North West social media marketing...
Ten reasons why North West small businesses should use social media marketing...
1. It's free - and that's a pretty good price point compared to many other ways to promote your business.
2. It's measurable - so you can see how effective it is at helping you to build awareness and generate leads. This then helps you to focus your efforts into the areas or channels that are most productive for you.
3. It presents your business as forward thinking. Much of your target market is becoming savvy and uses social media as a part of daily life. You will be more relevant and in-step with your potential customers and you can engage in an instant dialogue with them. Globally, Facebook now has over 500 million users - that's the equivalent of the world's 3rd biggest country and you've got an opportunity to market to them for free.
4. The tone of social media marketing can't be too 'salesy' or 'shouty' - it's about adding value, sharing knowledge or providing a credible commentary. Small businesses are naturally really good at this - they win business and retain it by building relationships. This approach lends itself well to the dialogue based style of social media marketing.
5. Social media will generate additional traffic to your website. By updating sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with posts linking back to your site, you'll create additional traffic to your site from people who have a specific interest in what you're doing. Social bookmarking sites like Digg, Stumbleupon and Slashdot will also generate traffic to your website if you frequently write articles and blog posts.
6. Your social media work can build inbound links which in turn supports your search engine optimisation (SEO), i.e. the way your site achieves a high ranking in search engine listings. Many social media sites use so-called NOFOLLOW tags that limit the outbound link value of posts made on their sites. Nevertheless, many leading social media sites allow DOFOLLOW tags including Slashdot, Digg, Furl, Mixx and FriendFeed.
7. Social media will help you to integrate all your marketing and PR activity - and this has great results in terms of your search engine rankings. Search engines such as Google and Microsoft Bing are increasingly interested in indexing and ranking posts and other information from social media sites. Videos from popular internet sites like YouTube can also be optimised for indexing by the major search engines - they also make great viral marketing (check out "Will it Blend" on Youtube - their iPhone blending stunt has had 8.7 million hits).
8. Social Media helps to keep you front of mind with your friends and contacts. It reminds them about what you do and means that they can either to use your services or act as an advocate for your business and refer you to one of their friends or contacts.
9. Setting up a company profile on a site like LinkedIn provides a great opportunity for you to regularly post updates on your activities, as well as important news and trends in your industry, allowing you to position your business as experts, "business champions", "consumer champions", or "community champions".
10. Setting up a blog can provide you with a "destination" at which you can direct your social media work. If you use a technology like Blogger (which is free!) you can even get some free code to integrate your blog into your company website. This means you can efficiently direct traffic to your website to promote things like your latest offer, press releases or market intelligence.