With more than 300 million users and counting, it is hard to ignore the potential impact Facebook can have on your business marketing plan. Other social media channels, such as LinkedIn (over 40 million) and Twitter (approaching 18 million), have also emerged as major influencers in the B2B and B2C economic environment.
Today, social media no longer operates only on the fringes of the business world, but rather it has begun to mediate precisely how we conduct business on a day-to-day basis. This dramatic shift in our marketing climate, dubbed “socialnomics” by Erik Qualman in his book Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business, is creating a new, more personal and more immediate communication process with your customers. Adding a social media component to your existing Web site and broadcast e-mail activities can dramatically expand the relevance, reach and frequency of your marketing messages. Is your business truly leveraging these emerging tools? Think “Social Integration.”
Face the Future… Facebook is intended to foster person-to-person interaction where users create individual “profiles” describing their interests and activities. Build awareness for your business by including regular mentions about your profession and the services you provide. Produce a “fan page” posting news and information about your business. Create interest “groups” to promote an ongoing exchange of information and ideas with targeted customers.
Generate referrals by encouraging friends, associates and clients to post testimonials on your “wall.” Build a sales contact list by sending and accepting “friend requests” and by visiting other friends’ Facebook pages to send invitations to their own circle of friends and associates to connect to you. Facebook postings may also enhance your search engine rankings by offering frequent links leading new visitors back to your primary Web site or landing page.
Business’ Missing Link… On LinkedIn, it is all about “who you know” and “who knows you.” Gain exposure and establish your expertise by regularly contributing to the “questions and answers” section. Become an insider by creating and joining different targeted customer “groups.” Use the LinkedIn “search” feature to identify new prospective sales contacts by company, city or industry and to communicate with them in an unobtrusive manner. Write and request “recommendations.” Create opinion “polls” and share your information with your other contacts. Use widgets to integrate other social media tools into your LinkedIn page.
Kip Cozart is CEO of CC Communications, a Web design, programming and Internet media company. Contact him at 704-543-1171 or visit www.cccommunications.com/resources_articles.cfm for more information about emerging online technologies.