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How can I harness social media to add real value to my business?

How to use social networking sites effectively – and avoid jumping on the bandwagon

I run a small web design company and am keen to start marketing my services via sites like Twitter and Facebook, but want to make sure my efforts are not just jumping on the social media bandwagon. How can I start using sites like this to add real value to my marketing efforts?

Niall Mckinney writes:

Social media marketing is clearly the hot topic in marketing at the moment. Companies (large and small) who can harness the various social media platforms, such as Digg or Twitter, can drive vast quantities of traffic to their sites, increasing visibility / awareness and even improving their search engine rankings. And all at little cost.

Firstly, you need to have a content strategy. What topics should you write about and why are they interesting? Think carefully about how you can promote what you do, but also how to generate really useful content that people will want to read.

Once you have a good content strategy in place, you need to create your accounts (in your brand / company name) on your various chosen social media sites. Twitter, Fark, Reddit, Facebook and Digg are good places to start. Then you need to start putting your interesting, relevant content out there! 

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Use an eye-catching headline Headlines are a major factor in scoring big in the social media world.  People will click on your article based on the headline, so it must be as appealing as possible.

2. Keep the content concise and to the point The attention span of social media surfers is very short. Quickly fulfill the promises made in the headline in a concise manner. Lists work really well – give them the information they want immediately.

3. ‘How to’ articles are appealing In your case, it could be a ‘how to’ article on something like ‘how to create a well designed website’ or ‘how to NOT design a website’ and show a really bad example. 

4. Choose your topic carefully    Different network sites are disposed to different types of subjects. Do your research and find out what types of content does well on each site.

5. Be part of the community Don’t spam social media sites – you will get told off! As in all communities, some users are very protective towards what is said. If your submissions are spammy, you will not get a good reception. Only submit relevant and interesting things and respect each community.

Niall Mckinney is the founder of UTalkMarketing

UTalkMarketing runs Social Media Skills Accelerator training days as well as a Social Media Master Class which consists of quarterly online seminars.

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