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Using Social Media to Enhance and Grow Your Business

These days it’s not enough to advertise in Yellow Pages and wait for the phone to ring. We’ve all moved on. It’s not even enough to get a website and wait for that to do the work and get the business rolling in – we’ve kind of moved on a little from that too.

Today we have smart phones that can render the internet in an eye-pleasing way (remember those ‘web-specific’ pages from a few years ago that a few forward-thinking websites provided?) and the entire world is on social media – and those that aren’t can still look in the Yellow Pages.

standing out from the crowd in business

These days when you want to stand out and be noticed in the crowd you need to be able to concentrate on a few things at once; I’ve always likened it to plate-spinning, the bizarre thing that magicians used to do at variety performances on Sunday night tv. Everyone has a website now and you need to move ahead of the rest and use all your skills to direct traffic towards it. That’s how you get the business rolling in.

Facebook, Google Plus, Google Authorship, Twitter, a Blog and Pinterest
There are more of course, but if you’re a one man band you can’t do everything, so choose the ones that are most popular and work on those. I would recommend Google+ (because it’s Google – if you want to flatter Google and get noticed by them, then you can’t ignore what they offer), Facebook and Twitter (of course) and maybe Pinterest if you have great designs or lovely examples of your work that you can promote. All of these will also allow you to link to your website too from your profile page.

Do it Regularly
it’s no good signing up to all these things and then not using them – this is the metaphorical equivalent of letting your plates fall and smash in front of your audience. You must post on these social media sites regularly. Your audience wants to see that you are active as a company. The more you post, the more you will be seen as the type of company that people would want to get in touch with or explore further. You also fix yourself in the mindsets of your readers. So if our social media users were ever to be asked for a competitively priced web design company in chelmsford (for example), we are probably more likely to be recommended than if we were never seen on Facebook or Twitter.

Build Audience Trust
Blogging is a really good way to build trust – not just for your readers and subscribers, but also with Google itself. If you use Google authorship attributes, where your posts are signed and linked back to your Google+ site, then you can build trust with Google as someone who writes with authority on a subject. This is a fairly new part of SEO and social media marketing and we are yet to see how it pans out.

I suspect that once people realise that they can do this quite easily with a little dedication, then any SEO benefits will become watered down. Currently, at Google’s discretion, once you sign up for Google authorship you will appear in search results like this:

google authorship serp results

The benefits can be as basic as simply being more likely to be clicked on due to the listing being more prominent. Of course, the more clicks you get the more Google likes you anyway. We will cover Google Authorship in more detail in the near future. In the meantime, google it!

Content is King
This is true of all that you write, not just for blogging. Make sure that whoever writes your pieces has a pretty good grasp of grammar and knows how to write in an engaging and interesting way. Your readers will be used to a fairly high standard of writing, newspapers and books are proofread meticulously before they go to press, despite the odd mistake still inevitable slipping through – and if you have auto-spellcheck enabled, make sure it doesn’t exchange perfectly good words for other perfectly good words that are out of context!

And of course it goes without saying, only write about things you know about – posting misleading – or simply plain wrong – information can do your business reputation more harm than if you wrote nothing at all.

Make it Easy for Others to Share your Posts
Our fizzblog uses a series of share buttons on each blog post we write, it makes life really easy for readers to share our articles on whatever is their social media platform of choice – make things easy for your audience and you hang on to their ever-decreasing attention span for precious moments longer.

We use Simple Share Buttons (see below) – the WordPress plugin does what it says on the tin: it’s very simple to integrate and works! You also get a nice choice of buttons to choose from, the faded, retro ones are particularly nice. The grey ones on this site are custom made and we added them in ourselves (just so you don’t waste time seating for them).

If you have more members of staff than just yourself it’s a lot easier; give each person a social media platform to look after on behalf of the company and you’re good to go. Some companies have an enthusiastic writer who does nothing but social media marketing and blogging full-time as it can be very time-consuming. But keep at it and you will generate traffic towards your site (as long as you link to it – and not just the home page) and hopefully get more work out of it as a result of your efforts.

This just scratches the surface of the often complicated world of social media marketing, if you have any other social media tips please post them here, we’d love to read them.

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