How to optimize social networking
1. Create exclusive offers for fans and followers. Don’t just post a blanket notice of a sale. Both Facebook and Twitter have different methods to go about marketing yourself. For instance, Twitter is more attuned to “raw”, up-to-the-minute thoughts and instant posts. Twitter centers on “what are you doing RIGHT now” – so it’s naturally more suited to impulse buys and quick coupon announcements. You’re also limited in the number of characters you can post – so your tweet should be short and direct. Facebook lets you include a reasonable amount of text, plus images or videos while letting users “like” or comment below it. Facebook marketing is more about the company interacting with its fans in a more leisurely, community building forum.
2. Create community and foster a personal touch. Social networking makes it both easy and valuable to communicate with customers on a regular basis. Using a comment management system such as Disqus lets you seek out comments about your company from other sites, such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, and display those comments with your feedback. Other services such as LikeItShareIt enable customers to share products and promotions from your site with their friends. You may also gather analytical data about people who both liked and shared the site with others, including their age, location, and sex – powerful data that can be used to segment your database.
3. Make research-friendly and fun. Collecting user data or testing new options doesn’t have to be a chore. Fans and followers may be cautious about giving personal information, but they won’t hesitate to fill out a poll, participate in a forum, or take a quiz. To increase fans and followers, consider hosting sweepstakes or contest and choose a winner based on entries. Notice how SurfStitch uses product releases, contests, and updates to build a legion of loyal fans on their Facebook page.
4. Create a viral Facebook spp. Facebook Apps, such as quizzes, Top 5s, gifts, and coupons are all the rage. Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in Computer Science to create your own app. Sites like FanAppz.com give you a starting point for building an app. Once you have the framework and general content, you can use ECommerce Partners’ Flash design services to give your app a custom look and feel that’s branded to your company and style.
5. Upload photos frequently. Words can only say so much – but pictures can grab the immediate attention of your fans. Facebook allows your company to easily upload albums that can be viewable to anyone visiting your fan page. Jildor Shoes optimizes their page’s content by posting albums of their new trendy collections or of Jildor hosted events. Fans can also “like” or post comments under photos which can give you a better idea of what products are popular.
6. Include social networking links throughout your site and promotions. You may already know about putting Facebook and Twitter links on your website, but what about including them in your newsletter, in your blog’s RSS feed, at the bottom of your email correspondence, or in the Contact Us section of your website? Including social networking links at every point of contact greatly increases the chance that visitors will follow you for updates.
7. Let your buyers promote for you. Encourage customers to ReTweet your Twitter and blog posts. Take advantage of Twitter tools such as the “Tweet button” which allows users to tweet posts from your Website or blog onto their Twitter page without navigating away from your site. When enough people are tweeting a similar post-it can become a trending topic which will appear on the right side of all Twitter homepages. Make sure to post links to things that are interesting, incredibly limited, or helpful in some way. In addition, many people use #hashtags to search for Twitter. Including them in your tweets, such as #coupons or #deals can grab the attention of Twitter users looking for bargains.
8. Give customers a place on your pages. Allowing customers to post photos on your Facebook page, for instance, can be a great start to building a following. For instance, you could start a contest for the most creative use of the company logo or product. This idea alone can create some incredibly fun and viral participation with your fans.
9. Welcome testimonials. If a buyer leaves a comment about how great your product is, whether it’s on Twitter or Facebook, make sure to highlight on your own Twitter account, or by allowing comments on your Facebook page. Remember that social networking communication is a two-way street – and fans value the personal interaction that they have with their favorite companies and brands.
10. Make promotions available exclusively to fans and friends. Everyone loves an exclusive deal. Give customers 24-hour coupons exclusively through Twitter, or create a discount ad that Facebook users can click and print to bring in-store for extra savings. Followers appreciate that the companies value their business, and they’ll repay the favor by placing an order.
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