Posted by Brian Berg Google+
We all know there are hundreds of ways to incorporate your existing customers into the fold of your social media marketing campaign, but for those who are short on time and, this list is likely your best first steps.
1. Upload your customer emails to LinkedIn and invite them all to join your business profile.
LinkedIn provides a simple but effective way to upload email addresses of your existing customer list, and then invite them to become a friend. Within your LinkedIn account and within Contacts on the top menu bar, click on Add Contacts. You can simply paste your customers email addresses into the box provided (separated by comma’s). LinkedIn will then send an invitation to this audience immediately. Bear in mind that LinkedIn does not want you to attempt to link with people you don’t know.
The system works well but will prohibit future use if the upload results in a low acceptance rate. Abuse of this system can cause problems with future use and potentially ban you from LinkedIn all together. On the same page, you can also provide your email and email password to have the system search your entire email database and invite matched friendships. Facebook also does this. It’s simple and quick.
2. Don’t have email addresses of your customers? Append email addresses to your customer list, then follow #1.
Appending email addresses is a fairly straight forward process. So long as you have your customer name, postal address, postal city, state, and zip code in a digital format (such as MS Excel) you can have email addresses appended to the file. The first step to this process is finding a match of a larger, more complete, database that includes both postal and email address data.
Where there is a match on the name and postal address information, a permission email is sent to the address. This permission pass asks for permission to send emails from time to time. Should the recipient “opt-out”, the email is not provided to you. Those emails not opted-out are delivered to you.
Of course, BB Direct can help you with your email appending to both business as well as consumer postal address data. It’s simple and quick.
3. Include a “follow me” to your email signature on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Including a “follow me” on your e-mail signature for your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media networking pages can be an excellent way for you to reach out to clients and others that may have not been aware of your businesses presence on the social web.
The process of adding social network icons to your email signature can vary by your email service provider, but remains a simple task across the board. With many businesses using Microsoft Outlook to send and receive emails we will concentrate on providing how to information for that forum, although if you use a different type of email provider detailed instructions can easily be obtained through a search engine such as Google or Bing.
To add social network icons to your email signature on Outlook you first must locate the icons that you need. The following websites provide free downloads of many different styles of social network icons:
Once you have located and downloaded the icons that best fit your businesses needs you are ready to begin formatting your signature on Outlook.
To begin you will need to open your Microsoft Outlook and go to the tools drop down menu and select options. Next, you will need to click on the mail format tab and select signatures. Once you have been sent to the signatures and stationary window you will need to click new.
The next step of setting up social network icons in your email is to name your new signature and click ok. You will now be prompted to enter the text portion of your signature such as name, company, position, and contact information followed by clicking on the picture icon. Once you have clicked on the picture icon you will be directed to the insert picture window. In this window you will be allowed to set up all your icons and appropriate links.
First you will need to navigate to the folder on your computer where you have the icons saved. Select the first social network icon you would like displayed and click insert. Next, you will need to link the URL of you social network page to the icon. This can be done by clicking on the icon that you would like to link and selecting insert hyperlink icon. In the address bar you will want to type the URL of the social networking site that the icon corresponds with. Be sure to remember to enter your specific URL and not just the URL of the social media site.
For example associates at BB Direct that are looking to link their email icon to Twitter would put our distinct Twitter URL
(http://twitter.com/bb_direct), not Twitter’s homepage URL (http://www.twitter.com) as this will direct people right to Twitter’s homepage and not your specific page. You will need to repeat these steps (from clicking on the picture icon to be directed to the insert picture window to entering your URL) for each of your social media site icons.
Once you have added all the icons to your signature click save, but DO NOT click okay. You will first need to make sure that your email address is shown in the email account window. If it is, then use the drop down to select the name of the new signature you have just created it. You will want to select new messages and replies and forwards and click ok. You have now set up your signature and you are well on your way to directing the people that you communicate with via email to your businesses social networking sites. It’s simple and quick.
4. Use Hootsuite.com or Nutshell.com to automatically add your blog posts to your Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media sites.
Hootsuite is by far the most popular of these types of programs and is currently being used by companies such as Fox, People Magazine, and the National Basketball Association. Hootsuite quickly and easily updates most of your social networking pages at once. Best of all, it is free to sign up to become a member of Hootsuite.
For example, to sign up for Hootsuite you must fill out a very short application and confirm your e-mail and you are ready to begin. You will be prompted to enter the information on your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Ping.fm, Wordpress, MySpace, and Foursquare accounts such as log-in and password.
Once you have linked all these social networking sites to your Hootsuite account you are ready to begin posting. At the top of your Hootsuite dashboard you will notice a text box. This is where you will enter and deploy your social networking site updates. From this dashboard text box you are not only able to enter your text, but any multimedia (such as videos or photos), shrink down your URL (for micro blogging sites such as Twitter that limit content by number of characters), and schedule posts to be submitted at a later date. Also, from your text box you are able to select all or any of your social networking sites to which you would like to have your updates posted.
Posting to all your social networking sites is not the only benefit of using Hootsuite. Hootsuite can also be used to track statistics such as which of your links are popular on Twitter, where your audience comes from, and the time of day they click on your links. At the moment, Hootsuite is undergoing major maintenance and upgrades to make the posting process easier and continually more efficient. It’s simple and quick.
5. Send solo email campaign in press release form to your existing customer list with “seed” questions on your Social Media sites.
Whether you use Constant Contact or another email service, you can send an email to all your customers and ask a “seed” question that stimulates a conversation among those interested in participating. Segmenting your customers into commonalities such as product purchase, geographic location, or age and income helps with making questions relevant. Offering a survey or seeded question with a link to your blog, social site, or corporate website helps conjure up interest in participation.
We all receive emails from our vendors, clubs, and associations. Many times these emails lose value because they become routine. Break that routine with original and relevant content. Pointing customers to join your social media group and learn about something of interest breaks up the routine and stimulates interest for the customer group, while offering your sales team an opportunity to talk further. It’s simple and quick.
6. Start a Wiki Page
Creating a wiki or Wikipedia page for your business can be beneficial for breaking into the social media marketing scene as well as your SEO. A wiki is defined as a collaborative website or post that can be directly edited by those that have access to it. In layman’s terms a wiki page is almost like an encyclopedia entry, but instead of the content being written by Encyclopedia Britannica it is created, edited, and maintained by the readers of the wiki.
Pages that host wiki’s such as Wikipedia go beyond to make sure that their entries are relevant, educational, and not promotional, but there are ways around this. If your business has a website that is considered a resource in your field you are best to search Wikipedia for a topic that is objectively covered on your website. If there isn’t a page for the topic, then you can create a wiki page, link it to your businesses website, and gain SEO benefits.
Once you have determined the term or topic that you would like to cover on your Wikipedia page you should be sure to add particular components to your page. First, you should be sure that you are placing your Wikipedia page in at least one relevant category. To find relevant categories to place your entry in you should search similar topics.
Once you locate the similar pages, copy and paste their category code onto your new page. Also, be sure that your page remains objective as far as tone and content go. Wikipedia will remove any pages that are promotional or contain sales talk. Wikipedia has always stated they their site is not considered to be a dictionary, so a short definition with one link to your businesses website just won’t fly and you can count on your page being removed.
While it is okay to start your page of with a short definition, it should be used as a jumping off point to fill the rest of your wiki with relevant content and at least four to five references. While some wiki pages show citation of their references at the end of their article, sometimes Wikipedia will consider this as spam and remove your page. I would suggest citing any sources within the content using links to the citations webpage. Also, this method should be used to link other pages within Wikipedia to your page.
Take for example you are writing a wiki about social media marketing and you mention Wordpress in your content. You should link your wiki page to Wordpress’ wiki page. This linking is extremely simple and can be accomplished by put the term you would like to link to in double brackets, for example [[WordPress]]. Doing so will automatically create an intra –Wikipedia link and benefits not only your Wiki, but the entire Wikipedia community.
Finally, people are going to edit your page. This is the basis of Wikipedia… people coming together to create the best possible content on a matter. Sometimes you will not agree with the editing that has been made, but you are able to discuss and dispute the matter with the individual that has made the edit. If you are unable to come to an agreement with the other party the matter can be turned over to an administrator that will attempt to make a final decision. Please use the above guidelines to get your business out there on the social web and create a great wiki page.
Remember commercial websites can be used a source for a wiki, but if you are linking to a commercial page you are best to link to a reference page that the citation comes from, instead of your businesses home page. If done correctly and your business is able to keep your webpage as a citation the benefit will be tremendous. Not only can your business expect to receive traffic from targeted searches, but also a super link for SEO efforts, especially on Google. It’s simple and quick.
The word “Marketing” is often thought to describe advertising activities exclusive to new business growth, but bear in mind that enriching the relationship of your existing customers is critical to your businesses survival. Your Social Media Marketing Strategy should, at a minimum, enrich the relationship with your current customers and followers through meaningful conversation. Getting your customers and prospects to become advocate agents, takes delivering consistent value over time. Building brand was once about saying good things about you.
With the advent of social media, building brand has become bringing value to the market and having the market say good things about you. Our blog post will conclude with a short, simple but relevant, quote from Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254–184 BC), “Your wealth is where your friends are.”