By Claudia Bruemmer
2010 was the year of social media in terms of growth and adoption. It was also the year that Facebook and Twitter rocked the web with “like” buttons and tweets. Facebook got more traffic than Google, and people spent more time networking than searching. That’s why wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers need to get started with social networking. Here’s what you need to start: (1) a corporate blog, (2) a LinkedIn profile and company page, (3) a Facebook profile and company page and (4) a Twitter account.
When using social media sites, it’s important to first spend some time getting to know the community and learning the unwritten rules of the game. When you participate in social networking, it’s also best to give information as well as taking it. The more valuable you are to the community the more you’ll get in return. It’s important to know which social networking sites are important for your business and then pick and choose those you participate in based on those aligned with the wholesale industry. Below are the four best ways to start using social media for increasing your online exposure.
1. Drive Traffic to Your Blog with Twitter. A company blog provides a valuable platform for further explaining your company’s vision to customers. This social media outlet is good for providing content relevant to your products or services. You can drive a lot of traffic to your blog through Twitter, a microblogging social media site. Once you open a Twitter account, you can post updates in 140 characters or less. You don’t have to say much, just write a short teaser sentence including a link to a related blog post.
It’s important to add or follow other people on Twitter first, and then they will reciprocate. Find your favorite Twitter profile, view whom that person is following and follow them. Follow people and hopefully, they’ll follow you. When you gather followers through Twitter, the information you share can build your exposure not only to them, but to their followers as well.
1. Use Twitter to Monitor Industry News. Twitter is the fastest way to distribute your company news around the world instantly. It is used by world leaders, entertainers and celebrities to communicate with their followers in real time and is faster than any communication media. You can use Twitter to monitor and participate in conversations about wholesale or retail products and the wholesale industry in general. In addition to the ability to gather and share information based on what consumers are saying about your products or company, you can also learn what industry experts are doing on Twitter. You can use Monitter, a free keyword monitoring service on Twitter, to track conversations relevant to your business and respond when appropriate. For instance, if someone tweets about a customer service problem or is looking for a specific product, you can monitor for those keywords and become a resource for those consumers on Twitter, leading to mutually beneficial relationships.
2. Start a Company Facebook Page or Store. JC Penney was the first to open a Facebook store in December. Facebook offers a robust platform for creating and sharing content, as well as an outlet to connect with your customers in a community atmosphere. Facebook pages can be equipped with interactive content to create deep customer interactions. This is another way brands can engage customers with multiple touch points.
Contests, videos, photos, applications and educational content (like smart buying tips) are great ways to announce your Facebook presence. Big retailers like Best Buy and Sears also have ecommerce platforms on Facebook. This commitment from major brands tells you there’s a lot of consumer interest in Facebook ecommerce.
3. Use LinkedIn to Recruit and Ask/Answer Business Questions. American business recruits on LinkedIn. A Jobvite 2009 survey on how employers use social networks to recruit reported 83% of respondents use social networks, 95% use LinkedIn, 59 percent use Facebook and 42 percent use Twitter. LinkedIn has over 90 million users from over 200 countries worldwide. You can create a company page on its popular jobs subsection where you can showcase your executive team, promote open positions and market your company’s brand and culture.
You can also use LinkedIn Questions & Answers to learn marketing tactics for promoting your product/service. Wholesalers with a new product may want to try different tactics for customer acquisition and/or introducing the product to the public. Ask a question on LinkedIn Q&A to gauge opinion or gain insights on what other experts in your field think
of or have learned on your topic. The feedback and commentary is often helpful for decision making, especially on questions related to new product features. This is quick and dirty informal market research, albeit unscientific, but opinions are based on experience and can be very helpful.
In closing, 2010 was the year that social networking became one of the best ways to increase your online exposure. Wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers can get started with social networking in 2011 by starting a corporate blog, posting a LinkedIn profile and company page, posting a Facebook profile and company page, and opening a Twitter account.
|Claudia Bruemmer was the first Managing Editor of ClickZ (1998-2001) and also served as an editor for Search Engine Watch. Claudia has contributed articles to iMediaConnection and Search Engine Guide. She authored a course in Fundamentals of Search Engine Marketing for the Search Engine Marketing Organization (SEMPO) and edited SEMPO’s Advanced Search Engine Marketing courses. Claudia currently is Chief Editor of the TopTenWholesale Newsroom and also freelances in writing and editing online at www.claudiabruemmer.com.|