As businesses use more of the social media resources, website designers are incorporating more skills. They are turning into website developers.

Website Design

Getting your business website designed and posted today is not enough to make it effective. It needs to be managed to keep content up-to-date and to connect with social media like Facebook and Twitter.

business websites, social media

Social Media Connections

Many businesses are using social media as a two way information source for their customers. When a user finds their website in the search engines, they can click on their Facebook link and send a message to the business through the social media connection.

Website Developers

The incorporation of SEO, social media and other Internet assets into websites is turning your website designer into a website developer. An example of this is the Charlotte Website Developer who serves businesses across the country. They began as a website designer and have grown into the Internet marketing partner of several businesses.

Keep Your Resources Up-To-Date

Whether you use a third party or not, it is critical that you keep your Internet resources up-to-date. Falling behind your competitors can prove costly if you loose potential customers.

Connect your websites to your social media. Your should have a link to your Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools on your primary websites. Your website designer and developer can place a logo for each service and link it to your social media page.

This is a great way to keep your current clients better connected with your existing means of communication. It is also a great way to show potential clients how you can keep them updated on your business and how they can participate.

Tools! Tools! Tools!

There are more than 172 tools used by businesses to share, manage and evaluate social media. Don’t panic. You don’t have to learn to use 172 tools. You just need to get a handle on three to five tools to use for your core social media strategy.

The Tribal Drumbeat

It’s been said that social media today functions as the tribal drumbeat of our time. You want the drumbeat of your company information circulating freely across the social web so that it’s easily available to your customers everywhere. You don’t want it locked up in just one site.

It’s Called “Social” for a Reason

Social technologies are called “social” for a reason. They’re about connecting and conversing. The high incidence of referral traffic suggests that you want your customers to know about your goods and services from more than one source. And those sources need to be on the social media services that most people interact with daily. How your customers interact with the information you give them is a good reason for you to develop a strong grasp of social media. Being a better listener and information gatherer will help you be more responsive to your customers’ needs and create a wider customer base.

Help is Available

There are many sites with more information on those 172 tools than you’ll ever need. Check with us. We’ll bring it down to life size and help you and your business breeze through the most useful of these social media opportunities.

 

Businesses need to develop a plan for their social media.

Plan A Dialogue

You need to create a long term strategy for you social media dialogue. What are you going to say and when are you going to say it? This dialogue can focus on special events or seasons. Different businesses have different seasons. A jewelry store needs to focus most of its effort on seasonal events, like Valentines Day and Christmas, and also focus on special events, like promotional event put on by a diamond vendor. Then something like a monthly newsletter can keep visitors coming back on a regular basis.

Make Regular Responses

Once your social media tools are in place, make sure they are being monitored. This can happen with someone checking for responses to your Web 2.0 resources like Facebook and Twitter. The ideal way to keep these monitored is to do it through a smart phone that will be with someone 24/7. Otherwise, make sure the social media tools are checked on a regular basis.

Encourage Two Way Communications

The key reason for using interactive social media is to get information from your clientele. Encourage them to participate. One neat example is what Clorox did at Christmas time. The offered a $1 donation to the Red Cross for each click through to the Red Cross website.

Here’s their message:

Clorox Last chance to give the gift that saves the day. For every click-thru to the American Red Cross Holiday Gift Catalog, Clorox will donate $1 to the Red Cross, up to $10,000. Find a link to the Red Cross Holiday Gift Catalog on the “Clorox Home” tab of our Facebook page. Then, simply click on the “Start Helping” button.

There are many other ways to get participation on your social media. What methods do you use?

Facebook Members Now Exceed US Population Did you know there are more users on Facebook than there are citizens in the United States? Well, you know it now.

The Social Media Revolution shows no sign of stopping. This is the greatest paradigm shift since the industrial revolution. It may be even greater.

Internet Marketing Changes

Internet marketing started off as a one way communication. Marketing has been that way for generations. With the advent of social media and Web 2.0 Internet marketing has become a two way flow of information. Customers now tell businesses what they want. Businesses that know what their customers want have a great advantage over those that don’t.

As with any paradigm shift, major changes are taking place in business and industry due to social media. Businesses that have reacted quickly to the changes are gaining market share. Those that are not participating will probably not be around much longer.

Take A Look at The Socialnomics Video

Ask and Listen

Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and other Web 2.0 tools enable you to ask your customers what they want. And when you ask, they will tell. What they tell you can be used in the direction you grow your company. Businesses now focus on listening and learning from their target markets.

What have you learned from your customers lately?

Contact us if you need help incorporating social media into your marketing.

The success of most companies is dependent on their reputation in the market place. So who should control the “company name”?

Company Control

Years ago “the good name of the company” was under the control of the higher up corporate individuals. Radio, television, print and other advertising promoted their products. The marketing information flow was primarily in one direction, from the company to the consumer. Whoever controlled the outflow of information, controlled the image of the company, or the “Company Name.”

Consumer Control

As communication technology has improved, consumers have become better able to communicate with each other about the brands they buy and the companies they buy from. The more they communicate, the more they learn from each other. This has shifted control of the “company name” into the hands of the consumer. This loss of control has presented a problem for the company that does not have happy customers.

Two Way Communication

Today, with social media, consumers are better able then ever before to share experiences, good and bad, about the products and services they buy. But the company can use this two way communication to it’s advantage. Through social media the company is better able to monitor and participate in these communications. The key information a company needs is knowledge of what it’s customer wants. And who better to get that from than the customer.

Learn What The Customer Wants

Blogs, Facebook and other social media allow companies to find out what their customers want. Tools are available that tell you when your company’s name has been mentioned. Programs like TweetDeck allow me to see when and where someone mentions my name or my company name.

As companies respond to customer needs, they make changes to the items they provide. As their goods and services change, so changes their company and their company name, and all for the better.

A. G. Lafley, CEO of Proctor and Gamble in a keynote address at an advertising industry conference stated:

…consumers are beginning in a very real sense to own our brands and participate in their creation. We need to learn to begin to let go.

Consumer control of the company name, if managed properly, is a good thing! The keys to gaining this control is to find out what the customer wants and then to provide the customer more than is expected.

Small Companies Using Social Media Every Day

Huck HuckabeeDaryl Willcox Publishing found that 35% of small companies post updates on websites like Twitter and Facebook every day. This should tell you something. It is working for them!

Also in the survey, one third of the respondents do not have time to use social media. And close to that percentage said their customers do not use it. So if my math is right that’s 35% are using it, 33% don’t have time, leaving 32% claiming their customers don’t use the medium. Also of those questioned 25% said they don’t understand the medium. Something tells me that of the 32% claiming their customers don’t use the medium, a large portion of those respondents are just using that as an excuse not to get started in it.

Let Me Teach You Social Media

If you don’t have time to learn to use social media, but think you need to learn it, then contact me. I will set up a blog for you. I will help you set up a Facebook and Twitter account. And I will link your blog to post your entries on your Facebook and Twitter pages. And I can train someone on your staff to post information and monitor what is being said about you on the Internet. And I will do it all at a very reasonable price. This will save you a lot of time and I will be available to advise you in the future.

Give me a call at 704-438-2910

Ford Motor Company set a new standard this year by introducing their 2011 Ford Explorer on Social Media. On June 26th, 2010 Ford posted twelve videos on YouTube and linked them to their Facebook “Reveal” page. One of the goals of this project was to get 30,000 people to ‘Like’ the Ford Facebook page. At about 3:00 pm on the 26th, Ford had 48,900 ‘Likes’. By 1:00 am on the 27th they had over 53,000.

Ford started their postings with a video that included Mike Rowe, the Ford spokesman, and Alan Mulally, Ford’s CEO.

Visit Ford on Facebook, go to their Reveal page, and look at the campaign they set up for July 26th.

Huck HuckabeeI have had two customers approach me in the last couple of months and talk about making major changes to their marketing strategies. In both cases these customers have been to trade shows and have attended seminars that are showing them the importance of Internet marketing and Social Media. One of my customers is reducing Yellow Page advertising to a bare minimal and moving those resources to a blog, Facebook and Twitter. The other, Starnes Jewelers, his already seeing the benefits.

Mashable, an online Social Media magazine, posted an article by Erica Swallow that really shows what is happening with small businesses and Social Media. Adoption rates have doubled from 12% to 24% in the last year.

Erica’s article reviews five neat examples of small businesses using Social Media. Click here and take a look.

According to Borrell Associates, from Williamsburg, VA, marketers will spent over $38 billon on social media advertising and promotions by 2015. That could get it closer to being the primary media means for business in the future. Marketers need to master social media or they could have a hard time finding work.

  1. Engage your current customers with social media. There are ample sources of social media. What you use will depend on your business and your clientele. LinkedIn has forums that can cover a wide range of topics or can be very specific. The same goes for blogs. YouTube can show video of a specific use for a product and get comments or suggestions from current users.  Research various tools to see what works best for your business.
  2. Generate qualified leads. Research by the Social Media Examiner, a web-zine, reported that 52% of their survey respondents had used social media in obtaining qualified leads. Friends of friends can connect with your business through common contacts. Customers looking for specific goods and services can search the social media for businesses that can meet their needs. Make sure they can find you in social media.
  3. Minimize negative word of mouth. Social media is in the control of the customer, not the business. Most businesses have some dissatisfied customers. Some of those dissatisfied customers will spread information related to their dissatisfaction by one of the most effective promotion tools ever known – word of mouth! And the power of word of mouth is multiplying as social media grows. Several tools are available, such as TweetDeck, that notify you when someone is talking about your business. From there a business can take action to minimize the damage done by such customers.
  4. Capitalize on positive word of mouth. Maximize the impact of positive word of mouth. Expand the conversations and ask for suggestions on how to improve your services. You can get some really good ideas from your customers.

What social media tools does your business use? How are you using them.