Posted by Simon Misiewicz on 5th June 2013
Are you looking to grow your sales?
Do you have a social media profile?
Similarly to indirect and direct marketing, the internet is a very effective form of advertising and marketing, but, only if it is done correctly.
If you have a van rental business and advertised on search engines or social media but the only people that saw your advertisement were cake makers, then you are less likely to generate business. If you advertised your offering to trades people or people moving house who have a genuine need for a van then you may generate more business. You therefore need to ensure that the distribution of your advertising campaigns can be seen by your target audience.
I would therefore advise you to take time to research your customer interactions with the internet. What websites do they visit, what forums do they discuss their problems / needs, what social media do they use?
Researching customer conversation through the internet will help you to engage with them and discuss appropriate products and services that will be useful to them. Please do not see this as an opportunity to discuss price or how great your products are. This is an opportunity to empathise with your customers, re-iterate back to them their concerns and issues and then tell them the benefits that your products and services have for them. For instance, if you are selling PCs you could easily talk about the specification and the fancy applications but miss out the important need of your customers that want lightweight laptops. There is a dis-connect between the product description and the needs of your customers.It does not really matter what your products are but the benefits that they will provide to your customers.
There are many forums on the internet for many types of groups and industries such as women in business, property trades people etc. If you enter in quotes such as “food forum” in either Google or Bing then they will provide you with a list of forums that you can join. If you are new to the forum do not sell any of your services to anyone.
Join conversations add some hints and tips without mentioning your products too often. Forums are another form of relationship building and trust needs to be earned before people will buy from you.
Have you noticed that some passengers whilst you are driving grip onto the handles in the car as though they are petrified? They do this because they may not know how good your driving is, especially on the first occasion because their trust level in you is limited. Once they get to know the driver and realise that they will arrive at their destination in one piece then they will become a lot more relaxed. The same element of trust needs to be built up in business.There are also a number of social media platforms on the internet and some of them will be more appropriate than others. I will now take you through some of the options.
LinkedIn is a professionals networking forum, www.linkedin.co.uk. This forum is very useful for professional services such as accountants, business development, solicitors, property related services, financial related services etc. There are many sub groups and forums that you can engage people. Typical examples of sub groups are “Cost reduction & and cash flow specialists”, “Starting a small business group”, “Marketing “and Interim consultants”. I have noticed that this forum leads towards Business to Business (B2B) networking more than Business to Consumer (B2C). I am not saying that B2C companies should not register on LinkedIn but their customers may be more likely to be other business owners or consultants.
If you are a consultant of any sort then LinkedIn is certainly a good platform for you to join. If you are looking to recruit someone into your business then you can post your vacancy on LinkedIn. My user name is “Simon Misiewicz” and my company profile is called “Optimise Accountants” so why not find me and connect with me.Facebook is a good platform for connecting with friends and being able to keep contact with them.
You can access this site www.facebook.com. There is more to Facebook than just friend’s connection. There are also sub groups on Facebook for people to connect with similar interests, which may be a little less formal than those on LinkedIn. Some of the forums that I am a member of are, “Property Investors”, “Movie fans”, “Start up business”. I have noticed that the contributions and discussions on professional subjects previously mentioned, are fewer than that of LinkedIn. Indeed their conversations are lighter in nature and people sharing snippets of information rather than sharing best practice. Come and find “Optimise Property Accountants” I will share with you some Facebook hints and tips to grow your business.The third social media forum that I would bring to your attention is twitter and you can find it by typing www.twitter.com .
This is a media whereby you can share 140 characters of a message and is therefore very good for posting “tweets” about inspirations of the day, posting comments with links to blogs & videos and sharing information for events. I have used twitter to communicate with customers if they have questions or if they are posting details of their events I will “retweet” their message that send their event details to my connection list. You can have conversations with people by “retweeting”.Keeping a track of the conversations you had on Twitter is a little more difficult than facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.There is one social media that is now beginning to take traction and compete with Facebook and that being Google+. Facebook asks users to say what their interests are and to enter personal information.
This can now be searched by companies that wish to engage with customers to ensure that they promote their products and services appropriately. This provided Google with a serious problem as they do not hold data on people just what they searched. Facebook started to rival the search functionality of Google. As a result, Google created their own social media platform with Google+. Given that the two biggest search engines (Google & Youtube) are owned by Google it is a very good idea to add yourself onto Google+ simply because their numbers will grow and will add to SEO where Facebook SEO has now been significantly reduced, if not stopped by Facebook.
Therefore any comments on facebook will not be searchable on Google.So which social media should you use? The answer is simple use all of the ones that I have mentioned. Remember that Facebook & Google+ can be used to post short messages that are lighter than LinkedIn so your customer base may be different. LinkedIn is for professional networks and Twitter is for posting short messages and YouTube is for posting videos. This is an effective approach to communicating with your customers.
You can integrate your social media posts between each platform from Youtube via Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and vice versa.One thing to consider is that you can connect with people from one social media site to another. If you connect with one person on Facebook then consider connecting with them via YouTube, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Take time to consider the connections that you have on LinkedIn, which is more a professional connections social media compare to that of Facebook. People may be happy to connect with LinkedIn as they want you to read what they are saying as a professional but they may be less happy for you to read their personal comments on Facebook.
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