April 2011 : Using Social Media for your business

Here are five reasons why you might want to have a Fan Page:

  1. Fan Pages get indexed and are another source of traffic; from the search engines and from within the Social Media itself. Lots of people don't use the search engines anymore, they search within Facebook to find pages - it feels like a more personal recommendation for them.
  2. Your competitors have one. If they have one and you don't, they are simply tapping into traffic that you aren't.
  3. Social Media and Search Engine Optimisation are more connected than ever - Google and Bing admitted in December 2010 that Twitter and Facebook impact rankings.
  4. Building trust and credibility is important and you need to engage people on a personal level. Fan Pages can be perceived as more personal and inviting than web pages. That's not to say you don't need a website too - all these tools need to work together in tandem to improve your results and grow your business.
  5. You need to stay current (if not ahead) of the trends if you want to survive in an online business and ignoring what has clearly become an important strategy may be like waving a surrender flag for your website.

And a recent campaign message said:

"Social Media is the most explosively growing media of all-time and growing faster with each passing day with no slow-down in sight. It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users. It took TV 13 years to reach 50 million users. Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months. And iPhone applications hit 1 billion in nine months."

Based on these messages, it is easy to get seduced into thinking that by using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc., big sales are just around the corner.

However, Social Media should work in conjunction with traditional marketing and sales techniques and you need to learn how to use Social Media to engage prospective customers and how to get them talking about something that is important to your business and, ultimately, to sales.

It is necessary to pinpoint the specific message so that you know what direction your messages should take and how you should focus your posts. It is far more than a list of good and bad words or topics.

The following topics should be considered:

  • Building Trust - use your posts to build a reputation of trust among clients, media and the public. When reaching out to others on Social Media sites, you should take every opportunity to build a reputation of trust and to establish youself as a credible and transparent representative of your business.
  • Being Transparent - when participating in any online community, you should disclose your identity and affiliations.
  • Being Direct - when creating posts and content, you should be direct, informative, and brief.
  • Giving Due Credít - if you post copyrighted material, you should identify the original sources.
  • Self-Editing - you should always evaluate each post's accuracy and truthfulness. Before posting any online material, you need to ensure that the material is accurate, truthful and without factual error.
  • Responsibility - negative or questionable posts should not be written.
  • Privacy - you shouldn't ever disclose proprietary or confidential information.
  • Obeying the Rules - you must follow local and central government laws and regulations. Ultimately, your online activities will be a reflection on your business.

Today's social media tools are great for building business provided that you know how to use them.