Social media - add it to your mix! 5 things to do right now...
It's likely that you are familiar with most of the ‘traditional' marketing practices; direct mail, email marketing, advertising, telesales, pr etc - however, for a few years now, given the opportunities the internet provides, the term ‘new marketing' has been bandied around. If we think of traditional marketing as ‘push' marketing - mediums we use to push our messages onto others ‘interupting' them, then the new marketing relates to ‘pull' marketing - marketing activities we do which ‘attract', as a magnet would, interested parties, at their own accord, to view our wares.
Pull activities include; blogging, social media networks (think Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, Bizzbug, Ning, Xing, My Space) actively participating in forums; (http://www.UKbusinessforum.co.uk, socialmediatoday, ukbusinesslabs, womensmarketingforum), making your information more widely available via resources such as Digg, Blogburst and others - effectively, sharing your knowledge, know-how, experiences, advice, contacts, news, views and opinions to build interest in who you are, what your business is about, what you do - with the hope that users grow to follow what you say and are encouraged to buy and refer - effectively, building ‘positive share of mind' - in an online and hopefully viral way!
Social Media activity is not a direct sell - it's a bit of a slow burner - and in just the same way as we practice traditional marketing, it's not something that you do in isolation. For maximum impact, it's wise to work the social media mediums in an integrated way.
Here's our my 5 tips for getting started and integrating just some of what's available: (Believe me, if you stretch yourself too far, it becomes a full time job just trying to keep on top of it all).
- Create a blog. A blog is a great way to share what you do and what you provide with others - and it's an opportunity to build your brand by being open and getting your ‘business's personality' across. With blogging you have to keep at it - posting articles ideally 2 or 3 times a week. Attach your blog to your website - and it's a great way to constantly refresh your site. Positive for users and search engines. Wordpress www.wordpress.com is a user friendly blog resource and you can get started pretty quickly. See my 20 tips for successful blog writing post for more info on blogging!
- Join Twitter. Yes we agree, initially it seems strange - but once you get into it, you'll start to connect with likeminded people. Again, it takes a while. Set up an account, share news about your business and your life (a delicate balance as you don't want to come across as a hard sell) - and see what happens. www.twitter.com - why not also promote links to your latest blog posts via this media too.
- Digg. If you are creating articles for your blog on a regular basis - you can register with Digg and post your articles there too. You only post a link to your article - and so there's no duplicate content issue - and who knows, dependent upon what you're reporting on, you may hit the jackpot and get to their front page where millions of users will see it! www.digg.com
- Forums. Get involved with relevant forums. The www.UKbusinessforums.co.uk covers a range of topics and is well subscribed. People often post requests for help on business projects, printers, designers etc - and so as well as getting and giving advice, you may also pick up some new business. Why not also promote links to your latest blog post here too.
- Social Networks. More and more businesses are using Facebook and YouTube to promote their businesses - and there are other useful online resources such as LinkedIn (helping to find business contacts, projects and seek referral) and www.bizzbug.com - a useful and powerful ‘intranet' style collaboration resource. Take a look at what other businesses are doing on these sites - and consider what would work for you.
So get started and become a social ‘media' ite today!
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Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative - a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing - covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.