, why cut yourself off from any potential source of clientele? Find and use every single option available, some work better than others within certain industries, but all can provide the option to interact with potential customers and give the option to refer people to your website.

Taken from: http://www.stikkymedia.com/articles/10-social-media-marketing-tips-for-business-owners

‘Internet doomsday’ due on Monday, claims FBI

The ‘DNS Changer’ virus will cause more than 350,000 computers to lose web access on July 9, the FBI has claimed.

DNS Changer was a virus run by an Estonian crime ring until authorities and the American FBI broke it up in November. At its peak it infected more than 500,000 PCs and Macs.

The virus, first used in 2007, hijacked users’ computers without their knowledge to generate fraudulent clicks on adverts. Although its only obvious effects were to slightly slow internet connections and to disable antivirus software, it also redirected computers to the fraudsters’ servers.

Turning that server off would have left users without any web access, so the FBI temporarily replaced it with a site to check whether visiting computers had the virus.

The “DNS Checker Page” allows users to see if they have the virus and to remove it, and has been largely responsible for the fall in the virus’s prevalence.

Now the Bureau wants to turn off the server because it is costing tens of thousands of dollars to operate each month. It has announced that on July 9 it will pull the plug, potentially leaving the 350,000 computers that are still infected, 20,000 of which are in the UK and 85,000 in America, without access to the web.

“If we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure, the victims of this were going to be without internet service,” FBI supervisory special agent Tom Grasso told Fox News.

It is estimated that the criminals made £9.1 million from the scam.

Taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/9377896/Internet-doomsday-due-on-Monday-claims-FBI.html

Facebook promises to fix contacts deleting problem

Facebook has promised to fix a bug which has deleted users’ email contacts from their mobile phones.

The bug, which deleted people’s contacts and replaced them with those who have @facebook.com email addresses, has affected some people who activated the Facebook ‘contact sync’ feature on Android and Blackberry phones. It has also affected those running beta versions of Microsoft Windows Phone 8 and Apple’s latest operating system iOS6.

Facebook has promised to resolve the issue ‘soon’ and would not reveal how many people had been affected by the bug.

The world’s largest social network has long provided members with an email address, but until last week did not force them to display it in preference to a rival service, such as Gmail.

Facebook said the change to email addresses, which was made over the weekend without notice, was designed to “make them consistent across our site.”

“In addition to everyone receiving an address, we’re also rolling out a new setting that gives people the choice to decide which addresses they want to show on their timelines,” it said.

According to observers, the move is also meant to encourage members to make Facebook the centre of their online communications and spend more time on it. The firm introduced its free email service in 2010 to compete with Gmail but it has so far failed to make much impact.

Members are able to manually restore a non-Facebook email address to their contact details, via the “About” section of their profile settings. However, many were annoyed by the firm’s unilateral action.

This latest problem was acknowledged by a Facebook spokesman in a statement which said that “for people on certain devices, a bug meant that the device was pulling the last email address added to the account rather than the primary address, resulting in @facebook.com addresses being pulled”.

As Facebook’s syncing tool only took those email addresses visible on its site, and it made third-party addresses invisible by default, contacts which were already on the affected phones were deleted as a result.

Anthony Mullen, senior technology analyst at Forrester, told the BBC: “The gravity of changing personal data on users’ phones is much greater than just changing them on a cloud-based service or a website.

“The lesson here is Facebook should have offered a simple wizard walking people through the change showing what impact it would have rather than just letting it happen automatically.

“However, despite talk of a backlash it doesn’t seem these problems have been grave enough to have motivated users to quit the network.”

Taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9373089/Facebook-promises-to-fix-contacts-deleting-problem.html