* "Only connect. . ." E.M. Forster, Howard's End

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Marketing Your Business: It's Not All About Facebook

Okay, so you’ve finally gotten on the social media bandwagon. You’ve been putting it off and putting it off, but now you’ve finally made the move. You’ve decided social media is where its at and you’ve not only launched your business on Facebook but you’ve paid someone to design a snazzy new custom branded Facebook Landing Page.
Your new Landing Page is the place newcomers to your Facebook Page will ‘land’ when they visit. It’s cool, it’s branded for your business and it even has links to your business website. You’re confident that as soon as people see it they will ‘like’ it!
Now you’re waiting for that big pay off - more customers to discover you and the fantastic services and products you provide! After all, isn’t social media, in particular Facebook, where it’s at these days?
Before you get too excited about social media - and you should be excited! - remember the wise old saying: don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
While it is important for you to expand your business reach and reputation through the use of social media, and there is no place better for that than Facebook, at least at this time: don’t for a moment think that Facebook alone will do it all. It won’t - at least not for most of us.
With roughly 800 million on Facebook  (and growing daily), and in Canada more half of the population, the opportunities Facebook provides for you to grow your brand and business are huge.
That said a significant portion of the population is still NOT on Facebook. And of the ones that are, many are periodic users checking in only weekly or even monthly.
So too, the demographics of those who use Facebook less frequently may be more like your target audience - at least right now. And even if they’re not, it rarely makes sense to use only one marketing medium to reach your target audience.
For small business owners with a limited budget, whether on Facebook or not, attractive, concise and well-written emails are another way to help market your business. They can share helpful information, special promotional deals and news with clients and those who have ‘signed up’ for your mailing list. And, they are another way to keep in touch, especially for those who are not on Facebook.
In fact, in recent social media findings (US) published by foreseeresults.com, an international online customer satisfaction firm, 64% of the 12,000 visitors to top e-retail websites surveyed indicated they prefer to hear about sales and promotions through ‘Promotional emails’! Only 8% indicated ‘Social media websites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) as their preferred choice. Click here to request a copy of  the report from Foresee.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

LinkedIn's Latest Update

It is no secret: LinkedIn is the largest professional network available on the Internet. As of August 2011, LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, could proudly verify that the global network had over 120 million member profiles – with approximately half of these users located in the United States. In addition to individual user profiles, LinkedIn also offers company profiles. Over 2 million public and private corporations are listed on the network, and this number is growing as small businesses begin to make use of the platform.

In the past, company profile pages were a passive communication tool. Individuals would flock to the listings to pull information and statistics – which proved to be especially advantageous for job seekers.

The addition of the "company follow" feature two years ago provided further value, as individuals were able to become more engaged with the companies. Knowing exactly who their followers were in terms of demographics, companies published content that appealed to their audiences. Alternatively, the users that chose to follow provided social proof of the companies' value to them.
Now, LinkedIn has again stepped up their level of engagement. Company pages have added a new feature: company status updates.

These updates are a great marketing tool to begin to utilize. Companies can now directly communicate with their audience by posting corporate news, product releases, promotions and other relevant information. The updates are automatically directed to the followers' homepage news feeds, where the users can choose to engage by commenting, liking and sharing the content with others on their networks.

Updates are a great way to build engagement with current customers, potential employees and prospective clients alike. Many of us have learned to leverage the power of status updates on other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. When utilized properly, this dynamic information sharing can lead content to "go viral" – an ambition that all marketers share.

Even more good news: LinkedIn has given us two metrics to monitor these conversations. Page administrators can see the number of impressions (the amount of times the update appears on various users' news feeds) and the level of engagement (the percentage of users that decided to click, like, comment or share the content). Using these numbers we can see which content posts users best respond to.

There is one limitation. Status updates can only be posted by the administrators of a company's LinkedIn page. However, if you are not an administrator already it is easy to become one. Connect to one of the current page administrators, and once the connection is made they are