5 Social Media Tools For Small Businesses

We found this great article that we had to share. We know some businesses are still hesitant with social media, so maybe this will help!

1. NameChk. Early in 2009, Nielson Online released a report stating that social networking was, for the first time ever, more popular than email. According to the study, almost 67 percent of web users accessed online communities in 2009 compared to 65 percent of web users who accessed email. Since this milestone, companies have launched even more social networking websites. Step one is to choose a username on these websites. At NameChk.com, you can find out what names are available. This is a quick way to secure your company’s presence on the top social media sites, even if you’re not ready to use all of them just yet.

2.Twitter. Twitter, which allows users to share 140-character messages online, was the social media darling of 2009. This year, one of the web’s most popular tools continues to be a must for any small business. When signing up on Twitter.com, make sure you do a few things to ensure your success. Customize your Twitter background with your company’s brand. Commit to tweeting, which is the verb used to describe sending messages on Twitter, at least a couple of times a day. Subscribe, or in Twitter’s terms “follow,” your existing customers and any potential customers.

3.bit.ly. In August 2009, eMarketer.com reported that only 16 percent of professionals engaging in social media measured the return on investment of their social media programs. As soon as you launch any online marketing initiatives, use a tool like bit.ly to track your link traffic. Although bit.ly is most often used on Twitter to shorten long domain names, these same shortened names can be distributed on other social media websites. With bit.ly, you can track your traffic based on time and date clicked, and geographic location. Keep a tally of these stats in a spreadsheet, where you should also record community involvement and visits on your other online sites.

4.Wordpress. The first blog appeared online in the late 1990s—making blogging one of the oldest social tools on the web. Although it’s an oldie, a blog is still a critical part of your social media strategy. Think of your blog like a jumping-off point for all of your digital marketing. WordPress is a content management platform that makes blog publishing easy. Unless you have someone in-house to set up your WordPress blog, you’ll want to choose the hosted solution at WordPress.com since it doesn’t require any manual setup. (Although I’m focusing on WordPress as a blogging tool, it is also an excellent platform for your entire website).

5.Facebook. With 350 million users worldwide and 1.6 million active “pages” on Facebook, this social media tool is a must. Sign up for a free Page, which will make it easy for your small business to share a public profile with the world. Unlike a personal account, a Facebook page doesn’t require as much maintenance. For example, you don’t need to accept friends (or fans) on a Page—it happens automatically.

Once you start to use these tools, assign someone within your organization to act as the community manager (if you’re a one-man or one-woman business, this manager will be you!). This person will control your online voice. With all social media sites, you get back from them what you put into them. In other words, it’s critical to start, follow, and take part in ongoing conversations. Finally, track your successes and take small steps to grow your social media presence as required.

Source: Open Forum via Guy Kawasaki

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