social media

How do I use social media for my business?

More people are using sites like LinkedIn, YouTube, facebook, twitter, instagram and Wikipedia for business. But how could it work for you and your business?

Before you start
Your company’s target audience requires a focused approach to reach the right groups with highly relevant content. Running a social media campaign requires a commitment of time, effort and resources. Results are not likely to happen overnight and for this reason you should be selective about which activities best fit your business objectives.

A quick assessment of the following is a good place to start:
How much time and money can be invested?
What are your goals?
Which social media channels should you use?
Who in the company should participate?
Who will take a primary role in leading social media campaigns?
How will you measure success?

Your goals might include:
Better engagement with prospects, customers and others.
Finding additional avenues to market your views, products and culture.
Establishing a thought leadership position on a subject.

Targeting your approach
Use social networking as one of several communications tools to enhance the way you do business.

Research and identify where your audience “lives” online, and only engage in activities directly related to those communities. Take a look at how your competitors use social media and see if it’s working for them. Here are some good ones to start with:

www.facebook.com
www.twitter.com
www.youtube.com
www.myspace.com
www.flickr.com

Have a purpose
Just because you can create a twitter page for your company doesn’t mean you should.

Undecided about blogging?
Well, if your company has the resources to sustain its own blog with educational, non-promotional content on a regular basis, and it’s proven that your audience subscribes to industry information via that platform, you should invest in authoring a blog. If resources are tight, you can still participate in blogging by guest-posting content on other industry bloggers’ sites or making a concerted effort to post thought-provoking comments to others’ posts. Such blogs may be authored by industry analysts, the leading journalists in your market, or other thought leaders in your industry. When posting comments, always be sure to include your name, title and company URL to “stamp” your signature in the blogosphere.

What isn’t the competition doing?
Look at what your competitors aren’t doing in social media and experiment with new avenues. For example, are all of your competitors’ websites purely Web 1.0 and text-based? Cater to the preferred route of how prospects like to receive information by offering multimedia content with videos and podcasts. Video specifically is a highly effective tool for online marketing. YouTube gets twice as many hits as Google; and posting videos to your website also helps with search engine optimisation.

Remember, social media is not about selling and talking at your audience. It is about sharing and engaging with them.

Measuring Success
Measuring the value of social media is not an exact science. Here’s a few suggestions:
Did your company’s website see a boost in traffic from active commenting on industry blogs?
Did the company receive more word-of-mouth referrals through social networks?
Where are your online visitors coming from and how are they interacting with your site?
What is the volume, tone and type of customer comments your social media campaigns are generating?

If it all seems a little daunting, not to worry as Peek is here to help. We can support a wide range of social media initiatives, from strategic planning and consulting to professional content production.

How can Twitter help you find customers?

Twitter expert, Mark Shaw, was recently asked ‘Which is better, Google search or Twitter search?’ In this feature Mark puts Twitter search under the spotlight and shows how it can be used to attract new customers.

Google or Twitter?

Search me! If you are a consumer or customer waning to search for a business or solution to your issue/problem then by far the best search tool is Google. Clearly there are other search engines, Bing etc. but for now, we will focus on Google. So let’s imagine, I am looking to go to Bali on Holiday. I type into Google, Bali, or hotels in Bali, or how to get to Bali etc… What will come up? The results will all be hotels, flights, airlines, car hire .. everything to do with Bali. That’s great. Now imagine you are the business, and you want to find a customer. How do you do that? You can’t find customers or clients through Google. That’s what Google adwords are for. You place an advert with the solution, and people click on the advert to find out the answer. But that costs money.

Eavesdrop on the world

So enter Twitter search. Twitter allows you to eavesdrop on the world. Via their search engine, you can put in keywords, key phrases, and what you will find are… real people, talking about real stuff, in real time, and right now. In peoples’ conversations, they may well be talking about the problems they are having, or things they would like to buy, or places they may like to visit. So, you may well come across someone saying, ‘ anyone know where a good place to stay in Bali is? – Now, surely it does not get much better than that.

Think like a customer, not a business

When doing the searches, you need to think like a customer, not a business. What would a customer say, what language would they use. A good example is in the IT world. Imagine you were selling virus protection software for PCs. If you searched for peeps talking about ‘virus protection’ I doubt you will find many talking about PC virus protection. Instead, if you searched on peeps talking about their PC crashing, the dreaded blue screen, etc… this is what customers may well be saying. Stop…. Don’t sell So now you have found peeps talking about issues, problems, things that your business can help with.

Stop.. don’t sell to these people.

You cannot go from stranger to sale in 1 Tweet. You must first build up a relationship. Try to help, guide, advise and get to know them. Even if they don’t buy from you, they may become a great advocate for you. Perhaps have some free guides on your site that answer the most common questions regarding your products. Perhaps you could have the top 15 tips on what to look out for when buying this type of service or product… then drive people to read these guides which are on your website or blog. Now please don’t go away, and cancel your Google adwords campaign, I am not suggesting that. But please do start to hang out in Twitter search. Play around with keywords and phrases, and see what you can find. You may well be truly amazed.

Mark Shaw http://twitter.com/markshaw

originally posted on www.enterprisenation.co.uk

Find out more about social networking for business.