To attract fans, businesspeople have discovered blogging, social media and public relations are time consuming and are an ongoing work in progress.
It takes huge amounts of time — to plan, implement innovations and continuously fine-tune — to succeed.
Moreover, it might surprise you to learn that in order to lay a solid foundation for success, you must first evaluate your bricks and mortar location.
Save time and money for the long-term by making certain all phases of your operation are ready.
Otherwise, you’ll find you’re wasting money if your business is not a magnet for fans.
First impressions are important. You won’t get a second chance. So make sure your employees, office or store, and Web site create a favorable first impression. That means cleanliness and organization, and professional customer service.
If all you do in customer service, practice an attitude of service and gratitude for the opportunity to serve customers.
In every communication with prospects or customers, use “Thank you” instead of “Have a nice day.”
It’s vital to understand the emotional-buying motives of customers. Pay attention to how your customers are treated by your frontline people. Discretely call your business as a mystery shopper would to hear whether your customers are greeted with friendliness and professionalism.
Check out your Web site. Is it truly customer friendly – attractive, convenient and logical?
OK, so now you’re ready to move onto blogging, social media and related tools. Whether you have one already or anticipate blogging, a good blog is an opportunity for growth. It provides added value in content to provide useful information in a variety of channels, if marketed correctly.
You’ll get stronger Internet prominence, recognition for your thought leadership, and new revenue. By the way, there are good reasons why B2B marketers like content marketing.
Actually, for a well-written blog that takes time for research, development, editing and promotion, I prefer another term, e.g. analysis, insights or commentary. But for this discussion, let’s stay with the universal term, blogging.
If you’re not a good writer, you can outsource your blogging with a quality provider.
Make certain you take every precaution about security, and use a reputable outside Web hosting company to give you an added layer of security. You don’t want your blog or Web site to be compromised – hacked or invaded by viruses. The search engines will take action that will embarrass your blog with warning flags.
For most small to medium-size businesses in search-engine optimization (SEO), a blog should be part of your Web site. Otherwise, you’ll dilute your site’s online prominence and Google page rank. Use effective SEO strategies for a No.1 rated blog.
If you’re unfamiliar or unsure about blogging, read the blogs of experts. Like you would for any other initiative or project, do a SWOT analysis. Determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Ask questions of experts and customers.
Solicit ideas and help from your staff and close associates.
Find needs of your target customers and plan to fill them with topic ideas. Then, set goals and timelines.
Successful blogs operate off a schedule. You’ll develop a more-loyal following by developing a schedule on which they can depend.
Pay close attention to your choice of key words and tags.
Publish well-written guest blogs of experts. But do not publish without permission.
Insert informative videos.
Pay attention to your goals. You’ll achieve them with an excellent editorial plan, and strategic use of key phrases and words.
Basics in Social Media
On your blogs and Web site pages, insert social networking widgets. This will make it easier for readers to share your content, and boost your traffic.
Develop permanent customer relationships by humanizing your social media. Good relationships start by listening. Take the time to do it right – focus on the needs of your customers with strategic headlines and messages.
Social media succeeds if it creates a dialogue, not a monologue. Show your interest by congratulating others and invite feedback. Encourage your employees to do the same. The top three in B2B are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Lay the groundwork to turn your customers and associates into Centers of Influence – your brand evangelists.
Familiarity breeds friendships. Be consistent. Use the same picture over and over.That goes for your branding slogan and logo.
Simplify your logo so it’s memorable enough to tell your story, but can be used as a 16 x 16 pixel favicon on the Internet. It is an image-builder on the search line of browsers.
For ongoing success in our dynamic digital age, use a mentor and fine-tune your social media.
Online press releases
Harness the value of Internet press releases. Plus, you might get lucky. For example, it was my press release (Expert Warns About Starbucks WIFI Security, Provides Tips) about my business-coaching article that caught the eye of a Yahoo writer — three months after I wrote it.
He included a link to my press release — 20,000 people immediately read the press release and most were motivated to click on the link to the original article on my portal’s article. The links from those readers also enhanced my portal’s online presence.
Don’t forget submissions to the news media. Even though most young people are increasingly using social media for information, authoritative news outlets are still relevant.
By using these basic suggestions, you’ll be enabling your blogging, social media and PR work to create fans. Good luck!
“Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.”