Now I will discuss (Social Media) methods that require a few extra steps on your time.   Many of these are fairly easy to setup and get going if you have the time.

I emphasized Social Networks so I will stay in that arena.  We figured out that all the hits combined totaled 1,291,000,000 – that is 1.2 billion hits or traffic to the networks ~ this was for 2008!  See here

So how do we take advantage of all this traffic and put our product, service or brand in front of it?  More specifically how can we target the people who are in our local area.  Furthermore can we target based on interests etc?

How do I use Social Media

First of all it is important to mention that using Social Media to market or advertise your business can be effective if you do it properly.  I am still learning myself but consider this.  Traditional marketing is usually hard selling a product or service and the business that is marketing says what it wants based on its needs.  Social Media changes that completely.  Rather than hard selling and basing your strategy on what your needs are you must engage, soft sell and use a strategy based on the consumers needs.  People are talking to each other and you have to be involved.

I heard a great analogy the other day; imagine that Social Media was a cocktail party – you would not walk up and interrupt and begin screaming at people -“im so and so and you should buy from me”, rather you would engage, listen and find the best time to join the conversation.  You’ll find creative ways to bring the conversation around to you and what you sell.

So now about setting some of this up.

If you have a facebook profile for personal use, login and scroll to the very bottom of your home page.  The footer contains a link for “Advertising”.  Click that and under the main menu is a sub-menu that has a “Pages” link with a little flag.  Click that link and read up on About Pages, Preparing and Step By Step – then select the “create a page” buttn on the right.  You can have multipe pages and these act as profiles similar to your personal only that they are public and searchable from Google and others.

Once you’ve set that up add your friends from your personal profile.  Then do a search in Facebook for a few keywords related to your industry – refine this search by including the city or state you do business in.  Add anyone of particular interest and catch up on what everyone is doing.  If you see someone talking about anything related to what you sell engage.  That is it.

The next step would be to create some content and add it to you page.  Place links to your site, your blog or whatever.  You will find that there are also Facebook applications to syndicate RSS feeds, Twitter updates and if you know what you’re doing you can actually integrate many of your social networks, video blogs, blogs – just about anything.

An example of this would be how we’ve set our blog up.  Now we are still working a few kinks out but the process is fairly painless.  When Dustin or I post a new article it will auto post to our Twitter and Facebook.  Likewise if we post a video on our blog it will also update our Youtube account.  In fact it also works in reverse for us.  If we post to our Youtube it syndicates that and creates an updated status in Facebook and Twitter + others.

If you are interested in learning more about how to automate this for your business process let me know. The idea isn’t to shortcut or spend less time using the medium to market but rather to free that time spent to engage with others.  If we can automate the process of updating content across all the platforms we can spend more time catching up with our networks.

I hope that this three part series helped you understand a little more about Social Media, how people are using it and how you can market you business with it.

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