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2012-social-media-marketingThere is no better way for a business to start off 2012, then by becoming a part of the social media world. However, many new business owners may still have some lingering fears that have not disappeared just because the year 2011 is behind us.

Usually, there are three things upcoming businesses fear the most, not having enough time, not having enough money, and the lurking possibility of failure. Although these fears are valid, starting and sustaining a marketing strategy via social media is easier than one might think.

Where to Begin?

The first step is to become organized in what the company is looking to achieve by using social sites to promote their products and here are some important factors to look at:

My business wants to…

  1. Create customer loyalty.
  2. Increase online and offline sales.
  3. Improve customer service.
  4. Expand product/brand awareness.

These are only a few reasons as to why a company might want to use social media as a way to market products and there may be more than one, but once that reason(s) is discovered, the business now has a focus, purpose and goal(s), for when they begin using the different social media sites.

The second step is to begin creating accounts on various social sites. Some useful sites to start with are:

  1. A Blog: Use WordPress, Blogger, etc.
  2. Facebook: Create a Facebook Business Page.
  3. Twitter: Create a Twitter account for the company.
  4. A YouTube account: Solely dedicated to the business.

It is not necessary to create all of these, but it is highly recommended to use as many as possible and to choose the ones that are most relevant to what the business is trying to achieve.

What is the cost?

Many social media sites are free to use and businesses can use existing employees to manage the different social media sites. In the end, it should cost little or nothing (extra) at all.

What’s next?

Now that the basics have been laid out, many may be wondering, “Now what?” There are many different ways businesses can use social media, but here are a few simple guidelines to get started.

How to Begin Using Social Media Sites

  • Post to Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis. It is also okay to post the same item to twitter that was posted on Facebook and vice versa. Remember, they are two different audiences and that both audiences are made up of potential customers.
  • Blog 2-3 times per week. Let readers know what is happening with products, services, etc. Keep the post keyword rich, interesting, creative, and filled with useful information. Share blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Make videos of the company’s blog posts and put them on YouTube. Again, this is another audience the business can tap into using how-to videos, etc.  This too can be shared on other social media sites.

How to Sustain Using Social Media Sites

  • Be Mindful. When sharing or posting to any social network, keep in mind that people want to read, hear, and see things that will be useful to them. Therefore, it is important to post when the company has something to say and not just because the business feels they need to say something.
  • Be Attentive. It must be stressed that businesses need to pay special attention to what they are writing, posting and sharing. Take time to review, spell and grammar check written work, etc. prior to posting or sharing to any social network.
  • Be Creative. Although the company knows what the main objective is in why they are using a social media site, the followers or customers do not need to know. For instance, if the company’s goal for using Facebook is to sell more products, do not just constantly post product links to the Facebook page. Come up with clever ways of sharing product information with how-to videos, fill- in-the blank questions, and so on. Also, be sure to share posts that are not directly related to the company or its products. Share funny sayings, popular quotes, and ask lots of questions. This will not only keep customers interested, but attract new ones. Thus, being creative with what the company shares or posts is highly important.

In taking the time to become acquainted with each social network will ultimately make them even easier to use and over time, the benefits of using them will start to emerge. Have fun and let 2012 be the year your business begins using social media for marketing.

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Read more Social Media News on Sharocity’s blog

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