Get connected this holiday season: social networking for your business
If you are in ecommerce (or any business nowadays), you certainly are inundated with thousands of messages and all class of information about social networking and social marketing. As a Project Manager for e-commerce solutions, I like to stay on top of the new technology trends, and how to help my clients to achieve their business potential. I am, as many people out there, fascinated with the social networking phenomena, but with over 300 social sites, how do you choose the right tools and how to implement your social network strategy?
In current ecommerce implementations, using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Share this seem to be mandatory. With numbers climbing to 26% of consumers using social networks on mobile devices , and social media revenues projections reaching $16.9 B in 2012 , you need to stay on top of your social marketing strategy. But adding those “social buttons” to the site is just the beginning.
I recently read the book “Get Connected”, by Star Hall, in an attempt to gain more insight of the social networking phenomena. This book not only offers an analysis of the different social tools available, but also offers in a simple way, the steps to find and implement a social marketing strategy for your company. As a bonus, the book offers 10 case studies of companies implementing social networking strategies in very different industries, just to get your ideas going.
A few recommendations when building your social networking strategy:
- Build your social network plan Whether you are trying to increase your revenue, increase brand awareness, or build your reputation, you need a plan so you can be sure you are going in the right direction.
- Create goals and milestones These can be as simple as increasing the number of email subscribers within a month, or increasing customer satisfaction. Most likely these will change but will provide you with feedback about the tools you are using. Analyze your online metrics or other industry standards related to your business.
- Target Market and build Trust Find your market and make them love you! Stay in communication with your clients and maintain your content fresh. Use the customers’ reviews and feedback to gain and increase your customer base, and improve your company reputation.
- Baby steps Start with two of the most popular sites: Facebook and Twitter. Set up your business page and stay active and monitor what other people have to say about your business, products and brand.
Here is a quick reference of the top 5 social networking sites:
- Facebook Use it to tap into an active community of potential business customers and brand yourself and your services. Target college students, internet –savvy users, and the 35-and-up crowd
- Twitter Use it if you have frequent information to share. Target internet-savvy users and mobile users, busy people and new technologies lovers.
- Pinterest Use it to expose your brand, attract new followers and promote themes of products. This is targeted to the female audience with rapidly increasing results.
- MySpace Business oriented towards teenagers, high school students. Use it if you are the proprietor of digital content (music, photos, and video).
- LinkedIn Targeted towards the business professionals. Use it to network, find business partnerships, and share knowledge.
You may also consider using Yelp to find out what customers are saying about your products and services, and other social markup sites such as digg (digg.com) or delicious (delicious.com/) to help with linkage to your site. A couple of sites that follow the social trends are www.socialmediaexaminer.com and www.socialnetworkingwatch.com.
With the Holiday season coming up, it is a good time to start planning your social marketing strategy and take full advantage of the “social networking” to boost your business. Happy Networking!