Social Media That Means Business

Social media is a powerful marketing tool where word of mouth can make or break your business or product.

Many business owners make the mistake of using social media as a way to distribute commercials - but for SM users, this form of advertising lacks currency. Social media works on a different set of rules.

Social Media Rule 1: Listen

To listen is the most important step. Your product or service will already be talked about and the only way you'll find out how to give your customers what they want is by listening to their concerns, frustrations, wants and needs.

  1. Set up a Google Alert to see what's being said about your brand, company or profile name
  2. Google for 'blog {myIndustry}' or 'forum {myIndustry}'
  3. You don't have to stick to your niche, you may also find valuable content in related communities

Social Media Rule 2: Join

Your Social Media Profiles

Never put anything on your profile, discussions or comments that you wouldn't want your customer, client or the media to hear about. Social networking is all about being sociable, but don't forget to be professional at all times

Why not post a photo? People relate to people. You can always include your brand logo somewhere on the photograph.

Include your contact info wherever possible, so that if somebody's interested you're easy to find.

What info can you include on your profile that will enhance your professional / company reputation?

Once you listen, you begin to get a feel for the land in which you operate. Now it's time to think about what you will join.

  • Begin by establishing whereabouts your customer socialises online and start to participate in these communities
  • Start by participating on blogs and forums
  • Comments on influential blogs will be read by a lot of people - if you can provide genuine value to a blog by commenting, you'll be seen as an asset not a hindrance
  • You can often subscribe to blogs, threads and RSS feeds to help you keep on top of the discussion

Social Media Rule 3: Participate

Now you've got your bearings, you'll know the most influential blogs / sites in your niche and it's time to participate in the community for real.

Simple blog comments are a good way to begin demonstrating your professionalism and expertise. By taking the simple steps above you will actively participate in communities related to your industry and build your company brand. You will be respected for your input and knowledge and you will become a valuable part of the community. When it's time to promote or share your business news they will help, others will see the benefits and will promote you without being asked.

  • Posting and replying to topics on forums and blog posts
  • Reviewing products/services
  • Bookmarking sites on Digg, Facebook and Google +1
  • Use forums to create interesting discussions about topics related to your business
  • Post insightful replies on other forum discussions
  • Comment on photo and video sites
  • Social news - post links to stories you find interesting and rate other stories

Social Media Rule 4: Create

You're starting to build an on-line brand and reputation by way of listening, reading and participating. You are now ready to leverage it to help spread the word. The content you create will need to provide value and as we've said before social media is about making a worthwhile contribution.

No one wants to read about your advertisements or your product or services - doing this simply does not cut the mustard. Instead offer something valuable to the community. A photographer may offer a free info booklet or online surgery about taking family portraits. A web design company may hold a competition for a free website.

Monitor the community and keep your eyes peeled for opportunities for novel / 'viral' promotions to catch the attention and imagination of your target market.

The Versatility of a Blog

Blogs are a great way of giving informative information - some of the best blogs have great writing style, interesting photos and plenty of discussion / comments.

You can start out by using a free service like wordpress or tumbler, or even better install a blog into your website.

  • Latest News - add categories for company news, industry news, etc. or use categories to target your primary keywords
  • Product Reviews / Feedback Forum - a blog can be an inexpensive way of interacting with your customers and gleaning valuable information
  • Articles / While Papers / Press Releases

How F&P Can Help You

At Fresher & Prosper we invest our expertise and resources into thorough research of social media activity in your industry, market and competition.  This gives us the information we need to build success into your social media strategy from the start.

  • Hands on training in using social media to promote yourself effectively
  • Integration of your website with social media platforms (and vice versa)
  • 'Total Care' packages include setup, regular updates ongoing social media promotion