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March 13th, 2015

InternetSocialNetworkingandReputationManagement_Mar13_BStill trying to crack the code to social media superstardom for your business? If you’re struggling to find strategies that work, then prepare to take notes. There are some integral tactics and principles that have the power to turn your social media efforts around. We’ve got the lowdown on how to grow your social media fan base and get your business the attention it needs and deserves.

Why social media is a must for marketing your small and medium business Social media is at the forefront of the “soft sell” revolution. In fact, social media advertising can sometimes be such a soft sell that, when you’re on the receiving end, you may not even know you’re being sold anything in the first place. For example, you may have a friend who posts fun articles from their blog or pictures of their artwork (that they actually make a profit from) on Facebook. You may enjoy their content so much that you decide to share it and pass it along to friends and family. Know what you just did? You just became a marketer for their business. That simple share may just have garnered them a new customer and more profits.

This is why it’s an absolute must to carve out your piece of the pie in social media. You’ll grow your fanbase, and potentially create a following of loyal supporters who are happy to market your business - some of whom won’t even be aware they’re doing it. Here are a couple of tips on how to grow your social media audience.

Publish content

Every piece of content you publish is an advertisement for your business, regardless of whether you’re directly selling a product or sharing fun information. Not only that, but if you publish valuable content often, your readers will know you’re a reliable go-to source for information on your topic. That leads to a good reputation, people spreading the word about you and, consequently, referrals. You’ll grow your fanbase and online presence simultaneously.

Be human, be genuine

Trust is key. To become a player in social media, your audience needs to trust you. And if you want long term success in social media, that trust needs to be genuine. People can smell a faker, even over the Internet.

So be human and genuine with your customer interaction and published content on social media. If you do, you’ll develop a fan base that truly loves you and will be spread the word about your business without being prompted.

Think about it, how many times have you recommended a business that you love to one of your friends or family? When you did this, you didn’t believe you were marketing someone’s brand, but helping your friend or family member out. You wouldn’t have done this if you didn’t trust this business or believe their product or solution to be genuine.

Give back

To take the point above a step further, why not do a community service project in your local city or town? This gives you an opportunity to document the experience on social media. As mentioned above, this content is free advertising. And if you do something that is unique and genuinely helps your community, people are likely going to share it - growing your fan base in the process. In the end not only do you win, but also your fans and community.

Want more social media tips to help you garner an outstanding online reputation? Get in touch and see how we can assist.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 19th, 2015

RepBFrom an early age, we’re all taught to be wary of strangers. Don’t talk to them, don’t smile at them and, whatever happens, do not accept candy from them! As we become adults, we know it’s okay to talk with strangers and meet new people. But as technology has evolved, there’s a new type of stranger lurking in the shadows who may still pose threats to even us grown-ups. And while they likely won’t offer us candy, they may be asking to connect on LinkedIn. So how do we handle it? Here’s a look at some reasons for accepting or rejecting that LinkedIn invitation.

Why to reject

Rejectors of stranger invitations have a common argument that’s hard to dispute. If you connect with a stranger, and a trusted member in your network (who you actually know) asks for an introduction to that connection, you may look a bit silly saying you’ve never met the guy. This scenario can obviously be a bit awkward. And LinkedIn rejection enthusiasts like to use this argument as their trump card to silence the opposition.

To go along with this, they may further ask what would happen if that stranger started requesting introductions to valued members of your network? Again, you might find yourself in an awkward situation.

The core philosophy of any LinkedIn invite rejector is that your network should be made up of people you know and trust. Some people see a connection on LinkedIn as an endorsement of that person. If strangers in your network have a bad reputation that you don’t know about, and others see that you’re connected with them, it could be a bad reflection on you.

Why to accept

More people seem to lean toward connecting with LinkedIn strangers than against. But does that actually make it the right decision? Why do people choose to accept invitations from people they don’t know?

People with 500+ connections appear powerful, even if most of their connections are with strangers. Seriously, think about it. Who would you be more likely to trust, a person with 70 connections or one with over five hundred?

More connections also mean a higher chance of being found. More and more recruiters are jumping on the LinkedIn bandwagon and, whether you’re looking for freelance work or for a new job, LinkedIn is a great place to be found. The more connections you have, the easier it is for you to appear in search results.

What’s more, a higher connection count can lead to your profile reaching a larger audience. If you have a business, feel like you have something to say or just want to speak your mind in a professional manner (save the posts about your drunken exploits for Facebook), LinkedIn presents an excellent opportunity to get your voice heard. And the more connections you have, the more people you’ll have the opportunity to influence.

The choice is yours

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to connecting with strangers on LinkedIn. It comes down to personal preference and objectives. If you want your network to be trusted individuals you actually have a relationship with, then it’s better for you to reject those stranger requests. On the other hand, if you’re looking for more opportunities and are self-employed, connecting with strangers can be a great way to drill up more business.

But there is middle ground, too. Maybe you don’t connect with just any old stranger (like that guy who works for the Bank of Nigeria), but if there is someone who is a friend of a friend or who works in your field, it might be worth connecting with them. Remember, your friends were once strangers too, so maybe that request from Bill who works at your local hardware store will turn into a blossoming business relationship. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

If you’re looking to learn more about LinkedIn and other social media platforms, contact us today and see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 28th, 2012

A rising trend in social media reputation management is the use of Twitter by companies to spread the word about themselves. From time-to-time, a client may not be happy, and may take to Twitter to let other people know, leading to an online reputational nightmare. Do you know how to deal with negative tweets?

Traditionally, the general rule regarding complaints was that a disgruntled customer or client will tell up to 20 people when they are unhappy, versus 5 when they are happy. When a complaint is made on Twitter, chances are very high it will be seen by more than 20 people. Complaints on Twitter should be taken seriously, even one complaint could damage your online reputation. Here are a few tips on dealing with this new breed of online customer service.

Ensure Team Alignment If you have more than one person looking over your social media accounts, or someone other than you looking over it, you need to be sure that they are experts on your products and services. This is important because it is them who will be responding to questions and complaints. If you don’t have an FAQ section set up, it is a good idea to establish answers to the most commonly asked questions, as well as answers or responses to any frequent complaints. This will provide you and your employees with a way to quickly handle displeased customers.

Prompt Response is Key Oftentimes, a quick response will go a long way in dampening the complaint. As people, we like to be acknowledged and when it is done promptly, we are more likely to be open. Many complaints are made when people are mad, and as such, the complaints tend not to show the whole picture. If you quickly respond, ask for more information or suggestions on what you can do to help, the complainer will often give you valuable feedback to use. If the complaint is serious, it is a good idea to acknowledge the complaint briefly, and then pursue a private dialogue. The average window to respond is 2-3 hours from the time of the complaint, so try to at least acknowledge the complaint within that time.

Personal Responses go a Long Way As with any response to complaints, it is a good idea to personally respond. If you use a company account, the response or apology will be read as insincere, and potentially make the problem worse. Many people feel valued when they are contacted from the owner’s or manager’s personal company account. In small businesses like yours, it is a good idea that someone at the very top replies. This will make it look like you care.

Word Limits, We Don’t Need No Word Limits The 140 character limit is usually not enough to explain yourself, or conduct damage control. So, don’t limit yourself to just the 140 characters. Use the space to acknowledge the complaint, and ask the person who lodged the complaint for their email so you can help them.

Pick Your Battles Remember one of the most important sayings in business: “You can’t please everyone, all the time.” There will always be people who complain simply because they can. In an ideal world, you would be able to personally address and solve each and every complaint, but chances are high you won’t be able to do that. Use your business sense about the complaints, or have a colleague look at the complaint and debate about what you should do.

With careful responses that are prompt and personal, there is a high chance you will turn the complaint into praise, and not only keep your client, but look good while doing it. If you have any questions about Twitter or any other social media tools, please give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 24th, 2012

Many businesses with a social networking marketing strategy include LinkedIn in their plan, but are they getting the most value out? Chances are, you might be barely scratching the surface of what LinkedIn can contribute to the growth of your business.

With a still-growing user base of at least 120 million, LinkedIn has become THE professional social networking tool of many businesses. While Facebook is still the major network on the personal side, LinkedIn's importance in the business-to-business world is growing.

With LinkedIn, your social networking strategy doesn't have to be complex, and smaller companies, in particular, can quickly see results with just a little effort. Here are a few pointers to help you maximize the positive effect of your LinkedIn connections.

Be comprehensive. "Short and sweet" may be the rule of thumb in any other kind of forum, but for professional purposes it's always best to include as many credentials about you and your business as possible. It's helpful to give potential clients and connections the full story on your strengths which means listing past employment and work experience, academic backgrounds, pertinent skills, competencies and certifications, and even educational backgrounds. It's important to understand that many of the people who will enlist your services will only have your online credentials to go on, so give them a complete picture of what you've done and can do.

Customize your URL. When you create a LinkedIn profile, the site auto-generates a URL for that profile. But did you know that you can customize and change that URL? By changing it to reflect your business, it makes you much easier to remember and find.

Be involved. Much like in Facebook, a LinkedIn profile is useless if you simply post and forget. It's essential to keep your info up to date, and interact with people by posting questions and comments. Proactive, educational input into the groups that serve your potential clients will build a good impression with professionals who are looking for the services or products that your company supplies.

We are always ready to help you build your business, so let us help you build your customer connections.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.