Social Media Marketing Firms – How They Can Make Your Business A Success

Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn among others have literally transformed from simple social network sites to major business / product / service marketing platforms. This is simply because of the large number of users accessing the sites on a daily basis. Like with any other marketing process, social marketing is a process that businesses / marketers employ to attract attention or gain traffic to their traditional business websites.

A common feature of social marketing is creation of relevant content that not only attracts but also encourages social networking users to share the same with their social networks. As users share content, a business / marketer gains what is referred to as "earned media" instead of "paid media". Transformation of social networking sites to business marketing platforms has made it possible for a good number of firms to specialize in social media marketing, offering their services to millions of small, medium-sized and large businesses across the world.

There are several ways through which social media marketing firms can make your business a success story.

Business Reputation

Just in the same way that you strive to gain good reputation among your local clients, it is also very important that you have the same with social networking users. This makes it necessary to know what the users say about your business / product. A dedicated social media marketing firm will normally have what is referred to as Client Center, a nerve center that gives you information regarding what is said about your business / product on social media sites. A firm will normally gives you access to the center with valuable reputation management tools for your own use.

Monitoring / Reports

Monitoring the performance of your marketing campaigns on social media sites can be a big challenge considering the fact that you need to focus on your business. Monitoring and reporting is one of the most important services that a social media marketing firm will provide you. A dedicated firm will continuously monitor the performance of your marketing campaign and report to you what is good about it and in case of poor performance, advise you on what needs to be done to improve the campaign.

Customized Marketing Campaign

Engaging the service of a social media marketing firm can be of great benefit when it comes to directing your campaign to a specific population in a geographic area. Although you may manage to gain a huge following on social media sites out of your own efforts, driving them to your traditional business website can be very difficult. A social media marketing firm will go the extra mile to keep your followers engaged through updated and encouraging content to attract them to your website.

Regardless of how small your business may be, having a presence on social networking sites is something you cannot ignore when you need to expand your business. However, engaging a social media marketing firm for the purpose of marketing your business on social networking platforms requires that you research carefully to identify a reputable firm that will take your business to the next level.

How to Market Your Business Using Social Networking

Effectively marketing your business by using social networking sites has become as important today, as having business cards was 20 years ago. But as social media sites continue to evolve, and bring in more and more people every year, the inability of using these sites effectively can be extremely detrimental to your business. As these sites continue to grow, many companies are using these opportunities to cut costs, and bring in new clientele. So how can your company begin to learn how to use social networking effectively and how exactly can it be used to grow your business?

The effective use of social networking sites can significantly help your company to improve its public image and make it more accessible to your clients. Having public profiles accessible to your clients and potential customers, gives your business a chance to interact with its customers like never before. The use of social networking sites will significantly improve the reach and visibility of your business and services, at little or no cost to your business. You will have more chances to introduce new products and services, while simultaneously being able to receive feedback on whether the ideas are working or not.

The use of social networking sites can provide your business with an alternative to the big budget marketing of the past. You will no longer need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars every year marketing your product to the masses. Social networking sites now offer your company a free alternative, by being able to market your products and services to as many people as you want, absolutely free. All you need to do is to register with the site, create a public profile, and start adding contacts. Getting in touch with potential clients through the use of social networking sites can help save your business money, as well as establish a new level of trust between you and your clients.

Social networking sites provide you with access to forums and discussion boards, from where you can talk about your services and products, as well as interact with potential clients about these products and services. It allows them a chance to get to know your company better, and provides a much better way to properly understand their needs as customers. It gives them opportunities to send you questions as well as feedback about new or existing services, and gives them an opportunity to know your business on a more personal level. This can be a great advantage to your business, as well as cut a huge amount of cost.

By maintaining constant communication with your clients and customers you are helping your business to grow in ways you never thought possible. Not only are you saving money on free advertising and marketing, but you are meeting people as well, people who can help your business grow, as well as building possible, invaluable business contacts down the line. But most importantly you are making yourself accessible to clients and getting to know them better and understanding their needs as customers. Properly understanding your customers' needs is the key to understanding exactly what to do to properly satisfy them.

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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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