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5 Social Media Tips for Small Business

A recent study by Employers indicates that over half of small businesses believe in social media as an important marketing tool.  Yet, only 16% of those polled use their social media accounts to communicate directly with customers.  So, what are they actually doing with social media?  The average small business uses it to promote, much in the same way they use ads, direct mail and other forms of traditional marketing.

Social media for business promotion is fine.  But, the real leverage comes through engagement with people who are interested in you.  Your fans and followers are the real catalyst for your success with social media, so keeping in touch with them is critical.

Why?  Social media, much like content marketing, is all about building customer relationships.  In fact, businesses can take their cue from the origins of social media as a primarily “social” tool.  Sites such as Twitter and Facebook were really designed to help people communicate with each other, share resources and stay in touch.  Businesses can do the exact same thing with their customers, using the same sites.

Using social media sites to engage with current and potential customers takes a commitment of time. However, the tools are already built in, so you can simply think of your company account as another way to connect with your target market, just as you would with friends, colleagues and relatives.  Here are 5 tips for building the relationships that lead to sales:

1. Listen- There are a lot of conversations going on out there.  Some of them may be about your company, your industry or other topics that affect you.  Take the time to listen to what is being said before deciding how to respond or add to it.  You’ll learn more about what is important to your target market when you put your ear to the ground.

2. Participate- By becoming part of these conversations, you show that you’re interested in what people have to say.  This is also your opportunity to show how much you know about your topic, which helps to establish your authority.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, encourage debate and even stir up a little controversy now and then.  It gets people talking and gives you more information you can use to connect with them.

3. Add value- Your comments should always add something of value to the conversation.  If you’re too self-promoting or don’t add any useful information, both you and your company will lose credibility.  Think of your efforts as conversation rather than as a push for sales.

4. Evaluate your goals- At some point, preferably at the beginning but also along the way, you should think about your objectives.  What you trying to achieve with your social media efforts?  Some businesses want to increase brand awareness, others are more interested in what their competitors are up to.  Honing in on your primary goals will save you time and energy in the long run.

5. Look at the big picture- Think of social media as a community rather than a place to sell your products and services.   People on these sites, just like the Internet in general, are not necessarily looking to buy something.  Most of the time, they want information they can use, and they want to connect with the sources of that information.  Make sure your efforts keep this in mind.  Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re here to talk to people, invite them to join you, offer them your expertise, etc.  Design each individual post to make an overall impression that, over time, reflects your business objectives.

So, if you’re thinking about using social media to promote your business, or already are, remember to put some time into customer engagement!  It’s the best way to get those friends and followers to convert into customers.

Source: Kyle Lacy

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5 tips de redes sociales para pequeñas empresas

Un estudio reciente realizado por empleadores indica que más de la mitad de las pequeñas empresas creen en los medios de comunicación social como una importante herramienta de marketing. Sin embargo, sólo el 16% de los encuestados utilizan sus cuentas de redes sociales para comunicarse directamente con los clientes. Por lo tanto, ¿qué están haciendo en realidad con los medios sociales? La pequeña empresa promedio utiliza para promover, tanto en la misma forma en que utilizan los anuncios, correo directo y otras formas de comercialización tradicional.

los medios de comunicación social para la promoción de negocios está muy bien. Sin embargo, la influencia real viene a través del compromiso con las personas que están interesadas en ti. Sus fans y seguidores son el verdadero catalizador para su éxito con las redes sociales, por lo que mantener en contacto con ellos es fundamental.

¿Por qué? Los medios sociales, al igual que la comercialización de contenidos, se trata de construir relaciones con los clientes. De hecho, las empresas pueden tomar el ejemplo de los orígenes de los medios sociales como una herramienta principalmente “social”. Sitios como Twitter y Facebook fueron realmente diseñados para ayudar a las personas se comunican entre sí, compartir recursos y mantenerse en contacto. Las empresas pueden hacer exactamente lo mismo con sus clientes, utilizando los mismos sitios.

El uso de sitios de medios sociales para interactuar con los clientes actuales y potenciales requiere un compromiso de tiempo. Sin embargo, las herramientas ya están integradas, por lo que simplemente puede pensar en su cuenta de la compañía como otra manera de conectar con su mercado de destino, tal como lo haría con amigos, colegas y familiares. Aquí hay 5 consejos para construir las relaciones que conducen a las ventas:

1. escucha Hay una gran cantidad de conversaciones que se encienden por ahí. Algunos de ellos pueden ser acerca de su empresa, su sector o de otros temas que le afectan. Tómese el tiempo para escuchar lo que se dice antes de decidir cómo responder o añadir a él. Vas a aprender más acerca de lo que es importante para su mercado objetivo al poner el oído en el suelo.

2. Participar- Cuando se convierte en parte de estas conversaciones, que muestran que usted está interesado en lo que las personas tienen que decir. Esto también es su oportunidad de demostrar cuánto sabe sobre su tema, lo que ayuda a establecer su autoridad. No tenga miedo de hacer preguntas, fomentar el debate e incluso agitar un poco de controversia en cuando. Hace que la gente hablando y le da más información que puede utilizar para conectar con ellos.

3. Añadir con valor Sus comentarios siempre debe agregar algo de valor a la conversación. Si usted es demasiado autobombo o no añade ninguna información útil, tanto para usted y su empresa perderá credibilidad. Piense en sus esfuerzos como la conversación en lugar de como un impulso para las ventas.

4. Evaluar su metas diseñadas, pese En algún momento, de preferencia al principio, pero también a lo largo del camino, usted debe pensar en sus objetivos. Lo que se intenta lograr con sus esfuerzos en los medios sociales? Algunas empresas quieren aumentar la conciencia de marca, otros están más interesados ​​en lo que sus competidores están haciendo. Poniendo a punto de sus objetivos primarios le ahorrará tiempo y energía en el largo plazo.

5. Mira la gran imagen- Piense en los medios de comunicación social como una comunidad más que un lugar para vender sus productos y servicios. La gente en estos sitios, al igual que el Internet en general, no son necesariamente buscando comprar algo. La mayor parte del tiempo, quieren información que pueden utilizar, y quieren conectar con las fuentes de esa información. Asegúrese de que sus esfuerzos tenga esto en cuenta. No perder de vista el hecho de que usted está aquí para hablar con la gente, invitar a que se unan a ti, ofrecerles su experiencia, etc. Diseñar cada entrada individual para hacer una impresión general de que, con el tiempo, refleja sus objetivos de negocio.

Por lo tanto, si usted está pensando en usar los medios sociales para promover su negocio, o que ya están, recuerda poner algo de tiempo en la participación del cliente! Es la mejor manera de conseguir esos amigos y seguidores de convertir en clientes.
Source: Kyle Lacy

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Ads That Follow You Across the Internet ? A Twist on an Old Idea

Sometimes the most interesting innovations come from the simplest ideas.

Case in point:  one of the hottest online advertising trends today is something called “ad retargeting.”  Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch explains retargeting this way:

“The idea is simple. When you visit a retailer’s or other advertiser’s website, it drops a cookie on your browser and the next time it sees you pop up on another site it loads an ad from that retailer. You’ve already expressed interest in that advertiser by visiting their site, so they retarget you whenever they can. It may sound a bit stalkerish, but trust me, everyone is doing it.”

There are some variations of this definition, but for our purposes today it’s close enough.

Even Google is now offering retargeting of its Google AdWords, calling it “remarketing” and giving this example on its official Inside AdWords blog:

“Here’s an example of how it works. Let’s say you’re a basketball team with tickets that you want to sell. You can put a piece of code on the tickets page of your website, which will let you later show relevant ticket ads (such as last minute discounts) to everyone who has visited that page, as they subsequently browse sites in the Google Content Network. In addition to your own site, you can also remarket to users who visited your YouTube brand channel or clicked your YouTube homepage ad.”

I happen to be a fan of retargeting ads.  Last year I started a campaign through one such retargeting service, ReTargeter.com, to build the audience for a social media site I own, after interviewing the founder of ReTargeter, Arjun Dev Arora, and becoming intrigued with the idea.

My purpose was to build loyal repeat visitors to that site – visitors who don’t just visit once, but who are reminded of the site in their travels across the Web and prompted to come back and visit and participate in the site repeatedly.  I wanted the site to be top of mind for those visitors.  In essence you could say it is a branding campaign… to build awareness and brand recognition.

Retargeting turns out to be a cost effective branding campaign for small businesses.  You target a qualified audience (those who’ve already shown some interest in your product or website).  You pay only for ad impressions that will be seen by those you are targeting.

There’s a lesson in these retargeting ads that goes well beyond advertising, for every small business.  That lesson is about innovation.

Look for innovation in the simplest ways and smallest things.  At its core, retargeting is nothing more than serving up banner ads of a certain type to a certain audience – with the main difference being that the ads are served AFTER the user leaves a website.  That one twist – serving up ads AFTER the visitor leaves the site – can make all the difference in the success of a campaign.

In my case, it made my advertising much more effective (and a better use of my advertising budget) than a traditional banner ad campaign.  People who see the ads have already been to the site, and since my goal is loyal repeat visitors,  there’s a higher likelihood that they will return, than if those same impressions were served to those who had never visited the site.

I bring up the topic of retargeting ads as a metaphor for approaching innovation in your business.  Think of all the possibilities.  Sometimes if you just let yourself think freely, and not be hemmed in with traditional assumptions, new opportunities can open up.  Innovation can be as simple as a “twist” on an old idea.

Source: Open Forum