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How to Leverage Social Media for Your Business in 2012

Learn how to plan a long-term online marketing strategy through Social Media that will attract leads, build brand awareness, gain repeat exposure with customers, promote events, and eventually generate sales.
by

Karen Etchells

on 23 October 2012

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Transcript of How to Leverage Social Media for Your Business in 2012

Blogging, Social Media, Email and Article Marketing, PPC, Video, SEM — How to Leverage Social Media
for Your Business in 2012 What platforms are most
worthwhile for your business? of your
marketing efforts
should be focused on Social Media? How much ? Can Social Media be effective
for ? Dave gets a
company car. Meet Dave He doesn't make a sale
each & every time
he visits a customer. In the olden days... TV Print Ads Direct Mail Cold Calling
Who is your target customer?
How are they using social media?
Which social media channels are they using and for what?
Would they be receptive to hearing about your product via that channel?
What action do you want them to take? The factors include: The split will be
different for each
business/industry. People spend more time on social media than any other activity on the internet. 93% of US adult internet users
have a Facebook account. 78% of customers trust peer recommendations. The emphasis should be placed on the word "social," which really means sharing. The best small business use of social media is to create things that are worthy of being shared.
Facebook, Twitter, Linked–In, blogging, etc.
are your vehicles to carry your message, which is... content worthy of being shared. Effective Social Media is about striking an ongoing conversation with your customers and potential customers and building a relationship. Be the authority on your topic.
You’ll become a trusted member of the community.
When consumers are ready to buy,
They will buy from you. Dave is not just a Salesman. He is a relationship builder. He becomes friends
with his customers. That way,
they don’t run the other way
when they see him coming. Some of these methods can still be effective... He’s friendly.
He’s funny & entertaining.
And he’s informative. He knows his product line well. They trust his advice. But... He visits accounts
on the road. What platforms are most worthwhile for your business? Decide where to focus your marketing efforts.... But... Get to know your target audience. •Find out where they spend most of their time on social media.
•Spend time observing and seeing how they interact online. Scope out your competition. •Check out what your competition does on social media.
•What networks are they on?
•Does what they’re doing seem to be working?
•Learn from their mistakes. Ideally, you should support ALL your other marketing efforts with social media.

For example, if you’ve got TV ads running, why not also post the ad on YouTube and then share through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever networks you’re on.
It's what builds momentum & gets you noticed. Integration: Repurpose content. Can Social Media Marketing work for B2B? Well, the decision to purchase (or not)
is going to be made by a human. It‘s important to have a corporate culture that is willing to commit to social media over the long haul. The most significant challenge faced by B2B brands, is having a culture that supports the following principles of effective social media engagement: transparency
honesty
relevance
value and
commitment B2B-friendly Social Media Platforms LinkedIn is perhaps the most effective social platform for B2B marketers. Be sure to include service descriptions on your company profile, create & participate in groups, ask and answer questions, follow competitors, and test advertising. Blogs are highly effective communications vehicles for B2B companies. Done correctly, a corporate blog is ideal for creating awareness, credibility and even thought-leadership within your industry. YouTube: Also known as the second largest search engine, YouTube offers tremendous untapped value for B2B marketers, particularly for generating awareness. Twitter: You can syndicate blog posts, videos and LinkedIn or Facebook status updates directly to Twitter, giving you additional exposure to a large network. Facebook: Apps like BranchOut are trying to take on LinkedIn by identifying business connections in your personal Facebook network. Consider testing Facebook advertising, due to the unique targeting abilities. You may hit a B2B decision maker when their guard is down. No business is safe from attacks online. Having a presence in Social Media allows you an avenue for response. And then, there's always the fear of what might be said about your business in such forums.... However, Establish a Strategy Listen. Plan. Create.
Communicate. Engage.
Measure, Test, Refine. Step 1: Listen. Don't implement social media strategies until you have researched the marketplace.

Step 2: Plan. Develop a plan that includes key audiences, goals, content strategies, metrics and benchmarks.

Step 3: Create. Optimize your social profiles for maximum visibility and develop content.

Step 4: Communicate. Establish content strategy and initiate outreach. Don’t forget Step 1 – never stop listening.

Step 5: Engage. Start conversations and build relationships to include prospects AND customers. Have flexibility in your program based upon feedback. Give customers what they want.

Step 6: Measure, test and refine. Optimize your overall program based on performance. Be
innovative. Be
approachable. Translate Strategy to Action They're all simply more tools
in your marketing tool box. Focus on Lead Generation Not followers. Allocate your Resources Identify the top performing channels and invest more into them. His visits are actually a welcome break from their daily grind. Utilizing Social Media is like having your own "Dave" on the road in the virtual world. Social media increases your company's overall SEO.
Your customers and competitors are already there.

Social media increases the number of inbound links to your website.

Social media offers an affordable & effective customer service & support medium. (DIY videos & photos, employee blogs, knowledgebase wikis, etc.)

Social media platforms are effective tools for managing your reputation online.

Address your targets’ core pain. Revisit your customer personas with a new round of customer interviews to better understand the challenges they are facing.

Get into the game ASAP. (Early adopters can leverage a lack of competition.)
Full transcript