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The Business Forum Journal


Understanding Social Media For Business

By George Carson


We are constantly being hit with different social media networks asking us to �Join�, �Sign-Up�, �Become a Member�, �Register Today�. Soon after you get involved, you get lost in your daily business activity and do not know which social media will help your business. Or you are confused and possibly wondering how to get the most from being part of this new form of communication.

It requires time, and patience. Nothing will happen overnight. So if you want to take advantage of this explosion, then take note. I will give you some helpful tips to get your business into the social media game and how to benefit from it.

One reason to use social media � Recruit Candidates.

You may not be looking to hire at this time, but here are a few things to help you find a good candidate using social media. Let�s look at some statistics:

� 14.4 million people have used social media to find a job

� 56% of HR Professionals are using social media to source candidates

� 24% of managers found candidate personality & fit from a social profile

� Over 89% of all companies have used social media networks for recruiting in 2011

� 1 of 3 employers rejected candidates based on something they found about them online

� 45% of companies are using Twitter to find candidates

� 80% use Linkedin to find talent for their company, while 50% use Facebook

Pinterest is a new social media network. Unlike Twitter or a blog, Pinterest is entirely a visual network. If you have used Facebook for your business, then consider adding Pinterest. Before I go much further, let me make an important point. To become successful with a business in social media, you need to be informative. Do not use a hard sell. Social media is just as it is defined. It is a �social� way to communicate. Offer potential customers facts and images of how your service/product can improve their life. Again, get rid of the �sell copy� and use dialogue similar to a conversation.

For example, if you own an RV company, or are a food manufacturer, or even a food retailer, show pictures of your product in use that your customers could relate to. You could create a �board� and post how other people are using your products. Invite customers to share their experiences. This is one way how social media will grow your business by getting people involved.

Let us focus on Pinterest. Here are a few tips that can be applied to many other social networks:

� Add a �Follow� and/or �Pin It� button to your Pinterest

� Encourage customers to repin photos you or other customers are sharing

� Get higher rankings with SEO�s by having �Do Follow� links

� Make Pinterest a focus group for your products. People love to share their likes so start a discussion and collect the information to improve your product or know why people like it

� Use hash tags, like you would in Twitter. This allows you to place keywords in your descriptions

Since we mentioned Twitter consider using these tips to build a solid business account:

� Start by using Twitter Search to see if you company name, or competitors name are being used

� Add a photo of your main product or service so people know visually what you are about

� Start discussions regarding what your customers are talking about

� Mention something interesting, a unique fact about your company

� Share links of other interesting topics in your industry

� Keep the discussions friendly, share non-business topics

� Ask questions rather than answering them

� Have more than one person at your company to write tweets, do this daily

� Follow people in your industry, and potential customers that have similar likes

� When you do talk about your product/service, make it useful. Give links to further complete a discussion or solution to a problem

It should go without saying, but it is important to be involved with discussion groups in Linkedin. Share your knowledge with others, or start a topic. This is another way to learn if people will respond to a new product/service you want to add to your business.

Just like a website should have good and fresh content to rank high with SEO�s, your social media content will have an impact on your company and the search engines.

The Bottom line. Social Media networks can be very useful in building traffic to your website and increase sales while creating a branding campaign.

George Carson is a Fellow of The Business Forum Institute  and he has been active in the advertising arena since 1973.  He has successfully developed unique concepts, programs, designs and corporate campaigns for a variety of local, regional and national accounts.  He founded his own advertising and publicity firm in 1980. Since that time, he has provided the marketing and publicity services to a wide range of clients including: Jeep Corporation, Sir Speedy Corporation, Yamaha Sports, Regal Medial Group, Bell Brand Foods, Laura Scudder�s, CBS radio, Uniden LPGA Golf Tournament, the City of Orange, Universal Studios, Snak King, ASICS sporting goods, La Reina Family Brands, Partition Specialties Inc., MVP RV, Yamaha Music Schools, Encryption Solutions, Inc., McMahon�s RV, amongst others.  As a designer in Los Angeles, California, George co-founded a design studio where he created materials for a variety of television shows and motion pictures: including: �The Sting�, �Kojak�, and �Lombard and Gable�. He also developed campaigns for Kenny Rogers, the Osmonds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Budget Rent-A-Car, Transamerica and Occidental Life. George holds a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design with minors in English and Photography from Cal State University of Long Beach.

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