Social Media...make it part of your marketing mix! 5 things to do right now!

You are probably 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 services and products. Pull activities include; blogging, social media networks (think Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, Bizzbug, Xing, Ning, My Space) actively participating in forums; UK Business Forums, socialmediatoday, ukbusinesslabs), making your information more widely available via resources such as Digg, Blogburst, Ezine, GoArticles 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 like traditional marketing, it's not something that one practices in isolation.  For maximum impact, it's wise to work the social media mediums in an integrated way.

Here's are my 5 tips for getting started and integrating just some of  what's available: (because believe you me, trying to keep on top of it all if you go much wider, becomes a full time job!).

  1. 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 is a user friendly blog and highly adaptable resource and you can get started pretty quickly.
  2. Join Twitter. YesI agree, initially it seems strange - but once you get into it, you'll start to connect with likeminded people - and follow only those that you are learning, sharing with. 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. - why not also promote links to your latest blog posts via this media too.
  3. 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!
  4. Forums. Get involved with relevant forums. The 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.
  5. 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 - 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.