5 Steps to Social Media Success

While doing some research on social media, I came across this factoid:

Social media’s influence on driving business via the web is expected to surpass search engine optimization (SEO) in 2013, according to eMarketer

If you’re not engaging with social networks yet, or if you have let your networks gather dust, now is the time to move forward or be left behind in the world of search! In an effort to assist you, here are some steps you can take to be social.

Step 1 – Who are your customers?

  • Create a persona of your ideal customer – are they household consumers? Business principals?
  • What is their average age?
  • What social networks do they use?
  • What are their biggest concerns, needs, and interests?
  • How can you reach them –search engines, social media, blogs
  • What kinds of content do they prefer?

These types of questions will help you develop buyer personas and determine which social networks will be of most value to you

Step 2 – Determine which social networks to join

  • New social networks pop up each week. It’s a waste of time to join every new social network only to find you have no time to manage them.
  • Find out where your most active customers & influencers spend time online – then listen and take notes.
  • Some tools you can use to tune into the conversation: Google Alerts, Technorati, Google Blog Search, Bloglines,
  • The most popular social networks now are Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest
  • Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest are great for reaching household consumers, Linkedin, YouTube, and Twitter for the business community
  • Once you’ve determined which social networks you want to join, setup your account(s)

Step 3 – Join the conversation

  • Engage prospective customers by answering questions, providing insights etc
  • Add value to the community – answer questions and help others where you can
  • Your posts should not always be about “selling” your business
  • When you start listening to conversations, you might hear some things about your company you won’t like – but that’s OK!
  • Find a way to help and be willing to acknowledge mistakes when they happen – you’ll be seen as a hero
  • Recognize happy customers and reward them if possible with something like an added-value offer only available to those who follow you on Twitter
  • If you find something interesting posted elsewhere, share it

Step 4 – Create and post content

  • Whether you publish videos on YouTube, start a Linkedin Group or post to Facebook, the more content you produce and publish, the more traffic you can attract back to your website.
  • If your site is designed well to convert visitors into leads, these activities will help you increase sales
  • Make sure to provide links from your website to your social media networks

Step 5 – Monitor & Revise

  • Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube offer analytics for you to see how many people have viewed your videos, how many people you’ve reached with your Facebook page etc
  • Use free Google Analytics on your website to see where your traffic is coming from
  • If possible, keep track of how your customers learned about you, and which social network, if that is how they found you
  • If you see that you’re spending a lot of effort on a social media network with no return, then eliminate it and focus on the network that brings you the most traffic and/or where your customers want to engage with you

 

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Facebook or Linkedin: Which one is right for your business?

Linkedin

Linkedin is a professional networking social site. It allows job searchers, independent contractors and other vendors to post information about themselves and/or their companies.

Linkedin Benefits

Connect with other professionals: Exposure to 60 million professionals, including all Fortune 500 companies

Build your brand: By including recommendations in your profile and answering questions, you are able to build credibility and promote your expertise

Research potential employers, prospects and competition: You can find and conduct research into potential clients, partners and service providers

Facebook

As of  March 17, 2010, Facebook is the most visited website, by North Americans, eclipsing  even Google, now in second place. With more than 400 million active users of various demographics, from all walks of life, Facebook provides an effective social networking medium to add to your marketing mix. From a marketing perspective, Facebook is most effective at reaching consumers and households, versus businesses.

Facebook Benefits

Creates opportunities for branding – you have the ability to build relationships with existing and potential customers. You can place your logo, photos, videos and other visual branding elements within your Fan Page site, or even create a custom fan page to further enhance your branding efforts. The “voice” that you’ve created for your brand can be carried through in the style of writing for status updates, notes, blogs and other resources.

Customer Engagement: using contests, promotions, Facebook apps, posting helpful information and encouraging feedback, you will build relationships with your customer fans

Lead generation: by encouraging people to contact you, you have great potential to generate many qualified leads.

You can visit a couple of  Pages I’ve setup and maintain here:

If you’re looking to enhance your personal or company brand with professionals, then Linkedin is the place to be. If you wish to connect with individual consumers, then Facebook would be your best option.