Your business is using social media, but are you getting results?

Many businesses are using facebook and social media, but are they getting results?

Recently, MerchantCircle, which is an online network of local business owners, revealed that more local businesses are turning to Facebook and other social networking sites like Twitter, as a low-cost option for their marketing efforts.

The survey, conducted by MerchantCircle, with 8,500 random small and local business owners across the U.S, revealed that 70% of these business owners are actively marketing their business through Facebook. That’s a huge number! But the information unknown is, how is “actively marketing” defined? Also, the study is showing that 70% of businesses on MerchantCircle are using facebook. But MerchantCircle is a form of social media for business, so it would be interesting to know – what percentage of business owners on facebook, are not on MerchantCircle? Is it possible that users of MerchantCircle are more likely to be engaged in facebook?

Another study suggests that about 48% of businesses in the US are on Facebook. According to the BIA Kelsey’s 2010 Local Commerce Monitor, the use of social media by small and medium-sized businesses has risen dramatically over the past year.

Being “on facebook” and actually using facebook to it’s fullest potential, are two completely different things. Many business owners have heard that they, “Need to get their businesses on facebook”. So they open a facebook account, post a few pictures, connect with a few friends, and now they are “on facebook”. Unfortunately, most people stop shortly thereafter and then go around considering themselves to be “on facebook”. It’s a great start. But so far, useless. Social marketing is less about marketing and more about being social. The days of placing an ad in the paper have changed. Your ad is now interactive. People can ask it questions (and they expect a response). Your “interactive ad” can be shared by you and by others and it will be shared if it adds value. You can communicate with customers and clients like never before, but make no mistake, being “on facebook” will not bring anyone running to you. You have to engage them. Find a way to connect and add value. There is no way around this. In order to be successful in social media you must engage in a dialogue with your friends and costumers.

What makes social media so popular? For one thing it’s free to join the social media world. Another reason is the connection it brings with it. They are real connections with real people. Yet it seems that business owners are missing this point. It’s not advertising. It’s sharing. And it’s the only way to make social media work.

With around half of US businesses on facebook, there is still tremendous untapped potential in the world of social networking, both from businesses not on facebook, and from those businesses that are registered but are not getting the most out of their social networking. But how can businesses improve their social media? And how can they get started?

For business owners interested in getting started with facebook, the first place to start is facebook.com — open a free profile and start learning how to use the system. There is a learning curve. The best resource for learning about facebook on your own will be the whats called the “facebook help center”. The help center is filled with tremendous amounts of information and, at times, it may feel like information overload. But by using the search feature and lists of categories you will find the answers to all your questions. After you open your profile and start using facebook, you will want to create what’s called a facebook “page”. A page is an identity for your business on facebook. A profile is personal, and a page is for business. There are several differences between profiles and pages. The four major differences are illustrated in the passage below.

(Taken from “The insider’s guide to viral marketing” which is a free publication created by facebook.)

“After logging in to your user profile, you can create and administer a Facebook Page for your business——and you can easily invite colleagues to manage it with you. The differences between user profiles and Facebook Pages help you protect your own privacy as a user while maximizing publicity for your business:

1) Facebook Pages are visible to everyone
Even people who aren’’t logged in to Facebook can see Facebook Pages. A user
profile, on the other hand, can only be seen by the user’’s friends and others in her networks.

2) ␣Facebook Pages can have an unlimited number of fans
Regular users can have up to 5,000 friends.

3) Users can automatically support your Facebook Page without confirmation
User profiles have to approve all incoming friend requests.

4) ␣You can send Updates to all your fans
User profiles cannot message all their friends at once.”

Once you have your business page set up, its time to get to work. Start by downloading the free facebook marketing manuals.

Learn how to best engage your customers with social media and you can have tremendous results.

Darren Waddell, Vice President of marketing at MerchantCircle said:

“Online marketing continues to be a challenge for most local businesses, and many merchants are working with very small budgets and almost no marketing resources. The marketing methods we see gaining the most traction are therefore the ones that offer merchants simplicity, low costs and immediate results.”

Facebook is an attractive and cost-effective marketing tool for most local business owners.

With Facebook becoming more than just a social networking site, it has proven itself as the latest channel of online marketing and will continue to do so. its not too late to get started with social media marketing! Grow your business by engaging with your customers.

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How to use facebook for my business

If you are a business owner interested in using facebook to engage customers, this article will get you started in how to use facebook for your business.
Recently facebook launched a service called “pages”. Pages is for business owners who want to promote their brand, service or product. Pages are easy to set up and offer the ability publish as much content and information as you want, while engaging potential customers, and developing a brand loyalty. And, it’s completely free.

Getting started with facebook business pages –
If you have a personal facebook account that’s good. Even if you are not very active on facebook, the fact that you are signed up is a good start. Chances are, if you already have a personal facebook profile you’ve probably connected with a few friends already. And even if you haven’t, don’t let that stop you. Log-in to your facebook account and scroll to the bottom of the home page. You will see a link that says, create a page. Or just navigate directly to
http://www.facebook.com/page – once there, you will be able to create your business page.

If you don’t have a personal facebook profile, you’ll want to create one. It’s free and takes less than 3 or 4 minutes. Once you have your personal account set up, you are now able to create a “page” for your business. To get started just go to www.facebook.com and create an account.

Once you are logged into facebook you are ready to create your page. Starting a page is very easy and can be completed in a short time. The real challenge is in creating a page that’s actually engaging and interesting, while keeping the content up to date and relevant. Click on the “create a page” link at the bottom of the home screen.

Follow the steps for creating a facebook business page to start the process. Once your page is created you will see a screen like in the image below. This is where you can add information about your company and begin editing your business page. Notice steps 1-3 in the image below. These steps are a good place to being creating your presence on facebook.

As seen above, step one is to add a photo. Photos are a huge part of social networking. Sharing with friends and fans will be the basis for success in social media marketing. And be candid, it has been proven that people respond better to a more, real photo. As opposed to models in awkward poses, a photo of an actual business owner or associate smiling from behind the desk or counter is much more engaging than some stock photo of no one in particular. Be real and share!

Step two is adding a summary about your business. Follow the image above and click the “edit info” button and you will be able to accurately describe and categorize your business inside of the facebook network and to anyone who comes to your page.

Step three as indicated from the facebook marketing manual is to click the “edit page” link in the top right hand corner and begin to provide greater detail about your business and what you do exactly, how you help people, etc.

Once the steps have been taken to start using facebook for your business, you are on your way to using social media in your marketing efforts. There is still much work to do, but creating your facebook page is the first step. Once you have completed the three steps as shown in this article, you can move on to promoting your facebook page on the web and through other social networks.

You can save time and effort by having Social Networkz manage your social media marketing.

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Social Networkz is for social networking

Social networking is for everyone these days. More and more people are getting involved in social networking than ever before. It’s no longer just for individuals who are looking to connect with friends. Many businesses are finding that in order to grow and be seen in today’s social Internet, they need to be engaging in social networking. Social Networkz is here to help people learn about social networking like twitter and facebook and to build their network and their business online.

Social Networkz is the the place to go when you are interested in learning about social networking.

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