Aug 242010
 
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The is a guest post by Phyllis Zimbler Miller.

Businesses large and small, online, offline, national, and local need to take social media seriously or be left behind by their competitors who do take seriously this form of promotion/marketing/connecting with potential customers/clientele.

It’s human nature to prefer to interact with real people rather than with faceless businesses. How many times have you had a customer service problem and asked whom you can talk to that can help you with the problem? If the business has a known contact person, don’t you instead ask to speak to that person?

Yet social media marketing goes far beyond providing the name of someone whom people can ask for help with a product or service.

Effective utilizing social media enables a business to forge relationships with targeted audiences, create raving fans of those people with whom relationships are formed, and have those raving fans spread the word about the business.

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook pages (business pages rather than personal pages — profiles) offer businesses a way to connect with target markets where these target markets hang out. At these online “water cooler” sites, businesses can then provide valuable information and special offers plus have the ability to keep tabs on how well the information and offers are received.

Local businesses can use Twitter to tweet a promotional offer or to announce a new product or service. These same local businesses can use Facebook pages to provide a community for their fans and to capture the email addresses of these fans in order to stay in touch with them by email as well as through Twitter and the updates on the business’ Facebook page.

Encouraging people to “like” a company’s offerings/blog on its website and/or its Facebook page provides social proof of the worth of the company. After all, how much more likely are we to attend a film that our friends rave about than a film that movie critics rave about? That’s the power of “social proof.”

In addition, mobile marketing builds on social media marketing. Using mobile marketing, for example, businesses can send special offers by text message to their fans who have opted in to such notifications.

Let’s imagine the websites of two restaurants:

Restaurant A has an old-fashioned static website that gives address and telephone number, directions, hours, and a sample menu. There are no links or icons for Twitter or a Facebook page; no blog; no way to interact at all except to email info@restaurant.com

Restaurant B has an up-to-date website/blog that also provides email optin for special discount offers, a Facebook “like” button or “recommend” button, perhaps a Facebook “comments” widget so fans can leave comments on the website itself, a Facebook page widget so fans can “like” the restaurant’s Facebook page without leaving the site, a Twitter link, and numerous other opportunities for fans to interact with restaurant personnel on the restaurant’s website.

Which local restaurant is more likely to have a loyal fan base? Obviously restaurant B.

Bottom line as to why you need to take social media seriously for your business?

Because your competitors are taking social media seriously and you don’t want to lose your business to your competitors’ social media efforts.

Learn about how combining social media with a social media-enhanced website can help attract more business by getting the free report “Twitter, Facebook and Your Website: A Beginning Blueprint for Harnessing the Power of 3 for Your Business” at www.millermosaicpowerof3.com

(c) 2010 Miller Mosaic, LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing, which coaches clients on how to effectively use social media to attract more business..

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