Guest writer Bryan Keller, gives business owners the lowdown on social media and explains how taking advantage of social media and online business communities, can positively impact the bottom line.
As recently as only 2-3 years ago, very few business owners took much of an interest in becoming part of the growing number of social media or online business communities that have exploded across the Internet in recent years.
Today however, most if not all business leaders, from the very smallest sole proprietorship to the very largest corporation, are aware of the fact that the Internet is quickly becoming the average consumer’s first resource in locating and choosing the party they ultimately choose to do business with.
Electing not to participate in this expanding progressive electronic evolution, would and surely will, have a very severe negative impact on those businesses that are not fully invested in the experience.
The number of professional user groups on websites like Facebook and LinkedIn has grown more than 10 fold or over 1000% over the past two years. Dismissing this trend as pure fancy would be an unwise maneuver for any savvy business owner or marketing executive.
These professional networks can provide many benefits to every type of business. And, the benefits are not only applicable to the business owners; belonging to a social network also provides numerous benefits to all of the other members (and prospective customers) of the social network as well.
Benefits of Social Networking from the Standpoint of the Business Owner:
Building or Increasing Company or Product Awareness – Social Media Sites provide a tremendous asset that allows custom tailored delivery of timely assessments of the types of services or products that a business provides, supplies, or offers.
Additionally, press releases describing exciting new changes taking place within a business serve the business and the consumer alike. A business forum can also be a fantastic way to provide consumers with near real-time helpful information on the steps needed to be taken in the advent that someone may be experiencing some sort of a problem with a particular good or service.
Observe and Track – Because Social Media Networks are designed to allow two-way communication between its participants, as a business owner you will have the luxury of seeing what other members of the online community may be saying about your brand, product, service and competition in virtually ‘real-time’.
Engage (Current Customers) and Entice (New Customers) – Do not neglect the opportunity to involve existing customers and network subscribers in all manner of interesting and topical debates, quizzes and feedback forums and blogs. When doing so the benefit is manifold as this process has the added effect of enticing new customers and subscribers simultaneously as they get drawn into the discussions.
Assist and Support – Here is the perfect opportunity for a business to demonstrate to its valuable customers in a substantial way, the benefits and advantages of using their goods and services. A great way to accomplish this is by providing valuable support in near real-time for any difficulty, problem, confusion, or question an existing customers or prospective customer may be experiencing with regard to the company’s products or services.
Attract and Qualify – By including the appropriate keywords and tags in the social media site profile, blog posts, articles and forum discussions, the result will be many, many, new potential customers who will be directed to your content automatically by the search engines as they search the Internet for relevant information that happens to match your niche (and these prospective clients are pre-qualified as strong potential leads – they found you because you offer something they were searching for and are obviously interested in).
Increase Your Bottom Line – Marketing 101.
Creating a Call to Action: (A Perceived Sense of Urgency)
Give a deadline which is clearly defined and visible in many advantageous locations throughout your business website. One effective way to achieve this is to create a deadline by which time certain featured products or services must be purchased or agreed upon due to the fact that the price for that good or service is scheduled to and will increase beyond a specified date and time.
It is imperative that you follow through on the price increase as well. An angry customer is one who is told that a price will go up on a product, after which they rush out and purchase said product or service, and then low and behold the deadline passes and the product never changes price. No one likes being lied to. Stay true to your word. Honesty and Integrity go hand and hand with trust and loyalty. You can always discount products again at a later date.
Always precede any price increase with many highly visible notices allowing your customer to take advantage of the current rate before the increase is scheduled to go into effect.
Trial offers are also a fantastic way to allow a consumer the chance to try on a limited basis the product or service you are offering. (If you are offering truly outstanding products and services, then obviously you would want people to have a chance to learn that first hand.)
For a Trial Period to be effective it should be offered as what is called a ‘No Risk’ trial. In other words let your customer know that if for some reason they decide they are not satisfied with your product or service within the trial period they can cancel the agreement without being charged for anything (no questions asked).
Freebies are also a great way to entice people into trying a product or service. They are best used as an added feature to a package of goods or services that your potential customer may be contemplating buying.
Be Creative, think of other ways to create that sense of urgency such as ‘If you order our system within the next ten days we are going to throw in at no extra charge 5 free video tutorials that speed you through the process of learning our course (regularly $99 value!)
Remember these are merely examples; the only limit is your imagination!
Guest writer Bryan Keller:
I own a Computer Repair and Data Recovery business in San Antonio, TX, San Antonio Computer Repair. I spent 10 years in database development. I am now also providing Website Development, Hosting, and SEO services. We use the Joomla CMS. Altogether I have been involved in computer programming for over 30 years.
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