Apr 21 2012

How Social Media Can Create and Deepen Customer Connections and Loyalty

In the early days of the Internet, the only ways a marketer could build a connection with customers was either through email or through their website. Then came Web 2.0.

With the advent of social media, the potential depth and breadth of your connections with your customers has become virtually limitless if you know how to leverage social media properly.

Social media presents an incredible opportunity for the shrewd marketer to deepen existing connections and attract new customers.

Build Relationships with People Who Will Not Give their Email Address

It takes a lot for someone to give you their email address, since it is a value piece of personal information. Even top marketers rarely are able to collect more than 20% of the email addresses of people who land on an email capture page. Your conversion rate is probably even lower. Your social media efforts can pay off, however, in the form of driving people to your email capture page to register, if the incentive is right.

It is easy for people to Like and Follow You, and keep up to date with you that way, so plan to cater to all these methods in order to stay in touch with the ideal customers in your niche.

In order to like you, people just need to see a piece of your content that they connect with anywhere on the web. It doesn’t take much and can be just a passing thought, but if you link your blog with your social media tools and tweet them or post them on your wall automatically, they will become much more visible.

If someone sees one tweet of yours that they like, they can decide to follow you. They might even be willing to re-tweet, and enough re-tweets will help you go viral online.

You can reach a lot of people who wouldn’t have otherwise got in your funnel through social media.

==> Social Media Is a Two-Way Street

Email marketing and (most) website marketing is a one way street. That means that you’re the one who’s providing the content, while your customers consume the content. You put out emails, they read the emails.

While this can be an effective way to market a product, it’s nowhere near as effective as having a real connection with your customers.

Social media allows you to have a two-way conversation. They can comment on your stories, tweet back, answer polls, like, post on your wall and express their opinions however they like.

This gets people much more invested in your brand and in your product. Someone who just reads your emails versus someone who’s in active discussion with you are two completely different kinds of customers. The latter will vehemently recommend your products, buy from you regularly and share your content, while the former may only purchase every once in a while.

Access to People’s Friends

Best of all, social media gives you access to other people’s social networks. With email marketing, you only get access to one person. With social media, if you make a post or a tweet that someone strongly agrees with, your content will immediately be shared with hundreds of other people. Among those people are more people who might re-share your content.

Social media is a powerful tool for building two-way connections and reaching the friends of your customers, for even more relationships you can develop online. If you don’t have a solid social media strategy yet, now’s the time to create one and reap the rewards.

FURTHER READING

Social Media Marketing in 15 Minutes a Day

How to Start Using Twitter as an Effective Marketing Tool for Your Business

How to Use Twitter for Viral Marketing

Apr 18 2012

How to Raise Your Online Profile

Everyone is talking about the power of social media these days, but there are some good rules of the road when it comes to raising your profile online, and some pitfalls that you will want to avoid. If you are setting up social media accounts for your business or for your job as a social network marketer, you will want to be even more careful about the kind of image that you convey online. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to set up an effective online presence in the social networks:

Keep all online presences clean and professional.
It is okay to joke with others and form bonds. However, it is important to keep in mind that at all times, what you do and say is revealing what kind of person you are, and your manners are also representing your business in these networks. Your online actions are easily visible to others (including your boss if you still have a day job and are writing under your own name) and therefore, you are a reflection of your business, and vice versa. Just think of the Fox newsman who got found out within 24 hours of dishing the dirt on his own company, and don’t do it, no matter how much money you think you can make. You stand to lose a lot more than your job if they press charges. In fact, some companies do not want their employees to mention where they work at all, so as to not risk anyone reading what they write on social networks, blogs and so forth, as being affiliated with the company in any way.

Here is an easy rule to follow if you are not sure you should post something on your wall or member area. If in doubt, don’t. It is as simple as that.

Also watch what you say. What strikes one person as funny can be downright offensive to others. Also remember that some people enjoy using the anonymity of the Internet to be very nasty at times. Manners cost nothing.
If you come across as rude or insulting, you will not likely be recommended by peers. Keep your correspondence and status updates clean and professional. Also, do not share too much of your personal life. Be helpful and if you want to be anecdotal, use the old ‘I had a friend who’ rather than “I did this”. In this way your material still has the ring of authenticity without regaling anyone with tales of your college drinking binges that nearly ended in catastrophe.

Leverage your expertise.
If you are an expert in your industry, or even if you simply have a lot of knowledge and experience, put this to use for your company. Write articles geared toward customers or potential start-ups. If you have enough information to share, publish an e-book. This will also keep your company in good standing as you are being generous with your knowledge and imparting it to others. This can help position you as a expert and your ebooks as an author worth paying attention to.

It is very easy to establish an online presence if you know where to look. Social networking is huge, especially with the Internet being such a vast and ever-growing resource. Establishing an online presence means that you will be seen and so will your company. If you play your cards right, you can become one of the top presences in your particular industry or niche provided that your online presence is an impressive one.

For more information on rapid ways to grow your brand online and drive traffic, you might like:

How to Use Social Networking Sites to Promote Your Business (Marketing Matters)
and
Creating Your Personal Image Online: How to Enhance Your Career Prospects By Building an Impressive Personal Profile Online (Business Matters)