social-media_500The benefits of social media are clear. Where are your clients and prospects?

Well, there are over 500 million active Facebook users per month and Twitter attracts 180 million unique visitors per month, just to name a few.

According to the 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, “The number-one benefit of social media marketing is gaining the all-important eyeball. A significant 85% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated exposure for their businesses. Improving traffic was the second major benefit, followed by building new partnerships.”

But the benefits of social media do not happen overnight, and many businesses are struggling to see the benefits. Here’s our take on why.

  1. Not checking and updating your status regularly
    There is nothing worse than when someone who is considering hiring you or buying your products checks out your Facebook page and your last status update talks about the best Christmas gifts (and it’s July!).

    Using social media as a marketing tool is a smart way to promote your business, but only if you are using it regularly.

  2. Not promoting your social media wherever you can
    This happens all the time. You spend time, effort and lots of money setting up a fantastic website. Then you are taking on social media like a champ, talking to your customers, providing valuable content – but never the two shall meet! Take the extra step to put the social media icons right on your home page so people can see what you are talking about, ‘Like’ your page and get in on the action.Put a link to your social media in your email signature. Right under your name, title, phone number and website, include your Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn and blog links.Or, how about including your social media addresses on your business card? Make it easy for people, clients and prospects to find you wherever they hang out.
  3. You talk too much about your business
    Don’t get me wrong, it’s important that your visitors know when you have a new product or service, but don’t make your social media entirely about you and your business. You need to provide resources and value for people – and a reason for them to keep coming back.Do you run a garden center? Then tell us the best ways to keep our grass green during the Virginia heat. What are the best plants to grow in the shade? Which plants will flower year round?
  4. You don’t show your appreciation
    If your clients or prospects take the time to comment on your Facebook page or blog, the least you can do is thank them for their comment. Your reply can just be “Thanks, Chris, for your comment – we couldn’t agree more.” Or “We’re glad you found the information valuable.”
  5. You don’t comment on a negative post or comment
    Even if it’s a negative comment, it can be turned into a positive for your company. If someone brings a legitimate concern out into the open, think how impressed potential customers will be if they see that you have addressed the concern and are taking steps to improve.You will be the ‘bigger man’ if you can thank them for ‘bringing it to your attention’ and let them know you are ‘looking into a better solution for the future.’ You can even offer something to them in return for their future patronage if it is a very serious issue.

Why not set a goal to work on updating your social media for 30 minutes once a week. How about Tuesdays at 11am? That means by the end of the year, you will have 52 updates on each of your social media outlets. If you are active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, that means you will end up with 156 new updates in total. Not bad for 30 minutes work.

And if you are having trouble setting it up, managing it or making it work, come join us for our social media classes in September (the first one’s free!).

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