Are you looking for a cost-effective way to grow your business? Do you want to break the demoralizing cycle of cold-call, sales pitch and call-back, while attracting the attention, respect and recognition of prospects and clients the world over? The good news is that accomplishing this task is easier than you might think. What I’m talking about is using social networking for business. When it comes to social networking, there are two schools of thought:
1. Registering with a social network.
2. Using a social network.
For the most part, many small business owners fall into the first category. This means that while they are enrolled in such networks as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others, they rarely feed the nets and/or they have few followers. Unless you are willing to post to your networks on a daily basis, you will attain little or no advantage for your business. Add to this, the fact that if the amount of followers in your account is in the tens or even hundreds, then you are short-sheeting yourself when it comes to being able to tap into the power of social networking.
As a rule, when you create a post, only 10 percent of your followers are likely to read it and only 10 percent of those who read it are likely to act on it. This means, in order to get into the game, you need to create a base of followers in the thousands. The ways you do this are by providing compelling content and by actively pushing the envelop to build a following.
If you search the Internet, you will quickly find that those firms who have established their brand online as a hot commodity have gone out of their way to provide their ever-growing audience with content that is much more than mere press releases. Some of the most popular this year included a YouTube campaign for Carlsberg Beer that featured a movie theater full of burly bikers, a visually stunning Pinterest campaign by Jetsetter.com and a Twitter blitz for the motion picture Bully. While the use of text or visually-based networks was different in all three of the above-mentioned cases, what was similar was the way these companies used social networking to create a buzz.
The first three things any aspiring rock star has to do is practice, practice, practice.
What Social Networking is Not
When you consider that most social networks are less than five years old, there has been a certain learning curve needed to successfully employ this medium for promotional purposes.
Some online marketers assume the correct way to feed the social nets is to send out ad copy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While social media is possibly the world’s most powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing, the last thing your online followers want to receive is ad copy. Face it, Americans are bombarded practically 24/7 with advertisements. From the moment they wake to the moment their heads hits their pillows at night, they have ads coming at them from every direction. As a result, people start to tune out ads. So this is not the best way to engage and grow a following online.
What Social Networking Can Be
Social networking can be one of the best means of convincing the masses to do business with you. For the most part, these tools are also some of the most cost-effective advertising vehicles known to modern man, since they cost little or even nothing to use. But the secret to employing this technology successfully is to entice your audience with useful, timesaving, or entertaining information that relates to your business.
Rather than hammering away at your prospects with a full frontal sales assault as you would with traditional advertising, by embracing social networking, you need to go the extra yard if you want to be a star. Think of doing such things as embedding or linking podcasts and videos to your posts. This will not only enhance your drawing power, but it will also up the SEO ante of your posts. What better way to attract an audience other than to get onto Page 1 of the world’s most popular search engine.
If you want to be a social media rock star, you need to stop thinking about your networks as a chore and start thinking about the ways of compelling your audience to actively seek out and repost your content. Do this and it will soon be your competition that is relegated to singing the blues.
Carl Weiss is president of W Squared Media Group a prominent online marketing agency based in Jacksonville, Florida. He also owns and operates Jacksonville Video and is co-host of Blog Talk Radio’s Working the Web to Win, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m EST.