By Claude Alwan*
It is little wonder why social media has had a huge impact in the area of internet marketing. In a recent survey by Social Media Examiner (www.socialmediaexaminer.com), over 3300 participants reported the following main benefits from their social media marketing.
• 88% reported increased brand awareness.
• 72% reported increased website traffic & subscribers.
• 62% found it improved search engine rankings.
• 51% reported it generated qualified leads.
• 49% found it reduced marketing expenses.
• 43% reported improved sales.
Of the social media tools used the most popular were Facebook with 92% of participants using it, followed by Twitter with 84 % and Linked In with 71%.
There were other equally outstanding findings from another survey by HubSpot (www.hubspot.com). They showed that businesses that have a Facebook page with between 501 and 1000 fans, had more than three times more traffic than those whom had between one to 25 fans and those that had 1000 plus fans had 22 times more traffic.
Across nearly every major social media platform, there have been similar staggering results. One vastly under-utilised social media tool, YouTube, had huge benefits in relation to search engine ranking particularly with Google. The findings by Forrester Research (blogs.forrester.com) found that videos are 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results.
However, for the average small carpet cleaning business owner with little time and resources, these statistics offer little comfort. Perhaps this lack of ease comes from the fact that their expertise lies in their own profession as opposed to internet marketing.
If you have toyed with the idea of using social media in your mix of marketing strategies, but did not know where to start, read on for five highly effective tips on how to win at social media on just 15 minutes a day:
1. Become proficient with using one tool at a time
This lesson comes from personal experience. If you spread yourself too thin, it becomes more likely that you may become capable at using the tool, but you’ll miss the big lesson of engagement. Engagement is the key to success in your chosen social media platform.
2. Use a social media management tool
After you have been using one, two or dare I say, three social media tools at the same time, you will find yourself wishing for an easier way. The good news is that there is one. It’s called social media management tools. I have used a number of them in my time but the best in my opinion as well as that of many heavy social media players, is called HootSuite.
Do yourself a favour and start using it from the get go. As all good tools do, it will make your life that much easier.
3. Be social, the key is engagement
For those skilled at using social media know the benefit is engagement. Be social by welcoming people to your community when they ‘follow’ or ‘like’ your page, etc. Thank them when they re-tweet or mention you to others. The interaction between you and your community is called engagement. Without it you can have 100,000 people in your community, but your conversion rates will be dreadful.
You can be social without telling everyone when was the last time you took your dog for a walk. Be sensible about it. The key thing is offering your community relevant and valuable information.
4. Don’t sell
Wait a minute, did I just hear you ask, “isn’t the point of building a community, is so that you have an audience to sell to?” The answer is yes… and no. Nobody likes to be sold to, especially online where it is easy for your community to ‘unlike’ or ‘unfollow’ you. You will find that if you give them the hard sell first up, your fans will leave you in droves.
Instead, offer them great content, by providing relevant and valuable information. Then give them a link to where they can find more. When they visit your site, if they like what you do, they will choose to purchase a product or service offering.
5. Use RSS
RSS or Really Simple Syndication is such a great way for people like you and me to share information online. Automation is key to saving time, so automate everything you can. For details on how to make RSS work for you as part of your social media activity, visit SocialMediaTools-Hootsuite.
Take action today and become social with your community and clients as it will result in long term free traffic and increased sales.
*Claude Alwan writes for www.internet-marketing-for-small-business.net. He also ran his own successful carpet cleaning business which he sold due to having Parkinson’s Disease.