Tips for Leveraging Social Media as a Marketing Tool

The terms Social Media or Social Networking can inspire fear into those unexperienced. But don’t let those big, bad terms discourage you. All they really mean is that internet technology is wrapped around communicating with your friends, acquantainces, and their friends and acquaintences. If we removed the internet from it, the original social media would be telling stories in the town square. Now, the town square has moved to the internet.

To get your name or organization into social media, I’ve put together the below tips. I’ve started with the basics, because social media really only works well if the basics are there.

Must Haves:
• Public website (website example )
• Facebook page (use a page for the public/ a group if you want to limit membership, facebook page example)
• Twitter account (twitter example)
• Linked In (personal profile, example: linked in example)
• Profile on Google maps (if you have a public location, click for example)

Recommended:
• Blog (wordpress.com or blogger.com)
• Linked In group
• Email newsletter (I recommend ConstantContact.com)

Interesting Options:
FourSquare.com – good for retail/ event spots/ restaurants, your customers will use their mobile phone to “check in” when they visit your establishment.  They can become the “mayor” by checking in more than anyone else.
Flickr.com – good for photos with descriptions (google indexes it), just upload your photos and use keywords to tag them
Focus.com – growing B2B social networking site
Google earth – add videos and photos about your organization

Tips:
1. Make sure each site and profile includes your businesses primary contact information, a short description about the business, a website, and hours of operation
2. Duplicating basic information is ok, and in fact can increase search engine rankings
3. Time your posts throughout the day to increase coverage
4. Make sure the information you post is entertaining or informative. For example, your sales, specials, events, and informative how-to articles are good.  The knowledge you think is basic will probably be very useful to your prospective customers.  For example, for a coffee shop blog, pages on “How to Make Froth” and “How to Brew Coffee” are popular.
5. Use HootSuite.com to post to both Twitter and Facebook at the same time (plus others), and to schedule posts.
6. Use Twitterfeed.com to setup RSS feeds to automatically post into facebook or twitter or both. For example, if you have a blog, use the RSS URL to feed new blog entries into both twitter & facebook. If you have information on your web site, like a calendar of events, a programmer can create an RSS link that can be used to feed events automatically into twitter &
facebook.
7. On Facebook, when typing in status updates, type @ to see a list of other people/ pages that you can refer to.

Twitter screen shot with hash tags

Twitter screen shot with hash tags

8. On Twitter, type @[name] i.e. @AlterEgoComics to mention another person or business. Use #[something] to “tag” your tweets so that others might find them in a search, i.e. #lima #ohio.
9. Use AddThis.com to add facebook/ twitter/ share buttons to your website, including a Facebook Like button to your website
10. Always be on the lookout for new social media and social networking trends, since they change constantly. Ride the wave of what works while you can!

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