In this third post of our series on Marketing Your Website, we will focus on how you can leverage social media to grow your business.
How & Why Social Media Works
Social Media is a powerful way to promote your business, and its value is growing every day.
To understand the value of social media, one must understand the “network effect” it is so brilliantly built for.
Take Facebook for example.
If you choose to “like” a business page on Facebook, you are essentially subscribing to receive updates from that business. And when that business posts an update on Facebook, this update actually appears on your own Facebook page, which in turn is seen by all your friends. So - all in all, when you “like” a business, you’re not only helping that business to spread their message, but in a subtle way, you’re endorsing it. This is why so many businesses are trying so hard to get you to “like” them on Facebook, or “follow” them on Twitter (it works in the same exact way). They want your endorsement. They understand that social media provides a unique opportunity to tap into vast networks of people which can be extremely valuable. And so it goes that every company is trying to craft compelling messages that spread like wildfire across the social sphere.
Think about it. Other than sending out email blasts or make phone calls, what other way is there to efficiently and cost-effectively get out small messages on a frequent basis? There really isn’t. Social media is not only effective; its cost-effective. It’s free. And that’s why we highly recommend that you get involved as soon as possible.
While there’s a ton of different tactics that people use to leverage social media, we’re going to provide you with a few that you can implement right away. We’re going to focus on Facebook and Twitter, because these are currently the two most popular social media tools that businesses, in general, are using. (Some others that are quickly growing in popularity are Google+ and Linkedin).
Once you have established a Facebook or Twitter account for your business, you should immediately install a FREE Wibiya social toolbar to your website. It only takes about 1 minute to do with our website builder, and it will allow your visitors to instantly “like” or “tweet” about your website with one single click. (Notice that we use this toolbar ourselves. It’s at the bottom of every page of our IconoSites website.)
Your Facebook business page should be leveraged as a community-building tool. On this page, you can post all sorts of information and updates about your business, and you can communicate directly with your customers (See our IconoSites facebook page as an example…and give us a LIKE too!). The important mindset to have is one of helping and educating. So put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and think about what kind of information and resources you can post to be helpful to them. This will not only keep them coming back for more, but it will also help you spread your messages across the web. Your goal is to be an invaluable resource to your customers.
For example, every time we make a new “how to create a website” tutorial that will help our members improve their free websites, we post it on Facebook. Or, when we read a great article (even if written from someone else) or find something we think could be of value to our members (could be a discount coupon, or anything of that nature), we post it on Facebook. We also use Facebook to ask questions to our members and get feedback.
After enough time, our followers grow to understand that we are committed to helping them and appreciate our efforts. Many of our followers become loyal fans, who help spread the word about IconoSites. As a result, our community grows and our messages continue to reach more and more people because of the network effect. That’s how Facebook helps us.
So go ahead and set up your Facebook business page, and start formulating a plan for what valuable content you can provide on a regular basis.
Here’s a couple great articles that will really help you with your Facebook endeavors:
- The Ultimate Facebook Marketing Cheat Sheet
- How to Build Facebook Friends and Fans
Twitter is very similar to Facebook in that it should be leveraged in the same ways as a community-building tool. Just like Facebook, you should post valuable information with the goal of being an invaluable resource to your customers (see our IconoSites Twitter page…and FOLLOW us!). Just as you try to build “likes” on Facebook, you want to build “followers” on Twitter.
A lot of the time, you will find that the content you post on Facebook can and should also be posted on Twitter. They are two different social tools and your network will most likely be different on both.
While Facebook is great for good thorough posts and explanations (even with images attached), Twitter is great for quick messages and status updates.
There’s a lot of great tactics you can use to build a vibrant Twitter following. But rather than list them all here, we’re going to provide some links to a couple great articles that will really help you out:
- The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Expert Twitter Marketing
- A Starter’s Guide to Increasing Brand Visibility on Twitter
- 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business
Build a Following
Keep in mind that one of the quickest ways to build a following on your social media platforms is to link to them at every place you interact with your customers. For example, you should place links to your social media platforms on your business website (While you can place these images & links directly on your web pages, we recommend using the free all-encompassing Wibiya social media toolbar), in any email newsletters you send out, and also in your email signature. We utilize all of these methods and they have proven to become our most effective way of community building.
A Final Word of Advice
There’s a million ideas out there of all the different things a business can do to leverage social media. If you’re a new business, and you’re still learning how to create a website, be careful with how you choose to spend your time on social media. You can really burn a lot of time in social media with very little to show for it.
Here’s a great resource where you can learn a ton more about social media marketing for your business:
- Top 25 Social Media Blogs for Businesses
- 15 Fluff-Free Ways to Step Up Your Social Media Game
The next post in this series is Marketing Your Website, Part 4: Email Campaign Like a Pro where we discuss the value of email marketing, and provide you with some extremely valuable tips to help you get started and avoid the common pitfalls.