How to make the most of all this “Social Media” stuff…

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Some of you are probably wondering, “How the heck can I really put social media to use for my business, and is this even practical or relevant to what I do?” The answer is that there are many ways to implement social media on your website and in the majority of cases it is more than practical/relevant….it is necessary for the maximum growth of interest in your business on the web. Here are some useful tips on how to use social technology to benefit your business:

Stop talking and listen. The days of marketing at your customers are dwindling. Today’s consumer isn’t going to let you pull the wool over their eyes. Smoke, mirrors, bells and whistles have little effect anymore. There’s just too much marketing noise for them to do the listening. Consumers are covering their ears and speaking their minds. They want to be heard, not sold, and if they’re being listened to they will be more likely to be loyal to your brand. Building brand loyalty and trust is becoming more important than ever. The days of pushy advertising and trying to wow the audience with buzz words and crafty verbiage are long gone.

So How Can I Become a Brand that Listens?

Instead of launching the typical “brochure style” website, with all the nifty marketing words and hero shots of the product, create a blog style “hub” where consumers can come for the traditional information, but also gain access to social touch points of your business such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin and so on. Allow customers to write reviews, reply to videos, add your company as a “friend” and actually interact with your brand. This will help to break down the trust barrier and establish a business-to-consumer relationship on a more formal level (which is the level your customers want to meet you at)

Use social technology for both advertising and customer service Let your customers advertise for you! If you stand behind your product or service then you should be fairly comfortable allowing feedback from customers via sites like Facebook, Digg and Twitter. It’s like free advertising from the very people who have the power to convince their peers that what you sell is great! If there is a problem that brings about negative feedback, sites like Twitter and Facebook give you the opportunity to have an open discussion with the consumer and answer FAQ’s in real time. This is a bonus when it comes to trust and loyalty because this type of interaction makes the company appear more “real” and tangible.

• Break ground. Don’t be afraid to do something new, risky, and maybe even a bit crazy. People respond to these things. Why? Because they’re different. On a long car ride you pass by plenty of Toyota Camery’s, Honda CRVs, Dodge Caravans, and Ford Focus’s…You’re so used to seeing them that you have no opinion when you see one. You’re not particularly interested or distracted by their appearance. However, if a bright yellow Ferarri or a sleek Rolls Royce pass you on the right, you’re not only caught off guard, but you will certainly have an opinion.


So what do $300,000 automobiles have to do with my website?

The point is that all websites are not created equal (nor should they be!) Just because one business has been successful making sales without the use of social media does not mean the next company that comes along shouldn’t try to use as much social technology as possible! If you don’t do it, your competitors just might…

Here are some excellent examples of how social media can be used through ecommerce:

Zappos

Amazon Daily

Overstock’s Online Community

Here are some sources for info on Social Media sites that your company can take advantage of:

50 Sites

Social Commerce

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