If your organization’s website is the single most important piece of branding, then why are so many organizations jumping onto the social networking bandwagon as well? Simple. The answer is in the results.
Nowadays, it seems that everyone and every business uses a Facebook page, LinkedIn account, blog, Twitter account and all for good reason. There are a myriad of long term opportunities for businesses willing to utilize these incredibly popular social networking sites to support their brand recognition and customer base. Marketing teams will strongly recommend that their organization start implementing such tools, but it seems that management is worried about what the return on investment will be.
It is true, that such tools offer a gamut of opportunities, however it is important to consider the question of how effectively can I use these tools? What are the best options? And how do I start?
By implementing these popular online social tools, such as Facebook, Twitter or a blog you can create new branding opportunities for potential customers to come to learn about your brand, your services and your products. It allows you to target more people in a wider field, hitting customers you may not have known existed. And the benefits do not stop there.
In addition to establishing new leads, creating an online presence on social networking sites lends itself to opportunities for improving your ranking on search engines as you can have your website and various important links to your products or services strategically placed throughout the social network webspace and vice versa.
This can increase the web traffic that hits your webpage, but is it the right traffic you are trying to attract?
The answer lies in how you best position yourself on these networking sites and whether you have chosen the right one for your target audience. With the right mix, interest in your business can flourish.
As a business owner, you need to sit down and figure out how you can effectively use these networking tools. Like any new campaign or project, you need to decide what you want to achieve by setting yourself goals and objectives within a set time frame. Understand what applications and tools within the site are available and whether they are right for your business.
A blog such as this keeps readers informed of new products, services, tools and initiatives that are available from myhosting.com, hence why you are reading this right now. Social networking sites can give the chance to provide specific sales offers, special promotional features or exclusive news and information to its users. Perhaps a blog is the best way to communicate to your customer base in a new way? Maybe a Facebook Fan Page is ideal for promoting your product that is hugely popular with university students? Or perhaps a Twitter account is perfect to constantly update customers about the latest offers available in your store? It all comes down to doing your research and understanding how each site and tool can help achieve what you want to achieve and integrating it successfully.
Keep in mind that you must stick to your niche. Try not to be everything to everyone. You can run the risk of missing out on the opportunities that social networking sites offer, miss your target audience completely or end up with a dead web page that is under-utilized and wasted. So remember to know what you want and how you want to achieve it within a realistic time frame.
As only a social networking site can do, it will prompt interaction with your customer base which can be beneficial in helping you move forward with your business and what you are able to offer in terms of products and services. These sites create a social environment which promotes dialogue between you and the customer. While you may be afraid of negative feedback (which may or may not happen), keep in mind that any criticism is constructive and you should use it to your advantage to improve on your offering. Be available to interact and respond to your customers concerns if they provide feedback on your blog, LinkedIn or Twitter account. It will not only show that you are listening to what they are saying and where they’re coming from, but will also provide the much needed human element to a world that is continuously becoming faceless.
Once you decide on what social networking tools you want to use, and how you want to use them, it is always smart to promote it to your existing customer base. You should integrate the social networking page with your website. Start up a blog site with myhosting.com and link to your various social networking systems. After all, they will start to go hand-in-hand before you realize it. Create links, icons or tabs, click through buttons, web banners promoting that you have a new Facebook page, Twitter page or blog. Include a hyperlink at the base of your organization’s email signature promoting that you have a social networking presence. Send out an email campaign to your database encouraging them to join, read and discover your social networking presence. The marketing opportunities to create interest in your new online ventures are endless, so use them wisely.
Not sure where to start? Check out the many starter applications myhosting.com has to offer. Be it a WordPress Blog application or phpBB discussion forum software. You can get started on your online presence in a real way.
So what kind of return on investment does having a social networking page offer? By creating new avenues for your customer base to access information on your business, products and services, and attracting new traffic to your social networking site, and inevitably your website, you will be able to see a positive fiscal return. In the long term, you are creating new opportunities for business, new opportunities for growth and new opportunities to venture into new services or offerings.
Whether you have a blog, a Twitter account or a Facebook page, you can be assured that maintaining a social networking presence online is a key marketing tool for businesses looking to further their reach, increase their customer base and increase sales. Remember to do your research thoroughly, understand what tools work best to ‘speak’ to your customer base, and be specific with what you are saying. Like the old adage says, the wider you cast your net, the more fish you catch.
- Using Social Media to Build Traffic for Your Website
- Social Media for Small Business Part III: Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media
- Measure and Track Your Social Media with Expert Sheldon Levine
- Social Media For Small Business – Part II: Tools and Resources For Your Small Business
- Social Media for Small Business Part I