Here are the Seven Steps to Success using business social networks:
What do you want to attain from your social networking and social media marketing initiatives? Is it to increase qualified leads, deliver better customer service, get more business, create a great brand, obtain better reviews or gain more trust? It's difficult to do everything at once. Ask your manager what their immediate goals are! Be very specific about your marketing goals.
Don't fall in the trap of creating profiles on multiple social networking channels, and then forgetting about them. If a social network has only your company profile, it's like an empty store front. No customer would dare go there. Social media networking is all about engagement. Each network channel takes at least 4 to 6 hours of management every week. Be judicious of your time and resources.
Who are your customers and learn what they are saying and doing. Your customers are already using social networks and social media. It's easy to find your customers (search for them), and see what's going on. Who are your customers' customers? Learn about your customer needs. How can you help them? Take the time to understand your customers' perceptions. How are your partners doing? What are the industry trends and experts saying?
Are you ready to connect? Once you know who your customers, prospects, partners and experts are, begin connecting with them through your business social networks. Connect slowly! You don't want to connect with competing customers at the same time. Begin following a few customers and engaging with them. Just connecting without engagement doesn't yield results. Are more connections better? Quality matters.
Now that you are listening and following your customers, begin sharing what they are saying. Promote your customers' updates. Respond to their messages. Get feedback about your products and services. Ask them questions about what they said. Whenever possible, answer your customers' questions. Engage with your customers! The more you engage, the better the ROI.
What do your customers want to learn from you? Are they looking at you as the subject matter expert? Do you have something interesting, inspiring and useful to share that will get them excited about their business? Customers are not just looking at your company updates, product briefs and services. They want something that can help them in their business. Can you do this?
Did you realize your goals? In all likelihood, you achieved few of the things you were looking for. How do you achieve the rest? Do more of what's working. Correct what's not. Be nimble! Business Social networking is a fast-changing paradigm. Be creative in your approach. If you have to start all over again, that's fine! The best barometer: Are your customers engaged?
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