If you could get more than 80% of your potential clients to buy your product or service would you? Of course you would. When such a large percentage of any market endorses one thing, it must be made note of. In a recent study*, 86% of consumers responded that social networking should be a part of any business’ marketing mix. By overlooking the marketing power of social networking sites you are missing the chance to reach customers via their preferred medium. So what are social networking sites and how do you use them?
The big 3 in social networking sites are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. These sites are designed for people to connect and share information. From personal to business, these sites bring people of all backgrounds together. Social networking sites provide an excellent way for you to deliver your message to current and potential customers. They are easy to use and keep you top of mind.
LinkedIn is a popular business networking tool. Used by many to keep in touch with current and former co-workers, LinkedIn has developed into a tool that both individuals and companies use when looking for jobs or to fill positions. LinkedIn recently developed a beta site that allows members to not only have pages detailing their professional expertise, but also their business’ profile. Members of LinkedIn make “connections” with friends and colleagues. They are then able to see the connections of their connections. When you use LinkedIn to connect with clients and friends, your business information will spread throughout the network giving you greater exposure. Visit LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com.
Facebook is a great starting point for social marketing. On Facebook, you can have a personal and/or business page. People connect with each other and become “Friends” when they have a personal page on Facebook. Businesses connect with members and gather “Fans”. Getting your business started with a fan page is relatively easy. Fill in as much information as you can including name, address, store hours, logos and/or photos. Spread the word to friends, employees and clients to have them join your fan page. Visit Facebook at www.facebook.com.
Twitter is the rising star in the social networking world. The unique twist with Twitter is that all posts must be no longer than 140 characters. Not words, characters. Short concise postings go out to your “followers”. This provides a great way to spread the news about a new product or sale. But be wary of overloading your followers with too many sales pitches. Don’t forget to focus on customer service points. Bring value to the table with your “tweets”. Visit Twitter at www.twitter.com.
No matter which of these social networking sites you use, and we see value in using all of them, you need to be committed to the process. Spending at least a few minutes every day on these sites is a must. Adding posts, responding to questions, promoting sales are all great ways to communicate with your customer base through social networking sites. The best part of using social networking sites is that you can start small and expand your efforts as you get more comfortable with them. The key is to just get started.
* Study conducted by Prodo.