by Sylvia Brown
With the vast amount of social media networks for businesses to select from, how do you narrow it down to the ones that are perfect for your needs?Â Having thousands at your fingertip to sift thru can become a daunting task!
To streamline the process, ask yourself the Who? What? Where? How?
- Who are your customers?
- What are their needs and desires?
- Where do they live?
- Will you be offering the kind of products or services that they will buy?
- How much time do you commit to managing social media?
- How do you search for a ’niche’ network?
- How do you monitor and protect your online image?
Who are your customers?Â
There are literally thousands of social media networks.Â To decide which will work for your business, it is important to know your customer. Let’s get it straightâ€¦ EVERYONE is NOT your customer. Though it would be nice to claim them all, it is impossible to be all things to all people. So, it is best to know and understand your target market.Â
What are their needs and desires?
Do you know why customers buy your product or service? If not, you should make it your business to find out.Â Ultimately, you want to increase sales and grow your business, right?Â Well, to do that, you must get inside their heads to learn their needs and desires?
In essence, understanding their needs is extremely important.Â Ask questions and concentrate on what the customer is really saying.Â Always paraphrase at the appropriate time to make sure you understand.Â Check out their body language.Â Are they at ease or in a defense mode?Â You should avoid making assumptions as it will only ignite the situation.
Did you know that it costs five to six times as much to get a new customer as it does to keep a current one?Â Make sure your customer’s needs are taken care of and that you have follow up procedures in place.
Where do they live?
Have you figured out which networks are most frequented by potential and existing customers, vendors or partners?Â If not, do the research! Developing a strategy begins with targeting the right people.Â Find the networks that work best.Â Doing so, you will eventually see a ROI (return on investment).
How much time do you commit to managing social media?
To manage time when using social media can be a juggling act. It is important to allocate a certain amount of time daily or weekly.Â Monitor what your top distractions are and eliminate them. Find tools that can help you manage multiple platforms.
4 MUST Have Social Tools:Â
- Hootsuite:Â a social media management system for businesses to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard.
- NutshellMail: takes copies of all your latest updates in your social networking accounts and places them in a snapshot email; updates are sent to your primary email address on your schedule.
- Crowdbooster: offers social media analytics with suggestions and tools to help you improve your online presence.
- Zite: a free personalized magazine that automatically learns what you like and gets smarter every time you use it; tracks your data to help personalize your magazine and the magazines of others.
How do you search for a ’niche’ network?
While it’s beneficial to be on major social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, it is equally important to connect to industry related networks.Â To find those related to your industry, simply search using key words such as â€˜social networks for â€˜â€¦’
An Example of 4 â€˜Niche’ Networks:Â Â
- Business and Technology Experts: http://www.focus.com/
- Event Planners: http://www.weddingsocialnetworking.com/
- Legal: http://www.lawyrs.net/ or http://www.legalplayground.com/
- Real Estate/Construction: http://www.upworld.com/welcome.html
How do you monitor and protect your online image?
Do you know what people are saying about you or your brand?Â Negative comments can destroy your credibility.Â Google alerts will monitor you and your business name.Â Once you sign up, you will receive alerts when your name or brand is mentioned.
- Google Alerts: http://www.google.com/alerts
By using this process, will enable you to select the appropriate social networks for your business; thus, allowing you to reap full benefits of growing your virtual presence.
Sylvia Browder is a small business consultant, trainer and author. She is founder of National Association Women on the Rise, a virtual community for aspiring and established women entrepreneurs. She has served as an online volunteer SCORE counselor since 2004. For FREE weekly articles go to Sylvia Browder’s Blog for Women Entrepreneurs, www.sylviabrowder.com.Â Ready to UPLEVEL your business and life?
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