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No! This is where most businesses get it wrong.
Whether you’re running a bricks and mortar company with office space coming out of your eyeballs or a funky online store that comprises of you in your back room working until late at night the going off to your regular job, the answer is always no.
Social Media is not about selling. It’s not about whoring yourself and your business out on Twitter or Facebook or on your blog to make more money; it’s about a whole lot more. If you treat Social Media like another member of your sale teams, who’s constantly trying to sell every product that you have to anyone who will listen is just bad business. You’re about 5 years behind the trends if you do that. Wake up!
Social Media is about Customer Service. It’s about listening to what people have to say and what people want and helping them out. It’s about solving problems when you can with not asking for anything in return. Social Media connects you with your customers but that doesn’t give you the permission to assault them at every turn with the hard sell.
Try listening and not selling through Social Media. The people who sell for you through Social Media are your customers, who by word of mouth recommendations will bring new customers to you.
It's a talk aimed particularly at Web App developers, obviously, but if you watch it and take what you hear on a very general business level you'll end up taking a lot of great thoughts and ideas away from it about how brand your business as well as yourself.
This is a good one. Enjoy
The traditional forms of marketing yourself and brand are dropping away as people move to the more new age ways of advertising and communicating with their customers, yet many businesses dismiss Social Media as a fad that will never be able to replace TV, Radio and Print advertising. By jumping on the Social Media train you could connect with your customers in a whole new way.
Social Media can always work against you however if you fail to realise the power of it. People talk. We, as business owners, know this but if you're not engage with your customers online and you're pumping out poor products or customer services then people will talk. The video below comments that only 14% of people trust traditional advertising while a whooping 78% trust the recommendations of other people. That, by itself, is a massive indication of how customers have changed their buying habits in light of this Social Media revolution.
The question is do you care about what people say about your brand or do you think it's just all a fad?
As online business owners, we're always thinking about how we can continually get our brand and our business name out in to that ether commonly as the Web. We follow all of the latest social networking trends online but most of the time we’re not sure how to use them properly and that’s ok because we’re entrepreneurs not online marketing gurus. We can see the importance but it takes a lot of time to invest in online marketing via social media. Doesn’t it?
Well that depends. If you want to be continuingly reminding people of products and offers that you’re selling on the hour, every hour of the day and night then yes, it’ll probably take up a lot of your time and you probably won’t be interested in reading on. But if you want to harness the power of some of these social media worlds then let’s carry on.
I’m going to look at one of the big one’s in the social media world; Twitter. Why? Because at smashingbusiness.co.uk (@smashbiz) we use it and we think it’s great. Twitter can be a really powerful tool, that used well, can really help to increase the interest in your brand and your online business.
Here are my 5 tips for getting the most out of Twitter.
1. Join the Conversion
For me, this is one of the big things that people new to Twitter miss. Twitter is a conversation and as in any conversation there needs to be a dialogue. Conversations aren’t much fun or of much interest when only one person talks. If you see something on Twitter that’s of interest, whether you agree or disagree with it, then reply to it or retweet it. Join the conversation. Use Twitter as a discussion tool not just a soap box.
2. Don’t be a spammer
Personally, as an active Twitter user, there’s nothing more annoying to me than someone repeatedly pushing out spam; we sell this, we sell that, we’re great buy from us. It’s so unbelievably annoying and I usually unfollow them straight away. If you’re using Twitter to simply sell you’re products then you’ve probably chosen the wrong medium in which to do so, to be honest.
You need to balance your need or want to sell yourself and your product with the need to engage with your followers. Granted they’d like to know about your deals or special offers but they’d also like to know about you and what you’re doing. @ebuyerdotcom are at this. They tweet about their deals and new products sure but they also tweet about their blog posts and especially their Cake and Cookie Fridays, where they offer up great recipes for tasty treats. Try to use some creativity with your Twitter Feed and have fun.
3. Follow to be followed
I found this out to my own expense about 6 months ago when I’d gotten stuck on around 100 followers and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t work out why my numbers wouldn’t change, then a friend of my pointed out the problem. I was unable to attract people to follow me because I was only following a handful of people myself. People were having the courtesy to follow me but I didn’t have the courtesy to follow them back. If you’re a big, well known brand like Virgin or the BBC then you can attract 100,000’s followers without ever having to follow them back but if, like me, you’re a small fish in a very large pond you need to follow people to be followed.
4. Using 3rd Party Apps
There’s nothing more sapping to your productivity as a business owner than checking your Twitter profile every 5 minutes to see what your followers are up to. If you do that you’ll never get any real work done so you need to use applications that can better track your followers. There are quite a few, just check out these apps and you’ll see what I mean. My personal favourite is TweetDeck. Its customable features are great. You can set up columns for many of your Twitter accounts as you want; business or personal. Personal on my TweetDeck I have a column of just my favourite people that I follow, my mentions, and my Facebook news Feed. I get notifications on my desktop when any of those update and can then view them when I have the time.
5. Hold back the flood
There can be loads of excitement when you initially join a social network like Twitter but that enthusiasm can boil over if you don’t discipline yourself and you can find that you are posting updates every 5mins. If you’re flooding the public timeline with that much content then, yes you will get noticed, but will you get noticed for the right reasons? Most likely not. Most likely you be disregarded by the actual people you’re trying to communicate with. Rather than posting out everything you can think of, at any given moment, try to hold back and only post the real quality and your followers will appreciate you more.
Follow smashingbusiness at @smashbiz
Or me @benlumley6
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