Why Social Networking Is Important For Any Business

by Jeremy Miller, Technician
If you are not currently using social media for your business then chances are that you have fallen behind your competitors.

Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+ are great platforms to promote brand awareness, communicate with existing and potential customers, as well as attract new leads.

Up to a quarter of developed nation’s Internet traffic is used on social media and networks. It is free to sign up and use all of these social networks. Why wouldn’t you want to address this market?

Social media sites can help you establish your online presence. Statistics show that over 70% of people trust ads on social networks from friends, while only 10% of people trust advertisements from websites.

Social media is more than just getting your name out there; it establishes trust and lasting relationships with new and existing clients. You can keep in touch in a personal manner, update services that you offer, and offer discounts and coupons on your social sites.

Social networks work like word-of-mouth, but more reliably. Your friends and followers can easily share your content with as many people as they want without interrupting their daily lives.

This is important because if it is a hassle to view your advertising it could be considered a nuisance instead of a promotion.

Instead everyone will check their social sites and see a post from their friend to check out your business. They are already in the mood for reviewing messages, so this is not an inconvenience to read.

Now before you start making a profile on every social site, first consider what you want to get out of social networking. Most businesses could get a Twitter account to share basically anything instantly.

Twitter is great for marketing and reaching many people instantly. Since Twitter is available easily from any smart phone, it is basically like texting all of your followers at once. Your followers can then retweet or share anything that you post.

Facebook is also very popular. It is a publicly trusted location and it performs really well in Google’s search index. This means that if you are having trouble with getting your website to the top results in Google, Facebook can help. Your company’s Facebook page should not take too long to reach the top results if someone is searching for your business.

Each social network is different and attracts different crowds. This can be seen in the usage statistics for each network. This can help you determine which social networks would be best for you to reach your desired audience.

When starting out you want to start slowly. Do not join every social network you can find. It would be best to join Twitter and Facebook at first. Determine who is going to manage the social sites. Then once you have some followers post some polls or special offers to attract more followers.

Once your followers start posting to your page, read their posts and answer them. This will add a lot of value to your business.

You can begin posting articles related to your business to encourage people to spend more time reading your content. Some things to keep in mind would be to not post too often or you may be considered a spammer.

Once you have become familiar with social networks you can expand to other social networks such as Google+ or Pinterest. The most important rule of all is to be patient; you may not see results overnight. However, if you provide quality content, service, and interactions on your social sites you will be successful.

If you would like help determining where you should start or need any help with your existing social networks, give us a call.

Social Media Tips For Non Profit Managers

In the world of non-profit organizations it is not rare for just one person to get assigned the social media duties for the whole company.

They may also have dozens of other demands to deal with that have nothing to do with public relations so they will probably need all the help they can get to be able to come up with fresh content week in and week out.

One good tip is to use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to offer a first look at an upcoming event or newsletter, introduce a staff member, share photographs of volunteers as they are working and ask a trivia question, the answer to which will shed light on your company’s particular cause.

Other good tips include connecting a news story that is currently trending in your non-profit work, sharing a client’s words of gratitude, sharing a success story, thanking a staff member or volunteer, or sharing a photograph that was taken at a special event.

If you take a specific approach on a regular basis, the audience will start looking forward to what is coming next.

Social Media For Your Business: Three Quick Tips

Social media is all the rage – we’ve written about it here, and you’re certainly hearing about it on the news and in your email.

Here are some quick tips to get the most out of three of the most popular services.

LinkedIn Can Help Grow Your Business
LinkedIn has more than 150 million registered users, which is a lot of opportunities for those who wish to use the professional social media site to help them grow their business.

The real worth of LinkedIn for businesses is to be able to connect on a one-to-one basis with other business professionals.

Many of the connections you make on the site can end up not only introducing you to partners and business influencers but potentially also referring your business to possible new customers.

Having a personal LinkedIn profile is often viewed as a digital business card or a form of online resume.

While using it as such is a good place to start, it can be taken much further to help you build a powerful presence online in order to help encourage more business opportunities and is an excellent way of both attracting and managing your business connections.

Using Twitter
Twitter is one of the fastest and best methods of amplifying the message, product and services of a business or an individual in all the social media available in the twenty-first century.
The first thing you need before launching your business on Twitter is a strategy.

Review your marketing and business goals, and don’t make this preliminary step too complicated.

Think about how your business can benefit from social media and how the industry that you are in is using it as a whole. The great majority of the time, social media will be able to fit into your digital marketing efforts.

Some things that you need to think about include what you intend to use Twitter for. Are you using it for customer research or for branding? Are you using it in order to reach a specific segment or target, for customer support, or just to raise awareness?

Another question you need to answer is whether you will be able to come up with enough relevant content to make it worthwhile.

Optimize Your Profile on Pinterest
Your B2B business may by now have created a presence on the popular and ever-growing Pinterest.

This site has achieved incredible growth, which is very hard to overlook when it comes to the potential for B2B marketers to engage with both existing and prospective clientele.
There are some ways in which you can optimize your profile on this site, however.

The About area is the keyword description of your page as it will appear in search results, should someone search for your page.

The image you use needs to be consistent with the profile graphic or avatar you use on your firm’s other social profiles for the purpose of easy recognition, though you also need to keep in mind how the image will look on your followers’ Pinterest streams.

The Social Linking area, if done correctly, can be a great source of content for your other profiles.

Decide whether you want to manually or automatically publish your pins to your Facebook or Twitter pages.

The Hide setting should be turned off so others can find your profile and pins when searching and search engines can index your activity.

Take A Smart Approach To Social Networking For Kids

You can’t escape social networking these days: Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and all their online cousins are everywhere. If you’ve got kids, chances are they’re eager to join all their friends in cyberspace.

Worrying about their safety is natural, but hoping social networks will go away isn’t very realistic.

You’re better off working with your children so they don’t hide their online activities from you. Take these steps to help them enjoy social networking safely:

• Start with kid-friendly sites. Facebook is far from the only place for people to go. A quick Internet search will help you locate lots of sites just for children. You’ll want to investigate them thoroughly, of course, but they can serve as a good introduction for your children to the world of online networking.

• Talk about privacy. Have a serious discussion with your kids about guarding their personal information online. They should understand that data like their full names, address, phone number, school, and birth date should be kept private for their own protection.

Emphasize that once something is posted online (a message or a photo), they can’t remove it entirely even if they delete the information from their profile.

• Choose a secure password. A password that your child can remember easily may be simple for a hacker to guess. Come up with a password that includes a mix of letters, numbers, and capitalization so it’s less vulnerable to attack.

• Encourage children to talk to you. Tell your children to let you know if someone online does anything to make them feel uncomfortable. If necessary, report the person to your site’s administrator. At the same time, talk about the need for your children to treat everyone with respect, online as well as in the real world.

Smart Social Media Skills Can Improve Sales Efforts

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

The old saying goes, “Information is power.” In sales, that’s more true than ever. Fortunately, the Internet has made researching prospective clients and preparing for your next sales appointment quick and easy.

When preparing for a sales call, you can browse to a prospect’s website to research their business, search for other key decision makers, and review recent company news.

Search engines can help you find additional information, such as recent hires, number of employees, and general information about the prospect’s industry. But, Internet searches only go so far. As more companies take advantage of social media, researching prospects on social media sites is a great way to learn more about your prospect.

FaceBook (www.fb.com) is the undisputed king of social media. More than a half-billion people have FaceBook accounts, and fifty percent of FaceBook’s active users log in every day.

If you’re selling, there’s a good chance your prospect’s company (and potential buyer) have FaceBook pages where you’ll find a wealth of information about their business.

People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on FaceBook – if you’re not actively using FaceBook to prospect (and market your company), you’re definitely missing some sales.

Awareness of Twitter (www.twitter.com) has exploded from 5% of Americans in 2008 to 87% in 2010, and business use has never been higher.

Twitter’s search function allows you to find mentions of your potential client’s company and key decision makers, and the site’s people search feature helps you find users who list your prospect in their bio.

Following these Twitter accounts can help you stay abreast of the latest company news and help you gather deeper insights into what your prospect is working on and what it important to them.

Social networks
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) remains the number one business to business social network, where professionals sign up to connect with other business people and industry veterans.

Reviewing a company’s LinkedIn profile can tell you about other employees that work for your prospect, and how you might be connected to them.

You’ll also find information that will help you relate to your prospect – where they went to school, other positions they’ve held, and even hobbies they enjoy.

News alerts
You’re already searching a prospects company name, buyers’ names, and industry information before you go on your first sales appointment, so staying on top of updated prospect information will give you the leg up on winning business long term.

All of the popular search engines offer a free news alert service (www.google.com/alerts, www.bing.com/news, alerts.yahoo.com) that will send updated web and news content to your Inbox.

It’s also a good idea to set up alerts on your prospect’s competitors, executives and key decision makers.

These updates can give you additional reasons to contact prospects and clients, and give you additional insight into what is happening behind the scenes.

Bringing it all together
Web based CRM sites such as SalesForce (www.salesforce.com) will help you keep track of multiple prospects, deadlines and milestones.

SalesForce includes direct links to both FaceBook and Twitter to help you monitor clients and prospects in real time.

Be sure to build out your database to track both business and personal data about your prospects and decision makers. The wealth of information available on the Internet makes it easy for a sales professional (or company owner) to go into a call well prepared.

The best things? Since not all salespeople take the time to leverage web research and social media tools, doing your homework can help you set yourself apart from the competition and improve your sales performance.

Social Networking Boosts Your Business!

You can’t turn on the television, read a newspaper, or even browse online without hearing about the business benefi ts of “social networking.” What is social networking, and how can it help build your business?

Loosely defined, social networking is nothing more than a group of people who share a common interest getting together online. It gives you the opportunity to create a virtual meeting place where your clients, prospects, vendors and even employees can talk about things going on in your company, ask questions, promote products or sales, and announce special events.

Social networking eliminates time zone differences, a huge factor for many. People from all over the state, country, and even  world can connect and communicate easily in real time, opening many doors that geographical boundaries once closed. In a nutshell: Social networking helps you stay in touch!

There are a myriad of social networking sites on the Internet, and each is geared toward a slightly different demographic or type of user. More than likely, you’ll want to participate in a couple different sites to stay in touch with the most number of people.

The most used sites for business networking include Facebook, LinkedIn.com, and Twitter. Don’t discount the value of participating in online forums and writing your own blog.

Facebook (www.facebook.com) has become one of the most popular online relationship building sites. It’s a central point for a lot of different things, like posting status updates (what are you up to right now?), photo albums, and even videos. You can also keep up with what everyone else that you’re “friends” with on the site is doing – and in this case, friends can mean true friends, or business acquaintances.

When you log into Facebook, you’ll see all of your friend’s latest updates about what they’re up to – and when they log in, they’ll see yours, mixed in with other friends they have. Some people post every small detail of what’s going on in their lives, and others post infrequently or only when they have something truly important to say. Neither approach is right or wrong – what you decide to post is more of a personal preference.

LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is probably the largest online business networking site. You can post your resume, join special interest groups, search for people you want to meet, and request introductions from your friends to other people you want to meet. That may be the most interesting thing about LinkedIn – think of it as an online “six degrees of separation.” Your LinkedIn network extends from your friends, out to friends they know, out several levels.

Twitter (www.twitter.com) is a very popular new online meeting place. Twitter is what’s known as a “microblogging” site, because posts or updates you make are limited to 140 characters at a time. These entries are known as “tweets.”

Ping (www.ping.fm) lets you tie it all together. Ping is a service that will take your update and post it to all of your social networking accounts at one time.

Forums and blogs
Online forums are a great way to meet people who are interested in similar topics, and there are literally thousands of active forums online. It’s easy to participate, and you’ll fi nd a lot of forums are incredibly active. To boost your online exposure, which boosts your company’s profi le, look for forums that focus on topics your clients care about. Then, post answers to other people’s questions. You’ll quickly demonstrate your expertise.

It is easy to say that everyone (and every company) should have a blog, but the reality is, in order to be successful, you’ll need to blog regularly. You have to enjoy writing and be willing to commit to posting on a very regular schedule, or risk losing readers.

By becoming part of a social networking site, you’re not only opening your business to all World Wide Web users, you’re actually making your business more accessible to the public to be available to purchase your products and services. Connecting with other businesses also gives us the ability to share common ideas and practices in groups who share common ideas and business goals.

What You Need To Know About Social Networking

Social and business networking sites are changing the way people talk online. Sites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo help friends stay in touch while LinkedIn and Plaxo mainly connect business users.

They are very popular but present challenges to small business owners. You can visit our website, www.MySpaceDisorder.com for our warnings about MySpace.

These sites seem to have come out of nowhere. For example, Facebook was founded in May, 2007, and currently has 70 million users. The rapid growth of such sites is part of the problem – you risk being caught off guard. Here are some of the top risks social networking sites pose to your business, and ways to manage that risk.

Inadvertent disclosure of confidential information is a large risk. You wouldn’t publish your organization chart and phone directory on the internet; but a head-hunter or identity thief can use information on social networking sites to reconstruct this kind of information.

Reputation risk
There is also a risk to your company’s reputation. Social networking is more public and less formal than company email. It is also easier to use than blog software. It’s easy to imagine employees posting pictures or text that would embarrass their employer.

Social networking sites can be addictive and timeconsuming. Cyber-slacking is a genuine concern, and difficult to control and monitor without security enhancements to your network.

Viruses and spyware
Social networking sites often display advertisements. At Tech Experts, we’ve observed that some of these advertisements have caused virus and spyware infections.

Broken privacy and identity theft
Some sites also allow third parties to run applications that have access to user profiles. This is a potential privacy risk. People publish a wealth of personal information in their profiles. This makes social networking sites a happy hunting ground for identity thieves and conmen.

We recommend that companies give serious thought to social networking and how they want to manage the risk.

Make sure your network is protected against web-borne viruses. At a minimum, every computer on your network should have current and automatically updated anti-virus software. For an enhanced layer of protection, install a firewall device that provides multi-layered protection against existing and emerging malware.

Have a clear and comprehensive Acceptable Use Policy in place. Ensure that employees are aware of what they can and cannot do on your company’s network. Review and update it often.

Set Rules for Personal Use. Use your company policy manual to spell out exactly how much personal web surfing is allowed, when, with whom, and under what circumstances. Of course, we recommend none.

Enforce your policies with an appropriate technology. This mean installing web monitoring and blocking software on each computer, or installing a network-wide security appliance.

No matter which option you choose, make sure you actively monitor usage, publish a usage policy, and keep that policy updated as new sites and threats emerge.