Murray Newlands interviews Domino Pizza’s Ramon De Leon about social content creation in this Future of Publishing. De Leon is one of the forerunners of deploying social media in a business environment so he knows a thing or two about social content. Hear what he has to say below:
Having a strong social media marketing presence is becoming more vital every day for any business wanting a strong online presence. Social media sites like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many others are powerful sites to use for marketing purposes. Millions upon millions of people use these sites every day to share and discuss anything and everything. You and your internet business need to be in on those conversations.
But how do you, as a regular small business person, compete with the marketing teams and budgets of the huge corporations? Here are a few strategies to help you become a social media marketing rockstar without needing any money or the help of a team…
1) Be Friendly
First and foremost you need to be friendly and social. That’s the original reason why these sites were established in the first place. It is important to establish a rapport with other social media users in your target market and related niches. If you are going to be successful with social media marketing then you need to build relationships and network with other users.
If someone asks you a question, answer it. If someone sends you a message, take the time to reply. Interact with other people and they will be far more receptive to information you share about your business on occasion. Always remember to be social!
2) Entertain People
If you come across an entertaining picture or video, or a useful article on the internet, share it with all your friends and followers on social media sites. If all you do is post information about your business, products, services, or life, you won’t get much traction with social media marketing.
It’s important to liven things up as much as you can. That way people will learn to watch for your posts and expect to find something worth sharing. Once they are paying attention to you, it’s far more likely that they will click on any links you post.
3) Market Your Business in Moderation
I know we are discussing the strategy of social media marketing but you do need to market in moderation. It’s ok to advertise your internet business or your individual products and services, but it doesn’t take much to overdo it. You should spend most of your time interacting with others, networking, and sharing a variety of things. Every now and then you can slip in a link to your website when the situation fits. That way, other people will be more likely to click your links when you post them. To put it another way, you are going for quality over quantity.
If you stick to these rules and adapt with the times, you will be on your way to a solid online presence and social media marketing stardom. On the other hand, if you insist on using social sites to just blast link after link to your own website, you will probably do more harm than good. People will label you as a spammer and lose respect for you and your business. It can be very hard to recover from any sort of negative branding. So keep the above tips in mind from now on and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Asking for feedback from people on social media networks can be one of the best things you could do to help your internet business grow and find more ideas to make it even better. Be prepared though because asking them for their honest opinions can often times bring out some pretty nasty things about you and your business, or even your entire industry. But that is actually a good thing because getting to know what your customers, potential customers and other people truly think, although sometimes very harsh, can be a life changing experience that will help you and your business grow to be a lot better.
It’s tough to do but you just have to not be afraid to let your guard down for a little while and ask people for feedback on social media networks. A great place to start would be Facebook. Although the opinions you get from FB might be a bit biased because the people you will be asking are typically your friends, family, business associates, industry peers, and other people close to you. But asking for honest feedback from them and then building upon it from other sources where the people might not be as close to you such as Twitter, LinkedIn, forums, and other social networking websites can be a great way to get the information you need.
Fixing the negative things you are told can often be the hardest part because you may not agree or you might take it personally. Just remember not to take criticism personally or negatively, but instead as something that is positive and will help you to grow your business by fixing your mistakes. If someone tells you that your information product (ebook) is horrible and you should never write again don’t get defensive or depressed. The best thing you can do is ask them for details on why they said that and more information on what they think the problem is so you can look into it and fix it.
Social media sites let you interact directly with the people who might be your potential customers or who already are your customers in a meaningful way. If you have taken the time to develop good relationships with your friends, followers, fans, and customers on social networking sites, they will be happy to help you if you ask them to. If you engage with them on a regular basis and use your social media accounts the way they are intended to be used, you should get a good response any time you ask a question, or send them a request for feedback.
The feedback you ask for can be very helpful in determining the future of your online business and internet marketing strategies, but unsolicited feedback can be much more beneficial. If you are active on social media networks, you will find that sometimes your customers and peers will send you both positive and negative business feedback without you even asking for it. Unsolicited feedback is great for two reasons… First, it’s extremely honest. Your customers are sharing their feedback with you because they truly have something to say, not because they were asked. Second, your customers might surprise you with the ideas and advice they present. They might come up with things you hadn’t thought of on your own and maybe never would have. And those ideas can help you to evolve your products, services, and overall business in a way that suits the wants and needs of your customers.
You should not be afraid of feedback whether it is positive or negative. Either way it can only help you and your business to be the best you can be. Have an open mind and wisely use the information you get, you might be surprised at how much it actually does help. Social networking sites are some of the best places to get the feedback you need. Go for it!
Here are some of the most common misconceptions about social networks and how they may be used by businesses.
1. My business is not the right type to benefit from social media marketing.
Many entrepreneurs have said the same thing – today, however, businesses ranging from auto mechanics to soft drink brands derive significant amounts of revenue from social networking, and the trend is on the rise.
2. Social Networks are only used by younger people.
While it’s true that the premier social networking site, Facebook, was originally exclusively for college students, for some years Facebook has been open for anyone to join. In fact, recent research shows that most users are now 35 and up, reflecting the demographics of the developed world.
3. Setting up social network marketing will be expensive.
This is a common misunderstanding. On a social network, you aren’t building a complete, functioning ecommerce site – you’re simply creating a presence – a “personality” which reflects who you are as a business. The tricky part, naturally, is in getting this right – which is where expert help can make the critical difference.
4. Maintenance of social networking pages will be time consuming and complex.
You won’t need to issue a 10 page exhaustive update of all your activities on a daily basis, but you will need to provide some updates to maintain interest. Guide the conversation and create excitement and buzz by choosing topics wisely.
5. A social networking presence is only useful for selling products.
Social networks have now become one of the most powerful and valuable sources of feedback from customers – unfortunately, nothing spreads faster than bad news in today’s networked world. Customers may not tell you about dissatisfaction on your own website or email, but they may well talk about it on Facebook. Keeping your ear to the ground is essential in today’s competitive market.
6. Blogs have no impact on business – there are simply too many bloggers online.
While it’s true that there is a large and ever-increasing number of bloggers out there, it’s still possible for a blog to have a positive impact on your business. Experts can help you choose the correct choice of subject matter and frequency of updates to ensure your blog features high in the search results for a given topic.
7. Monitoring social networks for “buzz” or “hot topics” will not make any significant difference to business.
In today’s wired world, employing a professional business partner to carry out “buzz monitoring” can be business critical. A large computer company recently found out through buzz monitoring on Facebook that there was a significant fault with one of their newest products – this early alert enabled them to replace the faulty goods and alter their manufacturing process before any further damage was done.
8. It doesn’t matter which social network I choose – they are all the same.
Choosing the correct social network to join could be the difference between success and failure. While Facebook works for many, other businesses might find the business-orientated “LinkedIn” more appropriate. A purely technology company might consider a presence in the avatar-based Second Life. There is little purpose in promoting your business in the wrong arena, which is where experts can help.
9. It’s all just a fad – social networking will soon be replaced by a new trend – why bother to get involved?
Social networking’s popularity has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. Not only this, it has changed the paradigm of how consumers and producers interact into a multi-dimensioned communal experience. Social networking is not going to go away – it’s more likely to replace the internet as we know it.
10. My business will not benefit from social networking.
To many internet users today, a business without a social networking presence simply doesn’t exist in some important senses. This trend is only likely to increase as time goes on. A business which ignores this phenomenon is liable to be seen as a dinosaur.
In conclusion, it should be clear that social networking can benefit almost any business type – but correct execution is critical, which is where expert internet marketing consultants can help.
Social media can be a great marketing tool for your internet business if used correctly to build a following of people who know and trust you as well as a way for you to engage your followers. This is actually something I have only recently realized and started to learn myself. Up until a few months ago I had always written social media marketing off as a fad and a waste of time. But I started testing it out a bit more and little by little it grew on me until I finally found that it does have several benefits and can be a great addition to other internet marketing strategies. I still don’t have a huge following or a bunch of friends on any one social site but I am working to build them up right now.
Social networking and social bookmarking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, Digg, Delicious, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, Mixx, FriendFeed, and a bunch of others give you the opportunity to interact with an incredible amount of people that can be a huge potential market for your business. Plus, they are all free and easy to use. Not to mention the fact that they are very popular and used by just about everyone nowadays.
The most important part of social media marketing is to NOT treat it solely as an internet marketing tool. You must build a following, build trust, build relationships, interact with your friends/followers, give more than you take, and become someone they listen to and recommend to others. Then, you will be able to promote things to them every so often. Create value first and market later.
Too many people use whatever means possible to try and get as many followers/friends as they can so they can blast out links to their sites/offers and hope someone clicks them. That doesn’t work. It’s called “social” media or social “networking” for a reason! You must be social and truly network with others for this marketing strategy to work.
Marketing on social networks can be a very difficult path to take, but it can be very rewarding in the end if you do it correctly. You definitely shouldn’t tweet more than one marketing message per day on your main Twitter account or post more than one per day on your Facebook profile, or whatever other social networking site you use.
Social bookmarking sites are a little different because it is expected that you will “bookmark” links on them. However, you should still build up friendships and followings on them wherever possible so they will help you to vote up your content. And you should definitely not only post your own content to them. Bookmarking links to your own sites should be done sparingly or you won’t get far with the majority of users. Also, social bookmarking sites such as Delicious are typically much better to use than Twitter or Facebook for getting backlinks to your site.
The basis of social media marketing is to create value for your friends and followers on your social networks — give them an incentive of useful information, tips, giveaways, help, support, friendship, and general entertainment value in order to secure their trust and keep them as followers to which you can market (lightly) to in the future. This is one internet marketing strategy that must be handled with care and can’t be abused at all, or it won’t help you a bit.