I get lots of questions from different people on “How can all this social media stuff like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Squidoo, Digg, YouTube, Blogs help me?”

So lets first define Social Media, with Wikipedia’s Definition: Social Media is a form of internet marketing which seeks to achieve branding and marketing communication goals through the participation in various social media including writing content that is remarkable, unique, and newsworthy. Lastly Social Media utilizes social networking and user-generated content platforms to promote a product, service or content.

Now that being said…necessary tools for Social Media are bookmarks, blogs, forums, podcasts, networks, communities, wikis. Important and versatile sites are places like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Myspace, Digg, Stumbleupon and Squidoo.

The number one point to remember is this

..Due to Social media marketing being so easy to implement and it being so affordable, it is of significant importance to small businesses.

So where do I start?

By a long shot, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and Facebook were the top four social media tools used by marketers, with Twitter leading the pack. All the other social media tools paled in comparison to these top four. Download Social Media Marketing Industry Instagram volgers kopen report.

How do I measure the effectiveness of social media?

A significant 81% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated exposure for their businesses. Check out Social Media Marketing Report. Improving traffic and growing lists was the second major benefit, followed by building new partnerships. A rise in search engine rankings is also an evident increase, as well as a reduction in your overall marketing expenses. Now that is some GOOD news…if your not involved in Social Media Marketing…then it’s TIME!

StartupNation does make a valid point when it says that many small businesses have failed to embrace the opportunities in social media marketing.

If that’s you, then speak with an Internet marketing consultant or do your own research of how social media marketing can help you. It would be beneficial for you and your company.

Last year in February, an article came out on “Social Media Will Change Your Business”

It’s a good read with some great links for blog writing. One of the paragraph talks about “grabbing you by the collar, and shaking you into action” and that was written LAST YEAR! All in all there is some important information for newbies and veterans alike. The story of the Google employee that got fired is one of them…because it shows how fast social media can work.

Another way Social Media can help your business is the customer relationship.
As a business you would be interested in creating a dialog, direct and immediate feedback benefits, and to learn directly from your customers on what has been successful and what areas need focus and enhancement. Sharing content is the real power and the advantage of using social media. Businesses can keep their online community up to date with news, events and what the business has to offer.

Ezine @rticles has some great thoughts on Blogging, Relationship Marketing, Customer Voice and Social Marketing. Customer Voice is a huge one this year which is where Twitter or blogs have been the most efficient.

Customers want voice in your business…give you feedback.

Relationship Marketing

Is also top in 2009 as a tool to build loyalty, along with a timely response, or you can have a blog and a Twitter account as these all have interaction with the customer. These also allow you to create a personality for your business as well as develop an image as a forward-thinking company that is responsive. Responses include Tweeting back on Twitter, a Facebook response, sending a personable card, thank-you card and a quick thinking of you card. A top of the line online card system that is extremely affordable and saves you time and effort is SendoutCards. The fastest, most affordable Relationship Marketing tool online with over 13,000 cards available along with gifts and gift cards. You write it, they print it, stuff it, stamp it and mail it for you. Can’t beat that deal!

Facebook for Business!..

Yes you read that correctly…Facebook for business is very real…read this artlcle: Facebook’s Latest Design Update Helps Businesses part of it reads “With the latest evolution, Facebook makes its service more valuable to businesses.”

Here’s another good one to check out: 30+ Apps for Doing Business on Facebook great read from Mashable The Social Media Guide.

What is LinkedIn? and why should I be a part of that?

If you’re running a small Internet business or have a regular brick-and-mortar business, “knowing” the right people and being able to ask and answer questions significant to your business will help you build your network with contacts. Someone you know in your line of business is already on LinkedIn. You just need to set up a profile, start introducing yourself around, join groups and discussions, start discussions with any questions, or answer discussions with your expertise in your area. What a wonderful way to reach beyond the limits of time and travel to someone else who is like minded and able to discuss important things, answer questions all in a few lines.

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