Monday, July 26, 2010

Putting Twitter to Work for Your Business!

Image by hellvetica
It is not readily apparent to many businesspeople how to use Twitter to influence consumers, build brands, gather customer feedback, or do much of anything beyond following the daily shopping habits of a supermodel or movie star. However, since this microblogging platform has over 190 million users, with a likely 50 million users by yearend, Twitter's popularity alone makes it worth investigating as a social media marketing tool.

From small companies to mega-corporations, businesses are finding innovative ways to use Twitter to inexpensively and precisely target consumers, informing them of new products and services, and even providing product support. Take for example Microsoft's Twitter-based customer support for Windows 7, which offers real-time responses to consumer questions about Windows 7.

On the other end of the spectrum is the comparatively diminutive Web site BBGeeks, which used Twitter to "further its brand, get traffic and gain backlinks," as documented in a highly informative and detailed case study. Regardless of the size of the company, consumers must be willing to "follow" them on Twitter. The resources below present a variety of ways to accomplish this goal, as well as many other ideas for using Twitter to promote your business:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan

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Business planning is perhaps that single most important action you can take in improving the chances of success in a new venture. The same goes for social media marketing--creating a well researched and carefully thought out plan will lay the foundational cornerstone you can use to build a winning social media campaign. 

A social media marketing plan consists of (1) listening to the social Web to identify your target markets and a baseline of your current Web presence, (2) establishing definitive and measurable goals, (3) designing innovative strategies to achieve these milestones, (4) selecting the appropriate social media to effectively reach your target markets, (5) crafting compelling content to attract and influencing your audiences, (6) making sure your products or services live up to their promise, (7) monitoring and measure your progress on a regular basis, and (8) reevaluating and adjusting your SMM plan to account for the ever changing nature of consumer tastes and the social Web.

The following resources explain how to put these steps into action:
Overview of social media marketing planning:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Implementing Social Media Marketing Campaigns!

These days, everyone seems to be a trumpeting a new wiz-bang social media marketing strategy guaranteed to pump up your company's online presence. Consultants crank out social media marketing books and experts abound with advice. The bottom line is that like with any marketing effort, social media marketing campaigns must be carefully planned, executed, monitored, and tuned. The following resources provide some insights about how to accomplish these tasks:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Corporate Blogging!

Image by Ivan Walsh

Contributing to the social Web is the quintessential element to any successful social media marketing effort. These contributions can range from developing a persuasive product or service YouTube video to setting up a company fan page on Facebook. One method gaining popularity is the corporate blog. A corporate blog provides a way to directly interact with your customers to craft a company personality, convey your company values and beliefs, empower customers, gather invaluable feedback, generate excitement about new products or services, and generally enhancing your company's presence on the social Web.

However, producing a corporate blog can be tricky. The key is to offer value, while not beating the consumer over the head with the "company line." You want to be informative, while avoiding the appearance of simply spouting "company propaganda." In addition, you a want to be personal, modest, and most important--tell an intriguing story. The majority of corporate blogs have trouble attracting viewers. By telling a story, you not only attract viewership, but encourage comments.

The following are useful resources for establishing an effective corporate blog, while sidestepping common traps and hazards: