7 Business Development Marketing Tips For Social Media

You would have heard so many marketing experts telling everyone to use social media as part of their promotional marketing mix. The Internet is flooded with information on using Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. Numerous articles have been written on how using social media can help promote your brand image and how it can generate web traffic for your main business website.

Keep in mind that that social networking is a marketing tool and it is only effective when used properly to promote your business.

The key question for a business is "How is social media harnessed to generate real revenue and customers?" In today's digitally connected society your customers regardless of their age, gender or economic status will be active on social networking sites.

Here are some of the latest usage statistics on social media use that will make a business take notice:

  • 68% of small businesses will increase their social networking marketing efforts in the next year
  • 56% of Twitter users say they use the micro blogging site for business or work related purposes
  • Over 40% of people have become 'friends' with or 'like' a brand / company on Facebook or MySpace
  • 20% of tweets are about business products
  • 46% of Facebook users say they would talk about or recommend a product on Facebook
  • 44% of Twitter users have recommended a product
  • Social media played a major role in holiday shopping – 28% of shoppers say social media has influenced their purchases

On the Facebook site alone:

  • More than 400 million active users
  • 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  • There are over 160 million pages, groups and events that people interact with
  • Average user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 70 pieces of content each month
  • Males and females almost equally use social sites (47% vs. 53%)
  • 61% of Facebook users are middle aged or older, with the average age being 37
  • 18-to 24-year-olds don't dominate any particular social networking site; They spread out all over
  • More than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month

The participation of your business in social networking should be self-evident, however, many businesses will go on to set-up social media sites and make no effort to participate and engage in the groups that their potential customers use.

To be successful in using social networking your business must find out where your potential customers spend time on these sites so that you can engage with them where they prefer and not where you prefer or are comfortable with. Participation and engagement with their social networks will form a platform from which to build relationships with communities of interest. This in turn will provide a new customer acquisition channel using the share and like capabilities of the social networking world. This "sharing" is the equivalent of word of mouth in traditional marketing.

Here are the 7 Business Development Marketing Tips for using Social Media:

1. Go where your customers are and not where you are comfortable

To find your customers on social networking sites consider the following:

  • Conduct a survey among your customers or potential customers.
  • Analyze and monitor traffic on social sites to discover how and where customers are sharing information about your business and your competitors.
  • Review marketing research or statistical information on the usage and demographics of the different social media sites.

2. Engage and interact

Social-media engagement is a conversation and your participation in the social network groups and communities is core to building relationships. Your value as a participant is judged by the value that you provide to the community as a whole. You can achieve this by freely sharing relevant, interesting and useful information

3. Research your competitors' activities

You need to gather competitive information that can help your efforts. Conduct a competitive analysis of your top five competitors' use of social media for the following:

  • The social networking sites that they actively participate
  • The type of content they publish
  • The number and type of followers, fans and views
  • The products, programs or events promoted

4. Release offers and programs that are exclusive to your social networking channels

You must give importance to your social media with exclusive offers for these promotional channels. This will entice potential customers to share with their networks the offer that is not available from other marketing channels.

As an example, provide offer an exclusive offer for your social media channel, such as discount coupon or voucher.

5. Social media participation requires authenticity and transparency

The words "authenticity" and "transparency" are a bit overused today, however, these are cornerstones to be successful with social networking. Be a real human being in your interactions. This is the foundation to build trust and connections with real people on social media groups and networks.

6. Look for value opportunities in selling through social networking

Take the opportunity to leverage social media in selling your products and / or services by offering relevant items that are of value to your followers. Make it easy for them to make the purchase from these social media channels.

7. Always test and refine based on results generated

Social media programs as a marketing channel are not exempt from testing and refining your messages and offers. You must make the effort to test, gather results and analyze how it can be improved before launching the program to the entire channel.

Apply these 7 Marketing Tips for using Social Media to give you the foundation for success building and growing your business using these communication channels.

Social Networking Tool – Eight Tips on Choosing an Effective Domain Name

Finding your niche domain name is a major stumbling block for many individuals as so many of the most popular domain names have already been taken.  If you are new to the Internet game, your domain is a unique identifier for a particular URL (Uniform Resource Locator).  The URL is your web address and becomes the center of your identity or personal branding.

Many things must be considered when determining your domain name as it becomes your brand and establishes a roadmap to your site.  The best advice is to be actively creative and not be discouraged when looking for a name.  Always bare in mind that your domain name represents both you and/or your business.  It is extremely important that you choose your domain name carefully.

Nailing Down Your Domain Name

Start by thinking of your ideal domain name and then throw out as many words and combinations of words related to that ideal name as possible. The key is to start to brainstorm a long list of possibilities and come up with something that is uniquely your own.  Bounce some ideas to your friends, family, and anyone that will listen. If you are having difficulty in determining a name, use your dictionary and thesaurus on your computer and play with words. Sooner or later something will come to mind and you find a potential domain name and that may work for you.

Based on my research the following are eight key things to consider when choosing your domain name:

Get a “. com” Extension – The first question you will face when considering registering a domain is what ending or extension do you want.   The “.com” extension, in my opinion is best if it is for your primary website.  I have used the “.org” extension for a society website that I developed several years ago.  Again, it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

As you do your research you will notice other domain extensions such as: “.net,” “.biz,” and “.info,” just to name a few.  There are some new country-specific extensions that can be an advantage if you are marketing to a niche within a specific country.

Based on what I have  learned, you should register a domain name with the extension “.com” for personal or business branding and “.org” for an organization as most people are accustomed to that web site address ending.  I used the “.net” extension for one of my websites.  I found the name using “.com” was not available and the “.net” ranked as well as the “.com.”  At this stage, it is your choice on what you want to do, based on what works best for your website or desired application.

Easy to Remember –  The key is to pick a name that, when someone reads or hears your website name for the first time, they can easily remember the name.  Of course, there is often a give and take between trying to find a name that is easily understood and one that is “brandable”.

The easier your domain is to type into a browser, the better chance people will remember it.  Think about the “elevator talk.”   Can you convey your message in a few seconds or at a glance?

Andrew Carnegie put it nicely when he said: “Quality is the most important factor in business”. A friend of mine says “A picture in the head is worth more than a word in the ear.”

Try to Make your Domain Relevant to your Chosen Keywords  – If you are trying to reach a particular niche, consider including at least one or two of your important selected “keywords” in your name.

One way to research is to determine which of the keywords or keyword combinations are searched for most often.  Various free and paid programs will allow you to conduct this search. Knowing where your chosen keywords rank should make your selection decision a little easier.

Keep the Name short, if Possible – Try to keep your name as short as possible and still get your website message out. (Not including the suffix “http://www”.)

Consider avoiding words such as “best”, “top”, and “number 1” and do not use intentional misspellings.  These can confuse and lower rankings.

If all of the desired domains names are taken, add a short word to make it unique.  You can do this by testing different combinations of your chosen name.  For example, add the word “my” in front of the domain name if appropriate.  You can check the names of domains at the registrar that you have chosen.

Try to Avoid Hyphens and/or Numbers –  Some experts suggest that if you use hyphens and/or numbers there are a lot more chances for people to make mistakes when trying enter the name in your browser.  The person may forget to add the hyphens and/or numbers and will view the wrong site.   Again, it is your choice to decide what works for you.

What is your Budget – You can usually register a new domain name for less than $10 – $15 per year.

One May Not Be Enough – It may not be a bad idea to register several similar domain names,  depending on your budget.  If you have your “.com”, you may want to register “.net” or “.org” version so no one else can take it.  The best advice is only purchase the domains that you need, unless you intend on becoming a domain broker!

Avoid Trademarked Names –   A trademark is “a name or symbol officially registered to a third party, and unless otherwise specified, the trademark owner is the only party that can legally make use of a trademarked name.” This mistake is not made very often, but can create potential legal issues.

To ensure that you are not infringing on any copyright with your domain name, visit the International Trademark Association or the US Government Copyright Office websites that handle Copyright and Trademark information.  It is a good practice to search for your selected name before you buy.

Do not Forget the New Mobile Names – You may consider registering a “.mobi”  type domain name.   Again, it all goes back to the budget.

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Business Networking – Tips for Shy People Who Want to Meet Clients at Networking Events

Do you hesitate about going to business networking events because you find it difficult to approach people? Do you end up hanging around with your colleagues, and never meet anyone new?

If you consider yourself a shy person, you’re not alone. Studies show that over 40 percent of adults feel nervous about meeting new people. One survey showed that about 75 percent of people feel uncomfortable at business and social events. Perhaps this is because our parents always told us not to talk to strangers when we were young. But we all know the importance of networking in meeting clients.

Tips for meeting clients at business networking events:

o The best secret for shy people is that most people are worried themselves about being rejected. They’re not judging you. We’ve all been rejected at one time or another, and the feeling remains for a long time. But in business situations most people are interested in connecting with others. That’s why they go to networking events.

o To increase your chances of success, look for a person standing alone. Approach that person with a smile on your face. Extend your hand, and introduce yourself. You are almost guaranteed a warm welcome because you’ll be rescuing the person from standing alone.

o If you can’t find a person standing along, look around at the different groups in the room. Take a moment to study their body language. Don’t approach two people who are engaged in conversation – they might be having a private talk.

o Find a group where the people look like they are enjoying themselves and are having a light-hearted conversation. Approach the group and try to make eye contact with someone. Once you make eye contact, people usually part to let you in. Then you can extend your hand and say: Hi, I’m (your name). If you can’t make eye contact, wait or look for another group.

o It’s fine to introduce yourself in this way. Most people have been in your shoes, or are in your shoes at that moment, and will empathize. After introducing yourself, ask about the function, and if they have been there before. If you don’t know what to say you can simply ask: How’s business?

o Remember to be sincere, smile, make eye contact and show interest by listening. Expect acceptance and you will be accepted

You are invited to use these tips to help you meet clients at business networking events.

The Business Card: Discussing Their Purpose and Relevancy in the Age of Technology and Social Media

It’s 2017, and with minimal effort, you can find a significant other, purchase and have delivered groceries, and fully perform a day’s work without ever leaving the comfort of your home. In an age where social media and technology are king, many practices of the past have lost their significance and fallen by the wayside. The importance of the business card is no different. Or is it? I look to explore the purpose and relevancy of the networking tool in the age of social media, determining whether it’s a practice here to stay, or one to throw away.

So, what is a Business Card?

Perform a quick Google search and you’ll discover that a business card is a small card printed with one’s name, professional occupation, company position, business address, and other relevant contact information. They’ve been around for ages, originating back to 17th century England, where businesses would use them for advertising, as well as maps, since street numbering systems didn’t exist at the time (Ward).

Why are Business Cards Necessary?

In Japanese culture, business cards are treated as an extension of the person and are always to be treated with honor and respect (the balance). It’s pertinent to make a continuing impression, even after you’re no longer physically present, and use of business cards make this possible. It’s this elements that constitutes the continued need for business cards and why they surpass social media in certain situations. Although social media provides various ways to locate and keep up with who is important, there’s just something about the physical exchange of a business card that solidifies a connection. It’s this genuine connection we all seek that still finds 88% of American’s finding their significant others offline despite the increased popularity of online dating (Smith and Anderson 2016).

I recently received advertising in the form of a card for a free 6-month subscription to a music service from a concert, and although I’ve utilized the purpose of the card, I have yet to discard of it. I simple love the look and feel of the card, and admire the great care that was taken in its design. It’s this appreciation that allows this card to linger on, now serving as a memento of the occasion. Had this advertisement reached me via text or an email, the lasting effect good design provides wouldn’t be present, and I would no longer be shouting its praises. This effect is what we all strive to have in our day-to-day interactions, so wouldn’t it be beneficial to have this effect with a potential customer or employer?

Social media has its benefits, the ability to streamline and compile contacts to a click of a button being a huge upside, but fails to consistently create connections we can hold on to. We only have once chance at a first impression, and in business a business card is the tool that can successfully carry that impression, long after you’ve departed.

The business card is either the first or last thing you give to people when meeting them, and as a result is the item that they will remember you by (Schussler & Karlins 2011).

Sources:

Schussler, Steven, and Marvin Karlins. Its a jungle in there: inspiring lessons, hard-Won insights, and other acts of entrepreneurial daring. Union Square, 2011. (p.115 – 117)

Smith, Aaron, and Monica Anderson. “5 facts about online dating.” Pew Research Center, 29 Feb. 2016, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/29/5-facts-about-online-dating/.

Ward, Susan. “Why Business Cards Are as Popular as Ever.” The Balance, http://www.thebalance.com/business-cards-2947923.