“Social media” refers to any website that is composed primarily of user-driven content. User-driven content includes content as wide-ranging as blog posts, Facebook conversations, user-written restaurant reviews, Wikipedia articles, and YouTube videos. Some of the most common social media sites that are also relevant to growing your small business are:
- Facebook: The reigning emperor of all social media sites. Businesses owe it to themselves to get an effective Facebook page going if they haven’t already.
- Yelp and Review Sites: Yelp has user-written reviews on virtually everything, from restaurants and hotels to pet stores and churches. Yelp is not the only site composed of user-written reviews, but it is probably the best-known.
- Digg and Social Bookmarking Sites: A social bookmarking site is a place where users tag or bookmark their favorite pages on the web. When an article or blog post garners some attention from social bookmarking fans, it can lead to a traffic explosion that few other methods can rival.
It Takes More than Having an Account
Keeping up with social media sites, not to mention managing them in a way that leads to more sales, is time-consuming and requires some marketing know-how. Using Facebook successfully, for example, takes far more than having an account and occasionally writing a post or two.
To get the most out of social media sites, you should coordinate them with your other marketing efforts, both online and offline. That means taking the time not only to research how to use social media sites effectively, but also carefully planning your marketing so that the information you provide potential customers with on social media sites matches and is well-timed with all your other promotional efforts.
Your Three Choices
When it comes to social media, you have three basic choices:
1. You could ignore it and do nothing, while your competitors slide ahead of you by using sites like Facebook and Yelp to drive local traffic to their website and store.
2. You could hire SMG to help you coordinate a professional, well-thought out social media strategy that integrates smoothly with your other marketing methods. Working with SMG means that you don’t have to spend valuable time learning everything there is to know about social media; SMG already has a team of experts who can design a social media plan that will work for your business.
3. You can learn how to run your own social media sites by purchasing SMG’s eBook and learn how to use social media in conjunction with other online marketing tools.
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