July 2011
Column
AutomatedBuildings.com

Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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Putting Social Media to work for Your Company
Tips and Tricks for LinkedIn and Facebook to reach more Potential Customers

Manny Mandrusiak


Manny Mandrusiak

Managing Creative Consultant,
4 Bravo Marketing

Contributing Editor


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Over the last few months my columns have been targeted toward building Social Media foot prints for a company or organization, and I have received some mail from readers asking for tips to guide potential customers to their sites.  I thought that I would look at dedicating this month’s column to providing some “Tips and Tricks” for readers to help them get their Social Media “mojo” working.

Tips for LinkedIn

    1. Understand what LinkedIn is used for.  Too many people make the assumption that LinkedIn is the “Business Facebook”.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  LinkedIn is a tool that can not only be used to connect to other businesses, but also for connecting with potential customers.  Remember not just B2B, but also B2C, so tailor your posts accordingly.
    2. Create Groups and get involved!  Social Media marketing takes time and commitment.  Part of what makes LinkdIn so successful is the ability for users to create groups about a specific topic.  This lets LinkedIn users target the audience that they want to engage.  Groups give users the ability to send a message on a regular basis to keep the Group’s community engaged and continue to build the company brand.
    3. Explore LinkedIn ads.  Users can find them at www.linkedin.com/ads).  Since LinkedIn is a business orientated website LinkedIn ads offer the opportunity to target other businesses and potential customers by factors like: location, gender, industry, age, etc.  I read a fact sheet online about LinkedIn Ads that spoke about a study done by Anderson Analytics.  This study concluded that around 30% of LinkedIn users are senior management or executives who are making 100K plus.  Companies that are looking to hit decision makers and influencers can’t ignore an opportunity to target a message about their product or service through LinkedIn.  Effective marketing right to the decision maker on a website that they are surfing anyway.
    4. Add Polls.  Use the Polls application as a tool to gather data and perform cost effective market research.
    5. Add your LinkedIn URL to your email signature, business card and other marketing materials.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your contacts grow.
    6. Request a recommendation from happy customers.  Recommendations on LinkedIn get read by others and there is no better marketing than the word-of-mouth referral from a satisfied customer. 
    7. Use your contacts to introduce you to everyone on their first level contacts.  You can easily double the number of contacts simply through networking with your current contacts.
    8. Integrate Twitter into your LinkedIn Account.  Your Twitter postings will automatically be placed on your LinkedIn profile.

More information about LinkedIn can be found on the LinkedIn Learning Center
http://learn.linkedin.com/training/

Tips for Facebook

    1. Post often, and make posts as creative and relevant as possible.  Boring repetitive posts cause people not to come back to your Facebook page.  Make things interesting.
    2. Dedicate a person to set aside time every week to keep the page updated.  There is nothing worse than hitting a Facebook page for a company and the last post was 2009.  It tells users that your company is not committed to the page, and drives them away.
    3. Think of Facebook as a giant search engine.  Facebook has a tremendous amount of information that it collects from users and groups.  The best way to find potential customers on Facebook is search through groups, networks, and fan pages.  Users can do this by searching keywords to find the networks that best suit particular customer bases.
    4. Video and images rock!  A picture is still worth 1000 words.  Post them on your page as often as possible.
    5. Think outside the box to see who’s reading your page.  Why not try a Facebook only coupon, or a contest as a metric to measure response. 

Reliable Controls There are also a ton of websites out there that offer tools for use on Facebook.  Those who are into writing their own code can delve into the world of Facebook Markup Language (FBML).  I am not going to get into FBML in this article, but FBML essentially enables users to add HTML changing the look and feel of the page.   Those interested in FBML can find more information at
http://developers.facebook.com/

What not to do with Social Media

I have always said that no salesperson should ever have access to a marketing data base because they will do one thing – use it as a giant sales portal.  The same can be said for Social Media sites.  They should not be used as giant sales portals.  I think that is one of the biggest mistakes that people make when they attempt to integrate Social Media into their marketing plans.  Social Media websites like LinkedIn and Facebook are great for creating awareness, building trust, and building corporate brands.  Use the philosophy that “no one likes spam” and it will serve your pages well.  Too many “Spammy” messages drive potential customers away because no one wants to feel like they are constantly being sold too.  It makes people uncomfortable in a face-to-face situation, and it is no different in an online situation.

The Biggest Take Away

Social Media sites do not subscribe to the Field of Dreams mentality “If you build it, they will come”.  No they won’t.  If you build it, and maintain it consistently with engaging content – they will come.  The more that you can illustrate to people coming to your site that you are alive and care about their experience, the longer they will stick around.  That is essentially what Social Media is all about, and it is the same principle that I like to apply to all my marketing projects.  I want to engage and keep potential customer’s attention without having to result to gimmicks, SPAM, or browbeating tactics.  Keep it clean, consistent, and engaging, and they will come.

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