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How To Market Your Business with Social Media

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SmallBusiness.com How-tos are step-by-step instructions for specific small business tasks. They are created and edited by readers like you. You can help edit this How-to or you can create your own. Find more How-tos at the SmallBusiness.com How-to Hub.

After a website, social media is the next best way to market your business. If you're not taking advantage of all the marketing tactics social media has to offer, you're losing potential networking opportunities, and a readily available way to build awareness of your company and its products or services. Worst of all, you're losing potential customers, and ignoring current ones who would appreciate the chance to communicate with you directly. If you've been flirting with the idea of jumping into social media to market your business, now is the time, and it's not as difficult as you may think.

Twitter

Twitter was originally started to be a microblogging site. It gave people the ability to communicate ideas and share information that didn't really require an entire blog post of a few hundred or thousand words. Instead, people could tweet random thoughts in 140 characters or less. It didn't take long for business owners to see the potential, and begin using Twitter as a powerful marketing tool.

Twitter
In just a few short years, Twitter has gone from novelty to necessity in a business owner's marketing arsenal. And it's not just small businesses, either. Big companies such as Dell, Sears, Comcast, and Verizon regularly use Twitter to share company information, and even offer their customers special deals[1]. They also use Twitter to perform customer service[2], responding to tweeted complaints. These companies' willingness to open direct dialogues with people, and resolve issues quickly has increased customer loyalty, and made companies seem more personable. Opening an account is free and only takes a few minutes, so there's really no excuse for not using its power to help market your business.

Facebook

Facebook
Despite all the controversy that has surrounded Facebook over who really invented it, and whether the company protects its members' privacy, Facebook is one of the most popular social networking tools with more than 500 million users worldwide[3]. It's still the place for people to find old high school classmates, or stay in touch with family and friends, but it's also taken steps to provide businesses with some good marketing tools.

Aside from personal profiles, Facebook offers three other profile types—Groups, Community Pages, and Official Pages. If you're a business owner looking to market your products or services, you need an Official Page. It allows two-way communication as you can share information about your business with people who become fans, and those fans can write messages on your official page's wall. A word of caution -- a Facebook page should be closely monitored. Complaints and customer service issues must be addressed as quickly as possible. In addition, if your business gains a good amount of attention and several fans, there are people who will try to use your audience for their own purposes, like marketing a similar business, or even selling personal goods. It happens. Monitor your page, communicate with your customers, and don't allow competitors to take advantage of your Facebook presence.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn
LinkedIn has moved well beyond just being an online résumé repository. In addition to allowing people to network, the site offers job listings, widgets to connect blogs and Twitter accounts, groups, and one particular feature that, if used well, can be a great marketing tool for your business—Answers.

In the Answers section of LinkedIn, site members can both pose and answer questions running the gamut from how to write a cover letter to more complex issues relating to business finance, legalities, human resources, and numerous other categories. Take a few minutes a day to answer a question or two, and establish yourself as an authority in those categories directly related to your business. It will get the company name noticed, and build trust in a wide and ever-expanding community.

References

  1. "Sears Deals". Twitter. http://twitter.com/searsdeals. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  2. "Comcast Cares". Twitter. http://twitter.com/comcastcares. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  3. "Facebook Statistics". Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 

See also

External links