Marketing on a Nil Or Low Budget Part 2 – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – Social Media

What can you do when you have little or no money to put aside for advertising? How can you get the most bang for your buck? And what the heck is “social marketing” and why should you learn how to use it?

Previously I shared how you should create your message first before starting to market your company/products. This is important because presenting a consistent message over and over in different formats is going to be remembered a lot sooner than a different message every time.

So, what about social media – Facebook and Twitter? What about LinkedIn? How can these pages help your business?

Well they can actually help a lot, and cost little to nothing in the process.

Facebook

the first thing you want to do is to create a Facebook group for your business. You can create a group, or a Fan Page. Or both. The group page is where you can post your updates and messages. The Fan Page is where others can post messages and links. The Fan Pages tend to be more unrestricted in the sense that unless something is terribly abusive, anything gets posted.

The first part of the Facebook page is a brief description of your business. For example, if your business is clothing, then the description would be about your clothing line. If your business is photography with an expertise in weddings, then write that.

Then there is a section for recent events – and that can be anything from tips, to sales, to interviews, to favourite web pages… anything related in some way to your business. Something that gives value to your readers/group members and has them returning for more.

Once you have those pages set up you can invite people to join your group.

Is that it you say? Is that all you have to do? No!

You should be updating your page minimum weekly. Put a link to a new blog post you’ve done – or perhaps a related blog to your business that you particularly like. Keep it fresh. Change the picture perhaps. Make it personal! (For a great article on branding – go to candidimages101.blogspot.com). Ask questions – message your members if you need some feedback on a new product. Invite members to events using the event feature – maybe it is a special sale, or a coupon code. The point is to keep this interactive and worth their while to keep coming back. If there is nothing new, they won’t stay long as a member.

Having said that – use the interactive (messaging and event invitation) judiciously and somewhat sparingly – there is nothing worse than having the same group message every day about something. I tend to tune-out then turn off those group connections.

Don’t forget you can also link in your external blog site to your Facebook page. Then each time your blog is updated, it automatically updates on Facebook. You can link your Twitter account too with the Twitter widget.

On your own page, join other groups that may be interested in what you have. Then when you have a special for example, post on a few of those pages a link to your site with a short engaging message. Just be careful not to make a lot of postings! Facebook will suspend your account, perhaps permanently!

And then there are Facebook ads. My oh my what a tool. Here is where you can target a specific age, a specific location to really focus your message to the people you want to reach. I first learned about this from a young real estate agent who shared that his ads get posted on a page when the persons status changes from single to engaged or married – he sold 28 homes in 2008 all through internet connections!

This part is not free, but it is not out of reach for most of us. I am just starting to explore this level of Facebook, and will do a trial of ads targeted for collegiate athletic programs. The possibilities are enormous! You set the price you want to pay for the ad clicks, and the limit you are willing to pay each day. So it is a really targeted media if you have a specific group in mind that you want to reach.

Getting deeper into Facebook and posting real ads is where you start adding up costs. But if your ad is well written and generates sales, then your return-on-investment will have proven itself. I will write an update on how well that has worked down the road.

Twitter

Twitter is another social media that is becoming “all the rave”. I admit again that I am not as familiar with the uses of Twitter as I now am with Facebook. I think celebrities and athletes are finding this extremely useful to gather a following – so many people want to know the minutia of a celebrity’s life! Or if you are a successful business person like Joe Vitale, thousands of people hang on your every word.

I see a more practical use for Twitter in creating “a day in the life of… ” tweets. It really is a “micro-blog”. For example, using photography again you could tweet your day in the life of a photographer. That might mean “off to photo shoot”, “calming down bride”; “helped fix wedding cake”; “downloading media”; etc. etc. It could be quite interesting for the person thinking about a career in photography!

Twitter is also useful for posting notice of the start of events, or contests – short notices that let people know status has changed.

LinkedIn

And then there is LinkedIn.com. LinkedIn.com is more of a professional business directory that can link you to thousands of people. Sometimes job postings are only posted on LinkedIn. Sometimes you want to get connected to a particular individual, and one of your connections on LinkedIn happens to be in their network – so you can ask your connection for an introduction.

You also make and receive recommendations on LinkedIn – so you can search your friends profiles and see who they recommend, and add your recommendations too. And finally, when you connect to different networks in LinkedIn, you hear about opportunities that you might not otherwise have heard of.

Summary

As you can see, all three of these social media pages have more pros than cons for being able to build connections and opportunities for your business. There are many other networks too. Just remember, you must always be mindful of what you post – anywhere – because it is somewhere in cyberspace permanently. And if it is something you regret later, it may come back and bite you. Stay focused, stay professional – even in your personal Facebook pages – and you won’t have any problems.

FACEBOOK:

  • Get a Facebook account for your business – either start a group from your own Facebook page or create a “fan” page for the business
  • Invite friends and clients to join your page
  • Post regular updates – message members if you have specials or special events going on (interviews etc)
  • Post interesting links
  • Use Facebook advertising to target your audience e.g. if you want to do wedding photography, target ads that go to people who update their status from single to engaged; if your product is for students, target the ad to colleges and universities. Then your ad only pops up on the relevant page.

TWITTER:

  • Get a Twitter account
  • “Tweet” according to what your company does – e.g., if executive, can tweet when off to important sales meetings or closing deals; if photographer, tweet when off to photo shoot
  • Set up your profile based on what you are sharing about your company. For example, you might want to tweet about a “day in the life of… “
  • Tweet interesting links too that don’t always have to be related specifically to your company. If you get wind of a really funny video on YouTube (and clean fun – what is simply sarcastic to you may be hugely insulting to someone else) such as the bride and groom boogying into church, by all means pass it on. Otherwise link to things that relate to your company or what your company is about. E.g., if I hear of positive stories, I’ll tweet the link because our company is all about being positive
  • Tweet special events, contests, coupon codes

LINKEDIN:

  • Get a LinkedIn account
  • Take the time to complete your profile
  • Invite people you know into your network
  • ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS from people you know – people do look at these and it contributes to their decision whether or not to hire you, or use your business
  • Take a look at your friends profiles – maybe they know someone you have been wanting to meet… ask for an introduction
  • Make recommendations – and only recommend those you truly do recommend, not just because someone asked you to post something. You are relying on your network to be honest about their recommendations so be honest about yours.

Learning Internet Marketing 105 – Social Media – (Facebook)

Introduction

There are 5 Critical Steps to optimising your position in relation to other businesses on the Internet. The five critical steps in learning Internet marketing strategies are – The blog – Social media – Video online – Social bookmarking and – Content sharing sites

The pivotal element in learning Internet marketing strategies is the blog but it equally relies on the other four elements to be completely effective.

In this article on learning Internet marketing I will discuss the social media strategy used to increase your presence on the Internet and will particularly focus on Facebook as just one tactic in a range of strategies. I will also discuss the relationship of Facebook in your overall Internet marketing strategy.

Definition

Facebook is defined in Wikipedia as a free-access social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook Inc. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves.

The website’s name actually refers to the paper facebooks depicting members of a campus community that some US colleges and preparatory schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus. (see wikipedia entry for Facebook)

Facebook as a Tactic

Facebook is actually a key tactic or platform used to socially and virally interact within a particular group or other network. This can include people who have an association with others not necessarily in the same certain geographical location. It is probably the most popular tactic or tool in the social media strategy.

It has some very distinct advantages over many other social media in that it has a high level of interaction with other followers, it establishes and maintains connections that are more personal in nature and even more importantly it has no social, economic, sectarian barriers that other forms of communication may have.

Actually, Facebook introduces a new element to the whole area of marketing in that it not only meets your search engine marketing strategies, it also establishes your social network marketing strategies. I will explain this in a little more detail.

Search engine marketing strategies can be established and enhanced through the social media. By carefully identifying the various groups you can easily target specific niches and therefore focus your marketing activities. Because of the extremely social nature of Facebook participants they are always willing to openly share even there most intimate details and thoughts.

The visibility of its members is increased the more they interact and the more they open up their inner most thought. By their very nature Facebook members are very open and this makes it easier for them to communicate with people from all areas of society. Some of the social networks become strong business networks over time.

Some amazing statistics

Recent figures indicate that Facebook has over 200 million users and over half of these have daily contact online. More than two-thirds of Facebook users are now outside of colleges with the fastest growing demographic being those people over 35 years of age. On average a Facebook member has at least 120 friends on the site and something like 3.5 billion minutes are spent online each day.

Each month more than 850 million photos and more than 8 million videos are uploaded while more than a billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes and photos etc.,) are shared each week. There are also 2.5 million events created on the site each month. (see Facebook statistics)

These figures all clearly demonstrate the enormous influence just this one tactic in social media has to impact on not only the social lives of its members but on the corporate marketing strategies as well.

With all of this activity on Facebook there is no wonder that it is a very rich source for search engine traffic and search engine optimization. Corporate members can easily test and measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns quickly, easily and extremely cost effectively. Even if they were using the paid advertising, the return on investment for a specifically targeted campaign can be extremely high. Considering the traffic, more potential subscribers the greater the number of paying clients.

In this article I have specifically focused on Facebook but I must emphasise that this is just one of many social media available today. Others include MySpace, Bebo, LinkediIn, Orkut, Skyrck, Hi5 to name just a few of the major players in this social media group. They each have their own niche areas and specialties but they all form part of the viral Internet marketing strategies available to every home on the planet as well as every office in the corporate world.

In conclusion

Social media is just another major strategy in the ever increasing world of learning Internet marketing strategies with Facebook being one of a plethora of tactics, or platforms used in viral marketing strategies. It is a social as well as corporate reality that while some critics may doubt its validity as a genuine marketing tool the myriad statistics would prove otherwise.

In the next few articles I will discuss some of the other social media including the micro blogger; Twitter, as well as video sharing through YouTube.

Marketing Your Business Online Through Social Media

There has been much written and said about marketing your business online through social media. When you consider those venues for marketing, you should be aware of the fact that your first order of business before you market is to build relationships. People do business with people that they know and trust. Thus 70% of your interaction should be devoted to building trusting relationships and 30% to marketing your business.

We see the same kind of thing in brick and mortar businesses every day. In fact, when it is correctly executed, it is much the same as marketing your business online. When a customer walks into a store, the owner or the sales professional has one chance to engage them on a social level. The owner of the store might ask the customer how they are doing, what brings them into the store, do they shop there a lot etc. If the interaction is positive, he/she might ask about their family, where they are from originally, what they do for a living, etc. If you think about it the latter questions are the same type that one might ask when engaging someone through social media.

Facebook is a particularly good venue for getting to know someone on a social level. There is really something for everyone on Facebook. There are groups in just about every area of life. This is where you can share your passions and the things that you really enjoy about living. There are also games that many people love to play. In fact strong relationships can be built through such interactions. Then there are the surveys that you can fill out about people you know or want to know better. If you want to engage socially you will certainly be able to do so on Facebook. This level of the relationship has nothing directly to do with marketing your business, but it is an absolute necessity before you make an effort to market your business to this audience.

LinkedIn and Twitter are also vital social connections to develop and share business and personal interests. Linked-In demands that you engage your audience with general content that relates to business practices and you as a professional. There is also an opportunity on LinkedIn to share who you are in the business world and the knowledge that you have to offer others on Linked-In. Twitter is all about information sharing. Usually it is specific to a personal or business interest. It is safe to say that you will not successfully market your business on either of these sites, if you do not first honor the rules of engagement. You must post professional and interest specific information to the social community in order to be successful with the LinkedIn and Twitter audiences.

You should also be aware when you engage the social community that it is not all about you. In fact there are others in these social communities who are there for the same reason that you are. They are looking for a platform to promote their professional interests. Be sure to take an interest in what they are doing. Opt into their Facebook Page. Like and Share their articles and posts and affirm their value to the community. Remember, what goes around comes around. If you spread their information around and it will come back to you.

Once you have developed relationships on these sites and presented valuable information to the community, you are ready to market your business online through these social networking sites. In fact you have developed a captive audience of people that now have an interest in whatever you are doing socially and professionally. Once you have their attention, go ahead and market your business. You may not get a great response at first. Keep engaging them on the social level and try again a week later. Like any form of online business marketing it takes time. Be a steady presence in the market place and in time you will find that your social media network of friends are your best customers and most consistent buyers. Here’s to your success!

If you are searching for more in-depth internet marketing skills, please see my resource box below. I would love to point you to the best training that I have found on the internet.