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Social Media Marketing – How Do I Best Use It in My Business?

Dec 26th, 2012

Cindy Bertram – “One size no longer fits all” when it comes to successful marketing today. It’s no longer a world where “the larger the ad in the social medianewspapers or phone book you have the more calls your business receives.” With shrinking print media and more online presence, what is the best way for business owners to successfully market their businesses and products?

Social Media Marketing – “The Wild Wild West”

Social media has often been called “The Wild Wild West” because it keeps changing. Remember when it businesses didn’t necessarily have to have a web site in order to be found?  And then came Facebook, with Facebook Business pages. And then came Pinterest, a variation of the traditional use of photo images, first used in scrapbooking. Along the way, social communities have evolved. And the latest? Pinterest just launched Business accounts (before it was personal) and LinkedIn now has company pages.

Where to Start and Evolve

With your business, now it’s even more critical to identify who your target customers and clients are, as well as keeping in touch with your current existing clients. How they liked to be reached and touched are also critical. From there, you can develop and grow your social media marketing strategy by using the appropriate methods.

Determining What’s Best

 How many times have you seen “Find Us on Facebook” or “Like Us on Facebook”? Is it even important to have web site today?  Once again it depends on your existing clients as well as new clients.  If your business involves more of a professional slant and B2B, then ramping up and creating a new LinkedIn company profile page might be a good use of time and effort.    As far as Facebook Business pages, tools are available to link those directly to your company’s web site.   And if you write a blog, you can actually post the link in your company’s Facebook Business page.

Protecting Images

As far as creating a new Pinterest Business account?  If your business has a need to showcase photos, it might be worth looking into.  A word of caution any time you do post photos on either Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook Business pages – those images can be easily downloaded by the viewer and used. In other words, your images can be stolen. To prevent this you need to protect your photos – a key way is using a tool to watermark them. Another option is uploading a much smaller copy of the file than your original. David Peterson, creator of Digital Photo Secrets provides some terrific tips in his “How to Protect Your Photos from Theft on Facebook and Twitter.”

Creating Communities – Also Known as the “New Forum of the Social Age”

 Forums are a place where people can connect on topics of common interest, and today, there is a new breed of forum. Called Forums 2.0 and also known as communities, these new forums have social sharing, social logins, and feel more like popular social networks. Once again, creating a social community might be something you might want to look into for your business.   GetSatisfaction.com has a good complimentary ebook just on this subject titled, “Communities – The New Forum of the Social Age.”

Last Thoughts

Yes, social media marketing is like “the Wild Wild West” because it keeps changing. But to be successful in marketing your business today, it’s critical to decide what works best for you and your business. Then decide what are the best social media tools to use and dive in.

Cindy Bertram is a Business Advisor for the Northwest ISBDC. Cindy can be reached at cbertram@isbdc.org.

*Photo via iStockphoto.com