Social Media & Its Big Time Benefits/Part 2

By Gavin Head This blog post is a continuation from yesterday's topic.  If you missed it, check it out here: http://is.gd/bYErq

Generate and Nurture Qualified Leads: Through search features and third party sites like Twellohood, Localtweeps, and even TweetGrader, you can generate and nurture leads. Just use the tools to find people by location, title, or interest to follow them and connect with them on Twitter. Check their Twitter profiles to see what other social media sites they belong to and look for ways to connect with them there as well. Here is a link to a great article on Mashable about finding local fellow tweeters http://mashable.com/2009/06/08/twitter-local-2/.

Make Announcements: Social media networks are a good place to toot (or tweet) your own horn. You can announce new products, services, enhancements, special deals, coupons, awards/recognition, etc. on social sites to spread the word more quickly. Just be sure to mix in helpful advice and conversation and not to toot your own horn too frequently. Few followers will tolerate you continuously blasting these types of tweets or updates unless you are a retailer and your fans/followers are following you specifically for coupon codes, discounts and deals. For the rest of you, the more value you are providing and the more conversations you are having the more social media clout you are earning- thus earning you the privilege to promote yourself or your business once in awhile.

Partner Up: Find new business partners, vendors, suppliers and business opportunities and stay in touch with current business partners, vendors, and suppliers. I’ve met a few business associates through both Linkedin and Twitter and did so within only a few months of using each service. I was not looking for this, it just happened naturally. If that is your goal, however, there are strategies to follow to make your search more productive and efficient. The team at Social Media Delivered happen to be experts on this topic and would be glad to have a discussion with you if this is one of your goals.

Educate Yourself: Learn- people post all sorts of information on social networks that are helpful to small businesses such as marketing advice, management advice, customer service advice, and personnel advice. You just have to know how to find it. One excellent way is to use Twitter’s search feature and search for words or phrases using the # (hashtag) symbol. Use in conjunction with hashtag directories such as what the hashtag to understand what abbreviations mean and find useful hashtags. Twitter recently unveiled a service that lets you organize and follow lists tweets that are relevant or interesting to you. You can create the list using your own criteria. The great thing about these lists is that you don’t have to follow people in order to follow the topic, all the tweets are grouped together, and you can keep these private if you like.

Build Trust and Credibility: And the one that I think is most crucial to small businesses- especially if you sell a product with a long sales cycle that takes multiple touches with your customers,  is that social media helps you build trust and credibility. Customers want to buy from people they know, like, and trust. Social media is a wonderful tool to get to know customers as individuals, become personable to them and get them to like you. Using social media is a convenient, and even fun, way to develop and cultivate relationships with your customers and demonstrate your credibility and trustworthiness.

Used the right way social media holds many benefits that will help your business find customers new and old, better understand their needs/wants and purchase drivers, and develop long lasting relationships that result in satisfied and loyal customers- and a healthy bottom line for you.

Go Forth and Market Smartly!

About the Author:  Gavin Head is a marketing professional and owner of 1st Position Marketing www.1stpositionmarketing.com. He specializes in marketing, branding and growing profitable small businesses through the power of smart marketing strategies and tactics- and uses social media daily.  In addition to being a proactive, brand-building marketer Gavin serves as Client Advocate for Social Media Delivered.