How to Build your Business with Social Media
By Heather Camlot
Congratulations! You’ve started your own company and so far things are looking promising. You’ve completed all the first steps but now it’s time to grow the business. That’s where social media can help.
“I started using Facebook ads because I thought word of mouth was going to dry up,” explained Toronto-based photographer Zaheer Mulo during the TD Canada Trust webinar Using Social Media to Grow Your Business. “Facebook ads turned into 70 to 80 percent of my business.” Not only did those ads cost him a tenth of what he would have spent on a booth at a wedding show, but the connectivity with his clients and the ability to immediately update his portfolio were also big draws to social media.
For Chioma, founder and publisher of AMÖI magazine, Twitter and Facebook have been about creating an online presence, getting new visitors to the site, encouraging them to stay longer and reminding them to come back.
“These tools have been fantastic for getting our passions out in the public,” said Chioma. But she’s the first to state they take work. “There’s no point creating a Facebook or Twitter page if you’re not going to communicate.” Chioma hired a social media strategist to take on the social media aspect of the business, while Mulo takes a couple hours a week to manage his himself.
According to a new Ipsos OTX MediaCT report, two-thirds of Facebook users have “liked” an average of five things in the past week. About 10 percent of those “likes” were a brand ad, and another 10 percent were for brand content (anything not ad-related). These recommendations not only help spread the word about your product, but can also help you pinpoint your most important customers and better direct your marketing to that demographic, the report states.
10 tips to prepare your social media campaign
If you think your business can benefit from social media (and we’re pretty sure it can), get started with these tips that HootSuite community director Dave Olson shared during the TD Canada Trust webinar:
- Define a strategy – what does your company need?
- Listen to what people are saying about your brand, the good and the bad.
- Get to know and follow your competitors.
- Participate in the conversation. Establish a company voice and use it in a transparent but consistent way.
- Build community by bringing together people who love your brand.
- Build Twitter lists with people who are talking about your brand.
- Think of your Facebook page as a hangout spot, with an environment that speaks to your products and brand culture.
- Track your social media results to see what works and what doesn’t.
- Set up alerts with Google and Social Mention so you know who’s talking about you.
- Optimize your site for search engines (SEO). When you understand how search engines work, you’ll get a better handle on how to write good copy, build links and increase your ranking.
Invest the time and effort
You don’t have to have a technology background to take advantage of social media. But you do have to put some thought into how to use it for your company. Mulo, for example, monitors his Facebook ads with the site’s ad reporting tool so he can analyze which headings and photos are working best and sending traffic. He takes the time to refine his tags and search terms, he’s careful to maintain a professional voice on his Facebook company page, and he thanks people for commenting. “I want to keep the dialogue going,” he said.
Olson takes that thought one step further: not only should you maintain conversational elements on your Facebook page, but you should reply (in a professional manner) to any negative comments as well. “By showing up and dealing with negative feedback you’re going to turn opinion around.”
To ramp up your business, it’s time to put your social media marketing into play. Said Olson: “A lot can be accomplished in 20 minutes a day by reaching out to your social networks.” For more insight, watch the TD Canada Trust webinar Using Social Media to Grow Your Business.
Image: jscreationzs, freedigitalphotos.net
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Have any tips to offer on using social media for business? Let us know by leaving a comment below.Copyright 2012 WorkLivePlayCafe. All rights reserved.