Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’

Enhancing client interactions through social media promotions

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Most every business these days have finally broken down and entered the social media arena in one way or another but just setting up an account is not enough to truly make the medium work for you. Sure, setting up the accounts alone can help you with SEO initially because every footprint you make in the name of your company can have a positive impact in that area but that is a short-lived benefit at best of you don’t commit. The only way to really engage clients and potential clients in this brave new world is through regular updates. These updates can take a great many forms from syndicated blog postings for outlets like Facebook or simple re-tweeting of relevant information on Twitter but one of the most effective ways of interacting is through the old school use of a simple promotion.

This Ain’t Your Mama’s Promotion

Historically promotions were done in the form of a drawing. Clients and potential clients would need to go to a physical location in order to put in their entry and this was a great way to not only bring in new potential clients and reconnect with existing clients but it offered the opportunity to actually speak with the people involved. Unfortunately as things evolved into direct mail and then to email, this interactive component was lost for the most part and participation waned. Enter Social Media. The use of social media in business is working to bring some of the interactivity of yore back to the silicone landscape of today’s hermit rich environment. True, you still may not physically see the client or potential client (at least initially) but it is allowing an actual conversation to begin rather than the unidirectional neediness that businesses were directing into the cyberspace ether.

Make it Work!

I can see some nodding heads. You are seeing the potential but you are not sure how to do the Tim Gunn and Make it Work. Well, that can be a little more tricky because what works for one type of business might not work for another but in general contests are pretty universal. Contests are the oldest marketing trick in the book because they work. You set up a scenario, ask people to enter and they can potentially win a prize. It is as simple as that. And they work because the only thing you want to get out of it is the interaction with the people who participate.

A Shamelessly Self-Serving Example

As an example of how I interact with my clients each year, I give you the 12 Days of Mas Chris. This is a contest that was born out of a friend of mine wanting me to post a picture of myself on Facebook wearing a Santa hat. Seems like a rather innocuous request but as with everything else in my life, I took it to the extreme and posted multiple. They were so well received by friends and clients that I began the 12 Days of Mas Chris in which I would post a new photo of myself in a different Santa/Holiday hat each day for twelve days (And from there it evolved to be me also being inserted into different TV or Movie scenes wearing a holiday hat).

After all 12 days have been posted, people are able to vote on their favorite photo once a day for 5-7 days. I do a first, second and third place drawing from the entries and award prizes to the lucky few. In this case I give first place $50 toward any upcoming work, second place $25 toward upcoming work and third place a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Along the way clients comment on the photos and it allows me the opportunity to interact even if I am not currently doing any work for them.

The contest is so successful that I have clients asking when it is going to start because they enjoy my ridiculous photos almost as much as driving around their local neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights and have incorporated the 12 Days of Mas Chris into their annual Christmas traditions.

I enjoy creating the photos almost as much as clients and friends seem to enjoy seeing them each year and I get the added benefit of the additional interaction so it is a Win/Win/Win.

The Moral

The moral of the story is that no matter what you decide to do whether it is a simple concept or a very complex one, running promotions through your social media outlets can have a very positive impact on your customer relationships and you might just have a little fun along the way.


Making your Facebook Fan Page work for you

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Ok, so you have joined the Social Media revolution. You have one of the basics covered with Facebook but just being out there only keeps you in the game. What you need now is to take the next step and find a way to enhance your position. Something that can help with online reputation management, brand visibility, and customer engagement all at the same time. So what is this glorious next step? Well, I can name that tune in one note… Optimization. Or to be more specific, optimizing your presence to maximize your reach. I know what you are thinking, “that sounds great, but it also sounds complicated”. Well, it is a lot simpler than you might think.

Here are some simple steps that you can take to optimize your online presence to help your new social media presence help you:

First things first. Before you do anything else you need to make sure that you are properly branded on your Facebook Fan Page. This is easy enough to do as long as you have at least 25 Fans already in place. Once you have 25 fans, Facebook will allow you to create a Vanity Name for your page so rather than you can have Big difference right? So instead of an accountants nightmare for a URL, you can make sure that people know who they are going to see and more importantly, they can then more easily tell their friends :). Just make sure to choose wisely when you setup your name because there are no takesy backsies. Once it is set you are stuck so make sure to come as close to your brand as possible when creating your ID.

It sounds pretty simple but you would be surprised how many companies do not take the simple step of connecting their website to their Facebook page. You have seen it on many sites and likely used it one some of them too. That little blue “F” icon that connects your brand to your new social network. You can do it any way you like and get as creative as you want with the art you use for the link (just make sure to brand it when you do by using your Facebook Page Vanity Name). Then just make sure to add it to as many of your pages as possible to increase the number of links to your page.

Now is where you bring the traffic by accumulating fans (or “Likes”) by driving traffic to your page. First up you can try some of the widgets that Facebook offers to display fan page content within your websites. You can follow it up with staying active on your page so that your content gets out there in the news feed. And if you are feeling really frisky you can even sponsor content or place ads on Facebook to help draw in new blood.

Once you are done setting up the basics for your Facebook traffic, it will be time to put the social media circle of life into motion letting Facebook show you some of its hidden potential by allowing it to drive traffic back to your regular website. Simply add Share and Like buttons to the nuggets of wisdom on your site and sit back and watch your brilliance be spread to the content hungry masses.

As your social media circle builds steam so to will the search engine links that help drive your organic SEO. And that organic SEO boost will in turn add more positive links for reputation management, which will also increase you brand visibility and customer engagement opportunities.

Now if you only had a blog things could be really awesome…

Crock Pot Marketing: A fix to and forget it appraoch to online marketing

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Marketing is the bane of most entrepreneurs existence. On one hand it is necessary to communicate with your potential customer base while on the other hand it can be an incredible time suck taking you away from the business of running your business. It needs to be done and as the business owner you are the ideal person to get potential customers the info they need, so what is the answer? I can name that tune in one note…Automation.

Marketing, Marketing, Will Robinson

Ok, so maybe Robbie the robot is not exactly the type of automation we are talking about here but a factory analogy is not too far off. Think about it, the key to marketing (once you have figured out your message and the best way to present it of course) is messaging consistently over time to your potential customer base. The problem that most entrepreneurs face is the same issue that plagued the manufacturing industry in years past, volume. And how did manufacturers resolve the issue? Automation. So why not apply a similar principle to your marketing efforts? I know I am not making an apples-to-apples comparison here but you get the idea. It is all about having the time to generate the appropriate volume whether it be physical product or marketing content. We have established that the key to marketing is the number of touches (and no, not bad touches) you make with a potential client over time but just because you want to connect with them on an ongoing basis does not mean that you have to come back next week at the same bat-time and same bat-channel to bang out more brilliant insights. It is hard enough for entrepreneurs to get into a marketing frame of mind for their own business (even if that is what they do for others) so why not maximize that time when lightning strikes and begin filling a crock pot with marketing gems so you can set it to cook slowly, releasing your brilliance as it heats over the course of an automated campaign?

Recipes for Success

Ok, now you are sold. You know you can count on one or two good days each quarter when you can not only concentrate on marketing your company but you are actually interested in doing it. You have the ingredients, now all that is left is to find the right appliance to turn your marketing recipe into the culinary masterpiece you know it to be. So what are the Consumer Reports best buys for automated marketing:

One of the easiest ways to automate your marketing efforts is through Scheduled blog posting.  Blog platforms often allow you to set a date and time for your postings to go live. WordPress is especially good at this. You can hack out 10 blog draft blog postings and then schedule them to go live at the date and time of your choosing. This allows you to sit down on that one day a quarter and get it all out, all of the industry innovations, customer epiphanies and other nuggets of brilliance related to your business that have been building up but you had not been able to release to the wild. Then once you have extracted every last drop of insight, you can go through and set your wisdom to a slow drip so its magic fingers will touch your clients as regularly as possible. So then you can get back to the business of running your business secure in the knowledge that even though you are not even thinking about marketing anymore, your clients are receiving the benefit of your experience. And once your marketing build up reaches a critical level again you can just rinse and repeat to reset the circle of life.

Email can work in much the same way with the added benefit of your appliance restarting itself for each new subscription so each individual feels the magic fingers at the exact same rate and in the exact same order no matter when they turned on the heat. How does this miracle appliance work you ask? The simple answer is “AutoResponder”. Now I know what you are thinking, “hey, wait a minute, that is what I set when I go on vacation, how can that possible fulfill the promise that you have laid out?” But worry not, the name might be the same but the function is drastically different. Email providers like MailChimp, aWeber or even a more involved service like 1ShoppingCart allow you to set up serialized  autoresponders that run as a result of a subscription to a given email list. These autoresponders generally allow you to set up multiple emails as well as a time delay from the initial subscription so that they can be sent in the order you want them received and with the appropriate time delay between each so your touches can trickle out at the proper rate.

Social Media
Social Media content distribution can also be automated  as an additional prong in your email and/or blogging efforts. Most blogging platforms and email providers offer options for direct social media integration so as soon as your blast of radiance hits your blog or email system, the same information can be immediately distributed to your different social media outlets like Facebook, and Twitter allowing you to magnify your audience all while you are focusing your time on servicing existing customer and business needs.

The bottom line is that through small time commitments and simple automation, entrepreneurs can effectively market themselves without sacrificing the business they are trying to build in the process.

Building your business without getting lost in the minutia

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Every entrepreneur wants to build their business but most new businesses have to be very lean in order to get off the ground. Unfortunately for most businesses that means doing without key things that can help their business thrive but that does not have to be the case. Just because you do not have the specific skills needed for a task and you cannot afford to have a full or even part-time employee around to get the things done that you need does not mean that you have to do without. There are inexpensive options available to give you the help you need so you can focus more on the business of building your business.

Picture it, your office, now. You, focusing on meeting your clients needs while your daily office/business needs are effortlessly handled by an unseen force? It is an amazing feeling right? You, focusing on the stuff that made you want to start your own business in the first place, not a care in the world. Sound too good to be true? What could this amazing unseen force be? It is none other than your Virtual Assistant. That’s right, your heard me…Virtual. And I am not talking about The H.A.L 9000 or some scary SkyNet kind of thing that will take your data in a desperate plot to take over the world. I am talking about highly skilled professionals working from home that can remotely help your back office run at peak efficiency.

Think about it like hiring a temp from an agency but rather than getting basic computer skills and the task for providing office space and equipment, you get someone with experience doing exactly what you need done who provides their own equipment and can help you at just about any hour of the day (within reason of course). You can find VA’s with skills that run the gamut from very broad skill sets to help you take care of stuff that piles up and keeps you from getting to more important things to very narrow specializations to help you with more of a surgical focus and everything in-between.

Need someone to answer the phones so you can get out for a few hours a day unencumbered?
No problem. There are many ways in which your local business calls can be routed to a VA so they make appointments, take messages or anything else you require.

Perhaps you have great marketing ideas and have no clue hoe to implement them?
That’s not a problem either. You can find marketing writers to help with your website and other marketing content.

Does Social Networking completely elude you?
You are covered there too with social media experts who can not only get you setup with the likes of Facebook and Twitter but will also keep it updated for you to keep your presence fresh.

Bookkeeping not really your bag, baby?
You can find a VA to handle your payables and receivables to ensure that you are always in good standing with your vendors while making sure that your clients are in good standing with you.

Web Guys getting you down?
You can even find someone to make your website updates for you so you don’t have to pay outrageous maintenance costs to unscrupulous web developers.

And instead of paying for someone 25-40 hours a week, you only pay for the time you use and the rates are very reasonable. So what all can you get? The sky’s the limit. If there is a need, chances are the is a VA out the that is specializing in easing that pain.

And the list goes on. If you need it done, chances are there is someone out there with the expertise you need, ready to help.

So what are you waiting for? You can get exactly the help you need without the unnecessary overhead so have a seat at the table, tuck in and help your business grow.

5 more great WordPress Plugins

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

In a continuing effort to improve both user and usee experience with WordPress sites, I offer a few more handy plugins to help make life on both ends of the site a little easier.

WP-Spam Free
Those of you who have comments enabled for blog postings on your WordPress site know just how annoying comment SPAM can be. Yes, you heard correctly, SPAM (it’s not just for email anymore). But fear not, as with most things WordPress…there’s an app for that. Just like the filter on your inbox, WP-Spam Free will weed out the Viagra and Mortgage company ads (along with any other comments that don’t pass the smell test) that bots try to post to your site as soon as they get wind that there is a form to be submitted. It is great for you because it keeps unwanted content from showing up without your knowledge or in the case of having moderation setup, it will keep your inbox free of most of those blog born irritants. And it is great for your clients and potential clients because they do not have wade through drug and porn ads to find that diamond in the rough comment that they are looking for to make sense of everything they are reading.

Ever wonder about those “Tweet” buttons that appear on some blog posts (like the one to the right), well that is a great little plugin called TweetMeMe. What it does is add that nifty button to each of your postings and then it is kind enough to track the number of times other people thought enough of your latest rant to share it with their friends. All your visitors have to do to spread your wisdom is click the button and login to their Twitter account (assuming they are not already logged in) and there, like a virus, your knowledge finds its way to more willing hosts.

CForms II
OK, so how many of you are frightened by the prospect of adding a form to your site and even more troubled by the spew of nasty that is returned to you in email when your brilliance is rewarded with an inquiry? Worry no more. Contact Forms II was designed with you in mind. Now all you have to do is select from a list of field types, decide the order in which you would like them to display and you are off to the races. There is even an easy interface for setting up the email that comes back to you with those awesome results!

Looking to jazz up your posts to include a photo of the author or maybe want to look really awesome when responding to your blog comments? Well, if you answered “Amen, Brother” or some other type of affirmative response, UserPhoto is the plugin for you. Simply install it and you will find additional fields at the bottom of your account editing screen. All you have to do then is browse for that photo that just screams You and you are set. Let it upload and BAM (to borrow an expression) you are looking more sharp and professional than anyone has the right to be.

After the Deadline
For those of you bemoaning the fact that Spell Check is missing from the WordPress bag of tricks, cry no more. After the Deadline not only finds all of those textual faux pa’s but it also will school you on improper word usage to help you make the most of the brilliance that is leaking from that overstuffed brain. Just tell WordPress you want to publish your post and After the Deadline, like the Gentlemen’s Gentleman that it is, will scan your prose for things it finds to be naughty in its sight and allows you the opportunity to snuff it before your error is seen by the masses waiting for the next installment of the cool that is you.

Now that is what I call putting the Fun in Functionality. So don’t just sit there, strut on over to (or start your search right from your own sites admin interface) and take the first step toward enjoying making your site more enjoyable to use.

5 plugins to streamline your WordPress administration

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

WordPress offers thousands of little pieces of code designed to help you extend the functionality of your site with the least possible effort. These little pieces of code are known as plugins. Plugins can range from simple admin only enhancements to full-on new site features that are ready to deploy to your user base. The trick is finding the right one to fit your particular needs.

Here are 5 great admin enhancements that no site should be without:

Page links to
Although outmoded to a degree by some of the newer “Menu” functionality in recent versions of WordPress, this simple little plugin can save you a significant amount of time when making edits and additions to your site. Essentially it is a simple redirect for the page/post in question. It adds a control to your post/page editing console that allows you to set an internal or external URL and it redirect all traffic to that post/page to the specified URL. It is great when linking menu items out to third-party or other affiliated sites and allows you to either open the link in the existing window or pop up a new one so that you can send people out without forcing them to leave your site. As I said, the new Menu functionality covers this but I really like this plugin because it allow you to do it on the fly while right in the page editor so if you decide that the content on this page is no longer relevant and you would prefer any traffic coming to it to go to another page instead, there is no need to remove any content or do anything fancy, just enter the URL and you are off to the races.

Exclude pages
Another great plugin that is outmoded by the Menu functionality of the recent versions of WordPress but still a must have for simple sites or sites with themes that do not support the new menus (and there are a lot of them out there). All it does is add a single check box to your post/page admin that is checked by default and says “include page in navigation”. Have a sales page that you want to keep it from showing up in your menus? No need to pay a developer to make some funky changes to your theme code, all you have to do is uncheck the box and update the page, easy pease.

TinyMCE Advanced
A strange name but a familiar tool to all WordPress users if they only knew. You disagree? Well, have you ever updated a page or added a post in WordPress? Well, then you have used TinyMCE. TinyMCE is the script that is used to create that wonderfully familiar “Word”-like editing interface that you use to make things pretty in your posts. TinyMCE advanced builds on that great base and offers additional functionality, like table creation and editing, that can make it significantly easier to maintain your pages and posts. Instead of a measly two rows of buttons, you can now customize the features that are available so your editing menu can be as unique as the stellar content that you are creating with it.

Twitter Tools
Twitter tools is a great plugin to help you enhance your social media presence. Although recent version updates have made the configuration a little more involved, it is well worth it. It offers the ability to automatically send a Tweet to your followers each time you make a new post to your blog thus helping you kill two birds with one “publish” click. Now rather than creating a new post and then tweeting about it two days later because you got sidetracked right as you finished, the tweet will go our simultaneously allowing your followers quicker access to the brilliance you offer on a regular basis (kind of like this 🙂 ).

All in one SEO Pack
what can I say, it is all about the SEO and the All in One SEO Pack is just what the doctor ordered. This simple plugin allows you to quickly and easily optimize your site for search engines. If offers base functionality to set keywords and descriptions and home page title while adding a new component to your Page/Post editor that will allow you to optimize every page on your site individually. So now whenever you make changes on your site you can just as easily make sure that your page continues to be optimized to enhance your organic SEO. With this in place, you will have a solid base for any SEO strategy.

These are but a few of the thousands of great plugins out there being developed and maintained by the open source community. Wish you could work more efficiently? In all likelihood there is app for that. So stop wishing, and start searching. And although the first things you see may not be the plugins you’re looking for, move along and you will fins what you need.

Social networking for your social network

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Just when you thought you were the last one to arrive at the social networking party, you realize that you got there just before your blog. Everyone talks about how you can leverage social media for your business but did you know that your blog can now take care of that all on its own? Thanks to one of the thousands of brilliant developers out there who make your life easier by developing applications for everyone’s favorite time suck, you can now syndicate your blog on Facebook allowing the teeming masses of yet undiscovered business potential to see your ramblings (good or bad) while they busily catch up with that varied list of butterflies that they try to keep up with daily.

Networked Blogs allows users to subscribe to your blog feed and have it displayed directly on their personal or Facebook Fan page. The best part is that rather than needing to go back and check out your favorite rantings (and/or astute business knowledge – tomato, tomato), the new entries post directly your wall as soon as they hit the net (you are there all day anyway, may as well make it time well spent).

And what is the bottom line of this wonderful new toy, you ask? Aside from the obvious user benefits, in essence, it allows your blog to have a go at social networking on its own. Just imagine what it can accomplish when left to its own devices in the worlds largest shampoo commercial. Think about it. You apply your brilliance to your keyboard and hit publish, but now instead of it just going to your Great Aunt Ruby and her Bridge club, you are now reaching John in Des Moines and Roxanne in Nelson, B.C.. But it doesn’t stop there because as the commercial goes, they tell two friends and so on and so on and so on…or at least one of their friends sees the feed and decides to read your post, and then one of his sees it when he subscribes and all of a sudden you have a whole new market of suburbanite professionals.

So who says that your social interactions actually require you? Just do with your blog what you have always done with you dog, make sure it is well fed and well-groomed, then head out in public and let it draw the chicks…uh, I mean people, to you.

How do I measure success with social media?

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Success in any marketing endeavor all starts from the same basic formula: define your objectives, determine your placement and measure your results. Simple, right? Then why does social media marketing seem so daunting? Well, it may look daunting but looks can be deceiving. Although social media does not necessarily conform to traditional methods of measurement, the basics still apply, you just have to adjust your thinking from the outset and everything will fall into place.

Define objectives
Social media is a different animal from most marketing because the objectives are drastically different. Rather than trying to convince someone to buy your product directly, social media is more about capturing mind share. So the real objective in most cases is simply to start a conversation with potential customers that allows you to display your thought leadership about a certain topic. Once engaged in this manner, potential customers begin to see the benefits that you offer over your competition.

Once you have defined the objectives for your social media marketing the next thing to determine is a proper venue. Blogging, Facebook and Twitter have great broad reaching appeal but make sure to look into smaller more industry or interest centric social networks as well to determine the best place to start your conversation.

Now that you have the what and the where, the how of success measurement becomes infinitely easier. Since your objectives and placement are different for social media than they are for your other marketing efforts you need to conform your measurements to fit situation as well and in this case you will conform your measurement to the individual venue.

  • Members/Comments
    If you run a membership site or blog that allows users to comment on posting, you can use the number of members/comments as a barometer for the usefulness of the content. Not only that but the comments themselves can contain invaluable information related to your individual postings that can help you in other areas of marketing and product development.
  • Fans/Followers
    The number of “fans” or followers on sites like Facebook and Twitter indicate the popularity of specific content you are providing. While growth in the number of these over a period of time can show how well your messages are penetrating your target markets.
  • Social bookmarks
    The number of times your content has been posted to sites like Digg or Stumbleupon can indicate that not only is your message effective but that you are also building the mind share among potential customers.

And the list goes on and on. A unique measurement criterion can be determined for each type of if not each individual social media outlet but once the objective of your social media marketing campaign, the measurement metrics will very quickly present themselves for you.

Once you go through the process once you will have it down. Then all that you need to do is rinse and repeat with the basics for your different campaigns and don’t be afraid to tell people about your success. Who knows, your success with one campaign could be the source of another success just by spreading the word.

Leveraging the Overlap between SEO and Social Media

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Whenever you set out into new online marketing territory you need to make sure to consider the old when developing the new. Whether you are venturing into blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Technorati, or any of the other myriad of social media outlets out there you need to make sure to always maximize your exposure. There are multiple ways to do this but whenever possible it is always best to get back to basics.

No matter what you do with your online marketing, the rules for SEO remain the same. The structure of your URLs in your social media endeavors are just as important as they are with your website. The more keyword rich your URLs are, the higher these items will rank on your chosen keywords in the search engines. Optimize your URLs to not only be descriptive on their own but to also include keywords that are used in the title and body of the content to further enhance your keyword density.

Keyword Density
As with your website, in order to maximize your exposure, you need to make sure that your social media content is keyword rich. Using the same keywords that you are trying to rank on for your website will give you additional links in the search engines that will help push up your rankings on the information you want out there. Not only that but while you are at it, these same social media entries will help push down the rankings of anything negative that may be floating around about your company, products or services. The more real estate you control in the search engines (with positive information of course) the better off you will be. So the more areas that you are pulling from to populate those listings the greater your chance of success in achieving the rankings you obviously so richly deserve.

Multimedia Content
Multimedia is an often overlooked area of SEO. And while it does not do as much for you as keyword rich content, it is a great way to increase your visibility. Using multimedia content in your social media posting can add a new dimension of ranking within search engines by expanding your rankings to not only work in regular website search listings in Google, Yahoo, Bing and more but also in the media listings those same search engines already offer for images, audio and video. At the same time this type of content helps open your site up to some of the media specific search engines out there like PicSearch , Blinkx and PodScope that you may not have otherwise been able to breach allowing you to increase the link popularity for your site.

The basic premise here is that when you move into other areas of online marketing, you should always remember lessons learned and try to apply them wherever you go. Leveraging this overlap between social media and SEO will enhance your SEO results and allow you to maximize your exposure.

Maximizing Your Social Media Impact

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

When you set off to make your mark in social media there are three things that you can do to help maximize your impact.

  1. Know your audience
    As I may have mentioned in previous postings, the number one thing that you can to in any marketing endeavor, online or off is to know your audience. Knowing who you are talking to with your communications will shape the information you provide along with the manner in which you provide it. The best way to do this is to sit down and create analogs of your target customers with everything from age and gender to marital and parental status. There is a reason why so many marketing research firms are located in malls and are constantly trying to entice unsuspecting people into their lair where they are forced to answer lengthy questionnaires. The information matters, plain and simple. And that information helps businesses like yours shape their marketing messages and even the manner in which the messages are delivered and that includes social media.
  2. Be a resource
    The best way to build an audience and enhance your exposure with social media is to provide information that your audience will find useful. Don’t use your social media outlets just as a veiled way to push your products or services. It is certainly ok to mention your products or services here or there but that should not be what it is about. Strive to Become a thought leader in your chosen space. Becoming a true resource that offers value to your audience without expectation (whether through informational blog postings, ebooks or other free resources) can have great side benefits to your business. Offering free resources on topics close to you helps build relationships with your network. These types of relationships foster evangelism among your network that can turn into an unpaid salesforce for your products or services.
  3. Have a conversation
    The idea behind any good marketing program is to start a conversation that will ultimately end in a sale. Blogging as well as using resources like Facebook and Twitter can be the best conversation starters in the world. Open up communication and be willing to hear feedback from your social network. Everyone can see the value in good feedback, but you need to take the good with the bad because you never know where things will lead. Never underestimate the power of conversation. You might get some negative feedback about your company but you can turn that negative feedback into a win depending on what you do with the information. Someone relating a negative experience may give you insight into issues that may effect more than the single individual. No only that but it can afford the unique opportunity to act to change the underlying issue and turn a negative experience into a life long customer that in turn can become an evangelist for your products or services.

Whichever way you decide to go in the social arena whether it be blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, or any of the other budding networks out there as long as you keep in mind that social networking is less about you and more about your network, then you should be a in a pretty good position to maximize your impact.