If you are looking for a cost effective way of marketing your business then social media is the way to go.  I will warn you that it will take time, patience and effort and a lot of the time you will think that nothing is happening and you are wasting your time.  However, it is a great way to establish yourself in the market place.  Social media also gives you the opportunity to engage with your target audience and listen to the needs of your customers.  What is very clear is that your marketing strategy must be transparent.  Listen and engage in conversations.

1. Where to begin
Establish what you want to achieve from social media.  What is your objective and why you want to use social media?

2.  What do you want to use social media for?  Perhaps…

  • To get feedback on your products or service
  • To offer advice ad information
  • To generate new leads
  • To form alliances
  • To inform your audience of special offers and product information
  • To meet people
  • To promote events and workshops
  • Share stories and experiences

3. Research

Find out which social platforms will be of benefit to you.  Find out where your target market hangs out and listen to their conversations. Use keywords and do a search on your type of business.  See what sort of questions people are asking.  Your audience may not even be talking about related products/services but converse on other topics.  Be aware of popular trends.

4. Find out who the influencers are

This may not be the top businesses in your industry but it may be a group of people who have influence and access to your market in your local community.  Who has a good following of people who write blogs and are based in your local area.

5.   Brand Awareness

Brand awareness today is all about transparent and who is talking about you.  This means, are people twittering about you, your links, sharing your content and recommending you to others.

6.  The bare minimum, what you should be doing daily

  • Blog on your blog site at least 2 to 3 times a week
  • Blog in the social communities you have chosen to focus on
  • Take part in forums
  • Post comments on blog sites relating to your industry
  • Post comments on blogs in your chosen social communities
  • Engage in conversations, get involved in online chats and groups
  • Build relationships
  • Network and attend networking events
  • Collect information via your website and blog site
  • Collect contact information from people you meet
  • Distribute a newsletter at least once a month
  • Offer to write blogs on other people’s blog sites
  • Invite others to write on your blog site
  • Twitter regularly, offer daily tips, special offers, RT interesting tweets, give recommendations
  • Make sure your blog is always twittered
  • Bookmark blogs and sites you find interesting on Digg and Stumble Upon and post comments
  • Write some reviews
  • Do some video’s, video’s are in and post them on Youtube and other video sites
  • If you have podcasts, blog about them and post links to some free podcasts
  • Run a few teleseminars

This list is not exhaustive and I am sure I have left out a few things.

Give people the opportunity to get to know you, if you join a platform and you sit on the fence.  How are people going to get to know you?  How do you expect people to meet and engage with you.  If you are sitting on the fence, maybe ask yourself, “why did I join”.  Don’t be afraid, jump in, the value is to get people talking to you.

7. Time well spent

In order to be successful you need to be proactive with social media.  Social media requires regular if not daily focused activity. Set yourself a time slot each day.  If time is a factor, I recommend you hire a virtual assistant who is well informed in social media to help you manage your social media on your behalf.

8. Time saving tips

Use a digital dictaphone and record your thoughts and then send it to a virtual assistant for transcription, this can be a big timesaver.  The average person types at approximately 20 wpm.  A virtual assistant types at 60 or more wpm. Once transcribed you can then tailor it to your style and personality and make amendments.  When it is ready to be published, again use your virtual assistant to publish the blogs on your behalf.  Let them know where you would like the content to be published.

9. Signature

Signature is extremely important.  Your signature should always include your name, surname, company name, website address, twitter address.  Preferably a company logo or promotional image.  Type and set up your signature in a wsywig html editor.  Once done, open the html box, copy the text and then past it in notepad.  Save and now every time you do a post you can copy and past your signature.

Good Reads

65 Bite-Sized Web marketing tips

Social Networking 101:  Basic tips for online and offline social networking

Useful social media marketing strategies

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