Archive for October 1st, 2010

How to use Social Media to Grow Your Market

Friday, October 1st, 2010

The popularity of media on demand means it’s harder than ever to get your message to potential new clients. Cable TV, Netflix, MP3 players, iTunes, all that stuff adds up to creating a kind of insular experience for people when they’re looking for entertainment. The problem is that while entertainment used to be one of the most effective ways to reach an audience with your advertising, it’s now harder than ever to get them to see or hear you while watching TV or listening to the radio. You can get around this obstacle of invisibility, however, by making better use of email and the social media tools available online.

You’re probably already familiar with how to use email as a direct-marketing tool, and like most anyone with an email account, you get a few emails a day telling you about special offers or sharing news with you about a favorite company or product. The best direct-marketing emails tend to have a catchy subject line to pull you in, and then not a lot of copy to get you to click on a link to a website – sometimes to a special page just for people who subscribe to email notifications. When marketing through email, make sure that you use your customer and friend list sparingly. Keep your emails brief and to the point and engage your audience with compelling offers, a great picture or a note on a timely topic that will interest them.

Marketing through social media also requires brevity and well-tailored pitches, but the audience is slightly different from what you got through email. Social media sites and applications are like little communities. The three biggies, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, allow people to create and maintain their own circle of friends and contacts, which is also like their own circle of influence. However, it’s important to remember that each of these sites functions on a very different level of interaction. Facebook tends to foster more personal connections between users and their friends, while Twitter can be a vast communication tool that people use to reach out and share thoughts with complete strangers. LinkedIn is more of a business tool, but you can also use to connect with new customers or clients by approaching it the same way you would Facebook and Twitter.

The secret is to use social media as a kind of online mom and pop shop. People enjoy the personal attention they get in small, local shops, and you can offer customers that same kind of attention through social media. Getting started is easy. When you post a message on Facebook, follow up on the comments people leave behind. Do the same thing with Twitter. Build up your social-media relationships with your customers, so that when you blog about something that catches their eye, or share some important insights on your Facebook wall, your customers will copy your link onto their own pages, share the link with friends, or even retweet to their followers.   When you reach new customers through the relationships you foster via social media, you’re closing that advertising gap between you and more business.

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