Social Media Brainstorming

Chapter 7: Top 10 Social Media Sites And Marketing Strategies

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    • #1932
      Administrator
      Keymaster

      Google+

      Google+ is a social networking site that includes a number of features which could be utilized for social media marketing purposes. One of the best features for the user is the ability to click on the ‘+ Share’ button on the top right of their Google email page. This allows you to share photos, links, videos, and events with those in your Google circle. You can also filter who receives the information by selecting specific groups, such as family, friends, acquaintances, and those who you are following. Google+ was only launched in June, 2011, but has risen to near the top of the social media networking websites. Here is a quick look at the numbers:

      1. Google+ has 343 million registered users.
      2. Google+ sees 65 million site visits per month.
      3. Google+ user base has grew over 30 percent between June 2012 and March 2013.

      If your business already has a Google email address, it may already have a Google+ account as well. In order to find out, simply log into your Google email account and then visit Google+. If you do not have a Google+ account, you should see a call to action type screen that prompts you to join Google+. Whether you have a Google+ account or not, here are a few tips to make it the best possible:

      • Select an amazing cover photo. A key characteristic of Google+ cover photos is that they are big, so make sure the photo you choose is of the highest resolution and quality possible.
      • You will find a ‘Story’ section under the ‘About’ tab. This is where you enter detailed information about your business.
      • Brag a little, but don’t exaggerate.
      • Use keywords strategically because up to 77 characters of your description are going to show on the Google+ search results of those who are searching for specific products or businesses. It won’t necessarily be the first 77 characters either. Google+ will pick up the section of your description that most closely matches the searched keywords.
      • Use this section to provide links to your business and blog pages.
      • Invite your contacts.

      While Google+ has an impressive number of registered and active users, it hasn’t taken off with social media marketers as quickly as other social media sites. However, there are still some key strategies you can employ to boost your online presence and gain new customers. Here are a few:

      • Events: The ‘Events’ option is one of the best features of Google+. Using this feature, you can set up calendar reminders for your followers as well as advertise upcoming events for your business. Are you planning a huge end of season sale? Create a splashy event for it. It gives you everything you need, including selecting a photo (upload your own or choose from their themed pictures), time, date and place, and a section to enter all of the specific details. You can even choose which circles of followers to invite and whether or not they can share the event with their followers.
      • When you maintain an active Google+ presence you will likely see a higher placement in the Google search results. This can be invaluable for exposure.
      • The ‘Hangout’ feature of Google+ allows you to connect one-on-one with people or broadcast a lecture, such as with a how-to session. You can also use this feature as a mode of customer service by addressing their questions. If the question has a possible ‘action’ response, consider showing them how to do it instead of explaining it to them in writing.
      • The Google+ community feature is another great way to build your online presence. Google+ communities are topical groups that members join to discuss similar interests. There are groups for car enthusiasts, movies, fitness, and even nail polish. By creating a community page, you can help strengthen your online presence as well as establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Your community can be as general or specific as you would like, and you determine what type of community you start:
      • Public: Anyone can join.
      • Public: Moderator approval needed to join.
      • Private: People find you through a search and request to join.
      • Private: Your community is hidden from searches.

      Finally, as with any social media platform, your best chance at success on Google+ is to engage with people. Join communities and post comments. This lets other members know that your business exists, and it builds your Google+ credibility.

      Instagram

       

      Instagram is an incredibly popular photo and video sharing social networking site that allows its users to upload digital media and share it on other social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. Users can comment on posted video and photos, as well as ‘favorite’ the picture. The more ‘favorites’ a picture or video has the higher in the rankings it will show. This spells critical exposure for your business, so selecting what to post is important.  How many users does Instagram actually have, though?

      1. Instagram has 130 million active monthly users.
      2. Instagram users have uploaded 16 billion photos since its launch in 2010.
      3. Instagram users ‘favorite’ 1 billion posts each day.

      Instagram is a force to be reckoned with, and you should make it a key component of your social media marketing strategy. How? The first thing you must do, of course, is set up a business account:

      • Use a business name that clearly represents your brand.
      • Add the basics: profile photo, biography and a link to your website.
      • Connect your Instagram account to your other social media accounts, such as Facebook, through the ‘Edit’ section of your account. This will provide a direct link to those accounts, and photos and videos you post to Instagram will appear on those sites as well. This is an important step in your overall strategy, so do it right away.
      • Once you have connected your accounts, connect your followers by using the ‘Find Friends’ feature. This creates an Instagram news story for anyone who is both a follower on your other social media accounts and has connected their accounts with your Instagram page.
      • Notify your followers that you are on Instagram and provide them with your Instagram name.

      Instagram set up is fairly straightforward, but use it to your advantage by completing all information possible. An incomplete profile never looks good for a business.

      Now, here are some specific strategies you can use on Instagram to advance your social media presence:

      • Display pictures of your products. If you don’t sell anything, upload photos of your employees at work, or pictures of the equipment you use to get the job done. Showing action shots of how your work is performed gives your followers an exclusive inside peek into your business which, of course, adds to the sense of community and customer loyalty you are trying to build.
      • Are you relocating or expanding your business? Let your followers know by posting shots of your new building, or action shots of the actual move. Since you can caption the photos, it will be obvious to your followers what the pictures are about. Tie this together with a Google+ event and you have a great example of cross-platform exposure.
      • Are you having a birthday party for a staff member? Post a picture of the event. Candid office photos really add to your image as a business that isn’t simply interested in selling your products.
      • Consider introducing your employees. Show individual photos of your staff members to put an intimate face on your business.
      • Everyone likes animal pictures, so why not upload photos of your pets, and maybe those of your employees?
      • Promote photo sharing contests. Ask users to upload theme-based pictures (ex: funniest way to use your product) and provide them with a hashtag. Engage followers by asking them to vote for their favorite, and offer a prize to the winner.
      • Keep their attention by including discount promotion codes in the descriptions of some of your photos.
      • If you have a customer who has given you a positive response to your product or service, ask them if they would consider giving you a testimonial. It has to be short, but if you can get it done and upload it, their video review will have more power than any written testimonial.
      • Use hashtags: Instagram is easily searchable, so utilize it. When you post pictures, insert hashtags into the picture descriptions, such as #Mustang or #coldbeer. Whatever it is you’re showing in the product or service-related photo you are posting, you should maximize the exposure potential by using as many hashtags as you deem necessary.

      Instagram is very user-friendly and you can connect your images to any other social media sites where you have accounts. So, definitely use Instagram as part of your social media marketing strategy.

      Tumblr

       

      Tumblr is an image and blogging social media networking platform. Through Tumblr you can share just about everything, including quotes, videos, links, music, and pictures. It is this fluidity and ease of sharing that makes it a star in the social media world. Like other social media sites that allow shared content, these characteristics are also what make Tumblr prime ground for your social media marketing strategy.

      However, there are a couple of key differences. For example, the main difference between Tumblr and Twitter is that there isn’t a set character limit on blog posts, and unlike Twitter, Tumblr is more image-driven. Tumblris different from Facebook because Tumblr is more interest-focused, while Facebook is geared more toward personal connections. With Tumblr, the user has virtually free reign over customization of their blog pages. So, you can make it as focused on your business as you’d like.

      But, how many people use Tumblr? Here are a few facts:

      1. Tumblr has 300 million registered users.
      2. Tumblr has 216.3 million monthly visitors.
      3. Tumblr has over 125 million posted blogs.

      The account setup on Tumblr is so easy that it won’t be covered here, but pay close attention to the themes they offer. You will find premium (paid) themes, as well as a few dozen quality free themes. You can format your page into single columns, or several columns, and they even offer paid customizable options. All of them offer a preview option, as well, so you can see how the page will display before selecting it.

      Once you set up your Tumblr page exactly how you want it, consider some strategies on how to get people to actually view your page, become engaged, and eventually buy your products and services. Now it’s time to focus on some Tumblr marketing strategies.

      • The Tumblr ‘Admin’ option is one of its best features. It allows you to add users who can submit blogs to your page. This is ideal for those in service-related industries. For example, you can add your lead mechanic and charge him or her with the task of writing blogs related to engine repair. You can also add your office manager and ask him or her to create blogs related to auto repair management. The list is endless, and it is a great way to extend your outreach since there are certainly many aspects of your industry that can be written about. It will go a long way in establishing your business as an industry authority as well.
      • Upload clear photos and use them to reach people who think visually. Keep the text of these photos engaging, and include a link to photos and information found on your other social media accounts.
      • Showing a little personality is a good thing. People want to be entertained, so make sure that your photo captions are engaging and personable. The more engaging the photos and captions, the more posts (replies) you’ll get from your followers. Also, the more interesting the photos and captions, the more likely your followers will direct their followers (on all sites) to your Tumblr page.

      • As with other sites, upload how-to videos and ‘behind the scenes’ pictures to give your followers a feeling of being part of your team. Inclusive tactics work well on this site.
      • Consider allowing your followers to submit blogs. This is a great inclusionary tactic, and you can get some great stuff. When users see that you are engaging with them, it will speak volumes about how you view your customers.
      • Set up your Tumblr blog to allow ease of transition between the blog and your website. Not only will it direct your followers to your website, but it will increase your search engine ranking.

      Depending on what type of business you operate, you may or may not use all social media sites in your marketing strategy. However, Tumblr is as close as it gets to the look of a real, personalized website, and it is the best place to strengthen your brand loyalty through the addition of useful blogs, high quality pictures and how-to videos.

      StumbleUpon

       

      The social media site StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that finds and recommends web pages to its users. Users ‘like’ websites they are directed to, and those sites are shared with their followers. One potential ‘like’ could potentially gain your business quite a bit of online presence because once users set up an account and submit information about the types of sites they are interested in, they are referred to seemingly random websites fitting their interests. However, most of the sites they are referred to are sites that were previously ‘liked’ by a friend.

      If your business fits into one of StubmleUpon’s interest categories, you could see a steady, ongoing increase in visitors to your site. The key to StumbleUpon, as with any other social media site, is in active participation. The more ‘likes’ you get the higher your website gets in StumbleUpon’s placement rankings.

      It may not seem that a pseudo-search engine has anything to do with social media marketing, or that it’s worth the investment of your time. However, consider the numbers and you will see that it is certainly worth a look:

      1. StumbleUpon has 25 million registered users
      2. StumbleUpon has 15 million estimated unique monthly visitors
      3. StumbleUpon has 1 billion monthly page referrals

      Obviously, the traffic on StumbleUpon isn’t as high as it is on other sites, but those figures are still impressive. By simply a click of a button you can add your businesses website to the StumbleUpon stream. Additionally, through StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery service, they lead people to your website. Let’s take a look at some specific strategy tips for StumbeUpon marketing:

      • Create a complete profile. This sounds obvious, but the more complete and professional your profile looks the more you’re likely to be taken seriously by consumers.
      • Read their terms of use. StumbleUpon is diligent in how they manage their website offerings.
      • Look into their Paid Discovery service. It is a guaranteed way to get your website to show up when users search for websites that fit their interest categories.
      • Be selective and strategic about what you submit as a ‘stumbler’. Submit industry-related articles and blogs written by others, as well as yourself, so you don’t appear to be spamming the site. This will also help show you are an authority in your industry. This term is repeatedly used because it is of key importance in establishing a quality online presence.
      • Check out other users who have interests related to your business, and select those you think may be of interest to your followers, or benefit to your business. These are sources of potentially rich content and excellent leads.
      • Add compelling descriptions and titles to each thing you share. Make yours standout from the rest so users will be enticed to click on it.
      • Create a StumbleUpon channel. Your personal content becomes a part of your followers feed.

      StumbleUpon, like every other social media site, isn’t going to be highly beneficial for every business. However, since it’s free and easy to set up, it’s worth considering. After all, you can’t go wrong with free advertising.

      Reddit

       

      Reddit is a social news networking site where its users submit content through links or posts. Other users then vote on the submission, and the submission’s ranking, or presence, is gauged by the number of ‘up’ and ‘down’ votes it receives. Content is categorized by ‘subreddits’, which are basically a way to organize the submissions into groups based on subject.

      Here’s a quick look at the numbers. It will help you understand why Reddit is on our top ten list:

      1. Reddit has 69.9 million registered accounts.
      2. Reddit has 16 million estimated unique monthly visitors.
      3. Reddit has 4.9 billion page views each month.

      Setting up a Reddit account literally takes seconds and has a simplified presentation. It looks like a basic news and information stream, and the way it works is just as simple. On your account page,simply click ‘Submit a new link’ or ‘Submit a new post’, and follow the prompts.

      The trick with your marketing strategy on Reddit is how to get more views on the links and information you post. Here are some strategy tips:

      • Immediately after setting up your Reddit account, click on the ‘Edit’ button on the top right of your account page. This will take you to the location where you can clear out your subreddits. It doesn’t make sense to have your account cluttered with non-industry related posts.
      • Search for industry-related subreddits and subscribe to them. Use this time to find out how many users subscribe to the particular subreddit by reading the figure next to the ‘subscribe’ button. Subscribe to those with the most readers for maximum exposure.
      • Each subreddit you subscribe to will show a list of suggested/similar subreddits on the right side of their page. Use this information to expand your subscriptions in the right direction.
      • Before posting anything, identify what it is you want your audience to get from you. This sounds obvious, but it’s critical to building your authority and online presence. For example, if you are in the auto repair industry, make sure that you post links to articles from key industry players, like Ford, Edmunds and Honda. Also consider expanding it a bit to include industry-related articles from non-industry sites, such as Forbes.
      • The key to Reddit is in getting your submissions viewed and voted on, so make sure that your post title and included information are enticing and click worthy.
      • When you find noteworthy industry-related articles that are posted on Reddit, link those articles to your other social media accounts. Reddit is a great way to find pre-filtered articles that will boost your authority on your other social site accounts. Tweet the articles, blog about them, or simply show the link on your Facebook page.
      • Look into the benefits of a Reddit gold membership. For a few dollars a month you get additional perks such as notification when you are mentioned in comments, increased threshold in subreddit subscriptions and comment thread listings, and the ability to save the best comments so you can return to them later. You can also turn off ads and add notes, among other things.

      Reddit is a free, incredibly simple way to increase your online presence. By simply posting links with catchy titles, you can build your reputation and use it to beef up your other social media accounts. This site does not require a lot of work to engage in, but the payoff can be substantial.

    • #1931
      Administrator
      Keymaster

      Facebook

      Facebook is an example of a social network website. Its users are required to set up a profile which can be as detailed or as limited in information as the user would like. Facebook does not place a limit on the number of accounts a single user can set up, either. For example, you can set up separate accounts for your family, your friends, your classmates, your coworkers, and your personal interests (eg: music, science).

      Users can also set up what are called Account Groups within each separate account. For example, if someone wanted to keep only one active Facebook account, he could establish several Account Groups within his main account, one for each of his interests (ex: poetry group, work buddies, cooking), and then invite specific followers to join.

      Facebook allows for minute personalization, right down to which followers get to see your posts and which of your follower’s posts you would like to see. In part, it is this ease of specificity that has made Facebook the number one social media network in the world.

      Here are a couple of figures about Facebook to show the extent of its reach. These numbers are an indicator of just how important this social media platform is to your overall social media marketing strategy:

      1. Facebook has 1.1 billion registered users.
      2. Facebook sees an estimated 750 million unique monthly visitors.

      The first thing to understand about using Facebook, or any other social media site, in your social media marketing strategy is that setting up a page isn’t enough. With over one billion users, it may seem as if they are all out there waiting for you to join. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You have to make yourself known, but before you set out to do that, you need to make sure that your page is worth the attention. The first two of the following tips apply to all social media sites.

      Prep work

      If you don’t already have a website for your business, now is the time to set it up. Your business website will serve as the anchor for all of your social media pages. While it’s not a requirement, any business that wants to be taken seriously online, will hire a great website designer before embarking into the social media world.

      Find a quality email marketing delivery service. These services do more than send emails. They can help you set up and navigate promotions on Facebook and offer real-time advice and solutions for social media marketing beginners. They will even help you track the success of your promotions and events. This is a critical investment.

      The final step is to build a stellar Facebook page. As previously mentioned, Facebook offers countless ways to personalize these pages, and it has areas specifically designed for businesses. Take time to tool around Facebook before you jump in, so you can become familiar with it first. Once you have become familiar with the lay of the land, move on to setting up your page, but take your time and do it right. Here are a few guidelines:

      1. Decide on your username ahead of time. This is a critical decision. Have several choices ready in case your primary choice has already been used.
      2. Have both a profile and cover picture selected. Make sure they are business-related and visually appealing.
      3. Add your company’s basic information in the ‘About’ section. It’s a short space, so be concise in describing your company.
      4. Once your page is set up you can log back in and add content and expanded detail through the ‘Edit Info’ button. This is what your followers will see when they click on the ‘About’ link on your Facebook page.

      Once the prep work is done, it’s time to employ strategy. Follow these initial tips and you will be off to a running start, and you will be a Facebook pro in no time.

      – Don’t be a salesman: Facebook is certainly about exposure, but it’s not about being pushy. The best way to work the crowd is through interaction, because if your followers like what you offer, they will follow your business, they will purchase products from you, and they will share it with their friends.
      – Do invite your own friends and associates to connect with your page. This is the point where you upload your contact list and email everyone about your new venture. People you know are likely to be supportive and want to help, so they will share all they can. You are only allowed to do this until you have 4,999 ‘likes’, so do it early.
      – Do offer an incentive to sign up. It makes sense because it will prompt them to sign up on your page, but they will also share it with their friends who, in turn, will sign up and share it with their friends.
      – Do respond to comments. If a follower takes time to comment on your page, or you see a string of similar questions or comments, respond back to them. They will feel acknowledged, and you will be earning loyal fans.
      – Do weave into your comments and posts anything that will extend your reach. A great tip in this regard is to maintain a blog on your businesses website. Post the link to each new blog on Facebook, and all other social media platforms. It will drive your followers to your website, and it will help establish you as an authority in your industry.

      It is important to remember that, though each illustrated social media site will have a list of strategies to employ that are specific to that site, you should also implement every relevant strategy mentioned in the preceding sections.

      Twitter

      Twitter is the most popular of all social media microblogging sites. It allows each user to post messages of 140 characters or less at one time. These posts can include quotes, personal thoughts, news and picture links, and, most important to the social media marketer, product and service links. While a lot of people will start a Twitter account in order to follow, and feel connected to, their favorite celebrities, media personalities and sports figures, Twitter has quickly become the fastest way for information to spread around the world. In fact, it has become such a force that it is lauded as the glue of current national and international social movements, including those intent on overthrowing governments. In a word, Twitter is powerful.

      Often, a business owner will sign up for a Twitter account to keep up-to-date on what the higher ups are doing in his industry, but he will fail to see the potential Twitter has to grow his own business. In other words, business owners sometimes fail to realize that with Twitter you can pull the information from those you follow, but you can also push it out to those who follow you. It is one of the most underutilized and potentially advantageous social media marketing platforms. Take a look at these figures:

      1. Twitter has 500 million registered users; 200 million of them are regularly active.
      2. An average of 400 million tweets are sent each day.
      3. Each registered user has an average of 208 followers.

      Now, imagine that each of your followers has 208 followers of their own. Wouldn’t you want your followers to retweet (like forwarding an email) your tweets? If your tweet is newsworthy or holds value, they will retweet it. Then, guess what? Those 208 people will become aware of your brand, and if the retweet they received holds value to them, they will, in turn, retweet it to their 208 followers. See how that works? Now the question is going to be how to get started. Nearly every point made in the Facebook prep work and strategy sections apply here, but, of course, with a Twitter twist.

      The entire concept behind Twitter is to streamline communication between people, so the prep work isn’t nearly as lengthy as it is with Facebook. There are some key points to remember though

      • Choose an appropriate name: If it’s a business page, use your business name. If it’s a business page, but representing only you, then use your name.
      • Upload a profile and header photo:
      • Your professional head shot is fine for your profile picture, but they are typically not memorable. Use it only if it’s your page.
      • Your profile photo appears with your tweets, so make it iconic (company’s logo) and memorable, but brand-relevant.
      • Upload a header shot that is brand relevant, such as a picture of your business, or a collage of several photos. Do not make it distracting.
      • Enter your company’s website address in the field marked “Website”. This provides your followers with a direct link to your business site from your Twitter page.
      • Write a short description of either your company or what you do in the ‘Bio’ field. Include keywords that Twitter users may use to search for your type of business.

      These are a few of the basics, but remember that nothing is set in stone here. You can change anything at any time. However, be cautious if you choose to change your profile picture since your followers will have already connected the original photo to your brand.

      Once you are finished creating your profile and linking it to your business website, begin to build your Twitter reputation by sending a minimum of 5 – 10 tweets that include engaging content, such as image links, blog links, and current industry news bits. You do this before reaching out for followers because, when people land on your page, they won’t follow back if you have nothing to offer, or do not appear to be an authority in your field. Remember that each tweet can only contain a maximum of 140 characters, so keep it concise.

      Next, import your email contacts by clicking on the ‘Find Friends’ button that can be found under the ‘# Discover’ link at the top of your profile. Follow anyone of relevance in your contact lists who has a Twitter account. Then, using the Search field at the top of the screen, manually enter the names of industry leaders and businesses, and follow each of them.

      You will see that, by following those in your contact lists, and important people in your industry, you will very shortly be followed by a lot of them in return. Keep tabs on who is following you by clicking the ‘@ Connect’ link at the top of your Twitter page. Once you discover that people are following you but you are not yet following them, you will know that your strategy is already beginning to bear fruit. Why? Those are the people who connected with you through someone else that you followed.

      As with all social media sites, always keep in mind the seven social media types and what social media users want. Tailor your strategy to each specific platform, but, for Twitter, keep these specific strategy tips in mind:

      • Since part of your goal is to become known as an authority in your industry, stay current on industry-related information.
      • Read the tweets of the top-tier people and businesses you follow and retweet important information they post. In the eyes of your followers, this connects you to big business.
      • Read and tweet industry articles from iconic news sites such as The Wall Street Journal and industry trade websites. This shows your followers that you stay ahead of the curve and can be trusted to keep them informed.
      • Retweeting other people’s information isn’t enough though. Anytime you write a blog on your website, use it as an opportunity to connect people to your site by posting the blog link on your Twitter page.
      • Read your tweets regularly and respond to them in a timely manner. Twitter is the instant communication medium, and time travels at a much faster clip than it does on other social media sites. Don’t let an opportunity pass to engage your followers and show them you’re listening simply because their comment or question has been lost in your Twitter feed.
      • Enter your Twitter account name (‘John Smith Plumbing’) in the Search box at the top of your Twitter page often. Each instance where your company is mentioned on Twitter will show up. This is your opportunity to shine in a personal and direct way. Use it.
      • Incorporate a few hashtags into your tweets. Hashtags are the words or short phrases that begin with the numbers sign (ex: #tryjohnspizza). Don’t overuse them, but if you choose well, other people will begin using them, and when they retweet your posts, the hashtag will go right along with them. This is helpful in establishing your brand. To determine if it’s working, enter your hashtag, including the numbers sign, in the Search box and see how many people have used it.
      • Another way to utilize hashtags is to search for trending topics and incorporate those hashtags into your tweets. Don’t make it obvious though. If there is no link to your business, don’t use the hashtag. This makes it more likely that people will find and follow you because they will be searching for tweets that contain the popular hashtags.
      • Twitter is all about what is happening right now in the world and, as such, much of what is tweeted can be considered controversial. Do not engage in any of it on your business page unless social or political issues are part of the brand you are building. Best practices tell us to ignore or delete incendiary tweets.

      One final note about Twitter: As with Facebook, Twitter is a platform to engage and build your presence and generate leads, but not through direct and obvious product pushing. That is a surefire way to lose followers.

      LinkedIn

      LinkedIn is a social networking site with a twist in that it is geared toward business professionals. It is used to expand on and strengthen existing business connections. If LinkedIn is well-known as the social networking site for those seeking employment and those seeking employers, how can a platform like that help you in terms of marketing your business? First the numbers:

      1. LinkedIn has 225 million registered users
      2. LinkedIn has an estimated 110 million unique monthly visitors.

      While the numbers are impressive, it’s still not obvious how this site can have a positive impact on your businesses social media marketing strategy. Here are a few strategies to help you utilize LinkedIn in your overall social media marketing strategy, including steps to building a noteworthy company page:

      • Create a LinkedIn company page. This will be your company’s main page. The setup is easy, and there are many features to familiarize yourself with, but keep in mind that before you can start generating any business, you have to optimize yourcompany’s profile by entering as much information about your business as possible. So complete each initial field thoroughly: experience, education, photo, skills & expertise, and details. As you enter the information, keep in mind that you are on a social platform that caters to business and internet savvy professionals.
      • The home page includes a cover photo, links to your products and services, company updates, and more. Along with your ‘About Us’ section, these areas should be completed in full. Insert keywords in a natural form so they don’t appear obvious, but make sure that you use them. Keywords are critical to getting people to your page.
      • Add products and services, and list your most important product first. Are you a general contracting service with a specialty? Highlight the specialty first, but don’t neglect the other services either.
        Your cover image will capture people’s attention, so make it fantastic and visually appealing.
      • Ask your employees to link their LinkedIn pages to your company page. Their connections then automatically become your potential connections. This is an important feature to your success on LinkedIn because 9 out of the top 10 companies with the biggest presence and number of followers on LinkedIn have at least 60 percent of their employees connected to their company pages.

      Now that you have the perfect profile, it’s time to engage in some strategy because the number of people who can find your profile page, and in turn, your business, is limited to your number of connections. Follow these tips that are specific to LinkedIn:

      • Ask for service and product reviews: These are written testimonials that you can feature on your company page, share on your business website, and share through other social media sites.
      • Promote your company page through LinkedIn’s ‘Company Follow’ button. This makes it easy for others who land on your website to follow you on LinkedIn with literally the click of a button.
      • Promote sales and deals through LinkedIn’s feature option. This moves your promotion to the top of your LinkedIn Company Page, making it more easily visible.
      • Video is important to a LinkedIn Company Page because it can link people to your YouTube profile as well. It also engages them in a way that only video can.
      • Link your other social media accounts to your LinkedIn Company Page, that way those who follow you on Twitter and Facebook, for example, may also be inclined to follow you on LinkedIn. The result will be that your Facebook followers who share Facebook-exclusive offers with their followers will also share your Twitter exclusive offers, and so on.

      As with every other social media site, don’t post simply to post. Make the information engaging and varied. Alternate between business trends and exclusive content deals, and then throw in a video or picture to keep it personal.

      Pinterest

      Pinterest is a hybrid media sharing-image bookmarking site where users upload and pin images and videos to their boards, which are individualized pages set up by each user under their account. For example, a user may start a board entitled ‘Lighthouses’ and then, of course, he then will either upload pictures and video from his own computer or pin relevant pictures and videos from websites he runs across.

      When users follow each other, their respective ‘pins’ show up on each other’s pages. They have the option to follow either certain boards of interest, or everything the person pins to their personal page.

      So, how can a site like Pinterest do anything for your business? Again, we start with the numbers:

      1. Pinterest has 70 million registered users as of June 2013. That’s up from 48.7 million users as of February 2013. Yes, over 20 million new accounts were set up in a four month time period.
      2. Pinterest has an estimated 85.5 million unique monthly visitors.

      With numbers like that, Pinterest is clearly on fire. The process of creating a business account on Pinterest is so simple that it doesn’t warrant time here, so let us move on to the business of social media marketing strategy when using Pinterest.

      • Pinterest is a strictly visual media sharing site, so the first thing you must do is to create boards based on themes. If you have an auto body repair shop, for example, create separate boards for Fords, Toyotas, and Chevys. You can break it down even further and create a board for Mustangs, Camrys and Chevelles.
      • The next thing to do is populate those boards with interesting images. Remember not to post images of any of your customer’s cars (in this example) without their written consent.
      • As you add images and videos, utilize keywords in the board title, board description, and the image, or pin, description. So, that way, when people search Pinterest for images, yours will come up. When they click on your image, you will have included your website information in the details. This is how you use Pinterest to generate leads.
      • If your business isn’t particularly visual, in that, you don’t sell products so much as you sell service, as with the auto repair scenario, consider creating infographics to pin to your boards. Infographics are visually appealing representations of information designed to inform. For example, you could create an infographic on how to change the oil in a 1968 Mustang Fastback. Infographics are useful and draw attention to your brand, helping establish you as an authority in your field. Don’t forget to include your website and other contact information. After all, that’s the whole purpose behind the task.

      A word of warning about Pinterest: Take your time to build your audience. In other words, just as with the other social media sites, don’t immediately begin promoting your products and services. Once you have engaged a following, create a board dedicated to pinning the products and/or services you offer, and only pin them once. If you come off as pushy, you will lose the interest of the people you’ve worked hard to attract.

      YouTube

      Everyone knows about YouTube. It is the biggest media sharing site in the world. The YouTube platform has been used to entertain, educate, provoke, and inspire people since its inception on Valentine’s Day, 2005. From a business marketing point of view, the beauty of YouTube is that it is accessible to everyone, whether they have an account or not. Here are the highlights:

      1. YouTube has 1 billion registered users
      2. YouTube videos are viewed 4 billion times per day.

      It is possible to set up a corporate channel on YouTube, but regardless of what name you use, YouTube requires you to register using a Google email address. If you don’t have a Google email account for your business, now is the perfect time to set one up. They’re free, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

      The YouTube accounts are simple to set up since you initially start it out in the same way you would if you were creating an individual account. Once you’ve completed the personal information, you will be directed back to YouTube’s home page. At that point, simply click on the name you used to establish the account. On the bottom right of the channel set up page you will see a prompt that reads “Would you like to appear on YouTube as a different name… Create a user name.” Click on that link and follow the prompts to enter your business information. Once that’s complete, you’ll be offered a final “How you’ll appear on YouTube” prompt. That’s where you will enter your company’s name, product or service.

      It’s a straightforward process, but if you intend to use YouTube to do a lot of business promotions, consider upgrading (for a fee) to YouTube’s ‘branded channel’ option. It offers more advanced features and requires signing up using their advertising form. However, for basic promotional use, a standard channel should be fine.

      However, keep in mind that one of the most important keys to getting people to view your videos, and therefore become aware of your business products and services, is in the use of SEO keywords and tags. Using the auto body example from the Pinterest section, you would add as many relevant words you can to each video’s description. Are you uploading a step-by step video on how to change the oil in a 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback? Include the car’s complete make, model and year, the task you’re performing, and more general words such as car repair, auto repair, and vehicle maintenance. This cannot be overstated. Keywords are what bring people to your videos.

      Here are some other YouTube specific strategies:

      • If you don’t have time to create original videos, search YouTube for quality videos relevant to your brand, service or products, and include links to those videos on your social media site pages and business blogs. Make sure to watch each video in its entirety because, even if you didn’t create the video, the fact that you are linking to it connects it to your business.
      • Are you a hair stylist? Create videos of you styling hair and talk through the steps as you go. This, like the oil change example, works particularly well if you are personable.
      • If the limelight isn’t for you, consider posting video testimony of satisfied customers. Viewers will give much more credence to a customer’s opinion than they will to your personal testimony of how wonderful your business is and why people should hire you, or buy from you.
      • Do not forget to ask for subscribers in the videos you post. Don’t make it sound forced, be genuine. But, do it. For example, say something like ‘If you like this video, check out my other videos. Even better, subscribe to my channel and you will have access to them as soon as they’re posted.”
      • Embed your YouTube videos on your website. This allows visitors to your website to subscribe to your YouTube channel. It’s a great way to promote your online presence, because certainly some of those subscribers will share it with their friends.
      • Stay current and add videos often. This applies to interactions as well. Since YouTube has a comment section, you will most certainly receive comments from viewers. They won’t always be constructive, but it’s important to maintain a personable vibe, and to acknowledge those who take the time to post constructive criticism or just positive feedback.
      • Subscribe to the channels of other businesses in the same, or similar, industry. Your connection to them will yield more subscribers for you.

      YouTube is a good format to use to, not only increase your presence and generate business leads, but it has a special value since it is exclusively video oriented. The videos you post yourself and the videos you link to on your website, blogs and other media platforms, add to your credibility as a professional in your field.

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