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.

The big well-known social networking sites are great for  reaching a broad market and for reaching your friends and relatives. But there are more and more options open to the small business person these days. Many of  these are focused on your industry or neighborhood. Perhaps they don’t reach  millions, but sometimes it’s better to reach 20 people if they’re the right  people than reaching 2000 of a friend’s aunt’s bridge group’s circle.

Take the site Flickr, for example (www.flickr.com). Share your family photos by  all means, but if you’re a professional photographer you can use this site to  build a network of your peers and find people who are interested in your work.

The big sites are valuable and fun, but they are not always  the best way to reach those who can benefit your company. The point here is to  explore all your options, or combine them to get the best results possible for  your business. Check with others in your line of work or get on the Internet  and do some searching. You’ll be amazed at how many business-specific sites  there are out there steadily building communities for a great variety of  professions, organizations and companies.

And if you use these opportunities for social networking,  remember it’s your business on the line out there. Commit to it, be reliable,  and more than anything, follow up. Those new customers are out there waiting for you.

 

If your business isn’t a Social (Media) Butterfly, flying from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube to LinkedIn and so on, it’s time to get out of that chrysalis and test those wings.

Perhaps you’re still a little skeptical about the value of Social Media. Some people were skeptical about computers, a technology that is now considered the norm. Think about this: If you want to tell your customers about a new product, remember that one little tweet can reach thousands. Want customer feedback without all the rigmarole of a survey? Get a presence on Facebook and read all the comments. Want to retain customers? Respond to their tweets and posts. Want to show how great your product is? Post a video on YouTube. Want to recruit highly qualified employees? Create a LinkedIn account.

Let us help you become a Social (Media) Butterfly. We’ll set up your flight path and soon have you flying high above the competition.

Buick’s “Quest for the Keys”

Buick is using social media in their coming promotion of their new car lineup, called “Quest For The Keys”. They will push Regal, Enclave, LaCrosse and Verano in a scavenger hunt that offers clues on Facebook and Twitter for the first three weeks on the hunt then concludes with a day of offline scavenger hunting.

What makes this promotion unusual is that Buick will incorporate the use of multiple location based services for the campaign. People will be able to use Facebook Places, Forsquare, or Gowalla in their hunt.

The program will begin in the next few months in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, and Austin, Texas.

GM’s Social Media Marketing

General Motors has recently hired “Big Fuel” to do it’s social media marketing. “Big Fuel” is a New York based marketing agency. That means they are about to make a major push in social media promotion. Keep and eye out for it and let us know when you come in contact with it.

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?

Remember your first economics classes? Those were the ones that explained how systematically the price and production level of a product are set at that precise point where supply meets demand. Once students gain an understanding of that theory early in their economic studies, they spend the rest of their economics education learning the flaws and fallacies that keep the theory from working. I know. I majored in economics at Florida Southern College.

Knowledge in the Market Place

There are many factors that keep that theory from becoming reality. The primary fallacy in economic theory is the assumption that consumers have perfect knowledge in the market place.

Many of us have walked into a store and purchased a soft drink, then left the store, arrived at another location and found the same soft drink available for a lower price. And nearly everyone has purchased a product that they were incredibly disappointed with it once they used it. If they had known before the purchase what they knew after the purchase, they would have never made the purchase!

These mistakes are made constantly on a grander scale throughout the business world. We make these mistakes because of things we don’t know.

Social Media = Knowledge

Social media is moving us closer to having that “perfect knowledge”. It’s not hard to go to a search engine and type in the name of a product you are interested in and find some opinions written on it. Today, people set up blogs focused on venting their frustrations about products or companies they are unhappy with. And others are quick to post their praises for products they are very happy with. For a good example of both sides just go to Facebook, search “Walmart” and see the array of pages that are available.

Businesses Must Satisfy Their Customers

In the past businesses focused on how their products were perceived prior to purchase. Customers made the purchases based on what they expected to receive. Today businesses must focus on how their products are perceived after the purchase. If the customer isn’t happy then the customer will tell the world about it in great detail.

We still have a long way to go to reach that point of perfect knowledge in the market place. And I doubt we will ever get there. But, thanks to social media, we are able to avoid many of the mistakes we have made in the past. Customers know what they can expect. And businesses that use social media know what their customers want. Those that don’t, well, they will lag behind their competitors who do and some of them won’t be around much longer.

How has social media impacted your business decisions?

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.

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.

Many businesses and individuals seeking work are using social media to display their wares. It serves as a good resume and a chronological log of your on the job training. At some point in the future visitors will be able to see how you have grown in your field.

“Build it and they will come…” – NOT

When Ray Kinsella hears those words in Field Of Dreams you realize you are in a fairytale. It fascinates me how many people believe that’s all they have to do with their Internet tools. Once you’ve created your social media assets, you’ve got to let your target markets know about them. And you’ve got to give them a reason to come. Going viral would be nice, but let’s bring things down to reality.

Build it so they will come back

Your primary mission in creating your social media tools it to create content that will make the people who view it want to come back and view it again. To do this you’ve got to offer something of value. Often that item is free advice. One way to do this is to show your visitors how they can use your expertise and save some money by NOT hiring you. This is the kind of service friends tell friends about.

Sound crazy? It’s not. Yes, your free advice will go to benefit that free loader, but is that the customer you really wanted? No! He’s the one that knows more about your field than you do (well, he thinks he does). One thing that free loader will likely do is tell others about your free wares. And occasionally one of those “others” will be the customer you want. And that is the customer who takes a look at the work to be done and then realizes that you would do the job quicker and better than he would.

Get them to come the first time

Now that you have your blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools up and operating, you’ve got to get people to pay their first visits. How are you going to do that? Take a careful look at the promotion resources you already have in place. How can you “link” your social media to those items. Is your blog address on your calling card? Is it mentioned on all of your audio ads? It it posted in all of your print ads? Do you offer a Facebook invitation from your website? Are your blogs listed in you email signatures? And so on…

After you have incorporated your existing promotional tools, find other sources that will get people to make that first visit. Paid per click ads on Facebook, Google and other media are cheap and can focus on narrow target parameters. Get vendors, customers and other industry associates to link their media to yours where it is appropriate.

Friends, links and followers become leads

Once you’ve built a following, you’ve built a list of leads. You know a little about them and they know even more about you. Now go ask what you can do for them.