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Team Lightning News & Events
03/11/2010 - Fans and Tweets? Basics 101

Fans and Tweets?
Social Media Basics - 101   
  
Facebook for Business?

A growing number of businesses are making Facebook an indispensible part of hanging out their shingles. Small businesses are using it to find new customers, build online communities of fans and dig into gold mines of demographic information.

You need to be where your customers are and your prospective customers are there! And with 400 million active users on Facebook, and growing, that’s increasingly where your audience is for a lot of products and services.

Start Small
For most businesses, Facebook Pages (distinct from individual profiles and Facebook groups) are the best place to start. Pages allow businesses to collect “fans” the way celebrities, sports teams, musicians and politicians do. There are now 3 million active Facebook Pages and they collect more than 20 million fans every day, according to the site.

Businesses can easily create a Web presence with Facebook, even if they don’t have their own Web site (most companies still should maintain a Web site to reach people who don’t use Facebook or whose employers block access to the site). Businesses can claim a vanity address so that their Facebook address reflects the business name, like www.facebook.com/Starbucks.  Facebook pages can link to the company’s Web site or direct sales to e-commerce sites like Ticketmaster or Amazon.

Facebook offers an array of tools and networks, and it’s easy to wander down too many paths. Newcomers should start by asking themselves a simple question: What is your basic objective? Is it getting more customers in the door? Building brand awareness? Creating a venue for customer support? Once you have set your goal, you can strategize accordingly.

Businesses should start by asking friends and family to become fans of their pages so that they display a respectable crowd of supporters when they debut. Pages can grow organically by word of mouth — the average Facebook user has 130 friends on the site — or by advertising or promotion.

You can enhance your page with photos, comments and useful information. As you grow more comfortable, you can add videos or business applications. Flaunt your personality. The page of an ice cream parlor should feel different than that of a construction company. “The pages that are most successful,” said Tim Kendall, the director of monetization at Facebook, “are the ones that really replicate the personality of the business.”

At Team Lightning we started a Team Lightning Page for our fans so be sure to check it out! We will continue to send information about Facebook over the next few months as this has been a hot topic. If you want to discuss creating a page for your business and need guidance or help, give us a call at 813-814-2888.

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Book Titles:
Facebook Marketing, I'm on facebook, facebook me!, Facebook Cookbook, The Facebook Era 

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What's all this Tweeting about?
Although email still delivers the best results among your electronic marketing mix, more than a quarter of marketers think social media has shown the most grab on the customer in the past year. One could argue that the phenomenon of Twitter and its use in the business world is doing the same. Who knew that 140 characters had the potential to be so powerful when it comes to brand strategy, communication and connection with customers?

More and more business executives are using Twitter, and using it actively. Some argue that tweeting is actually easier and quicker because it takes less time to craft 140 characters than it does a 250 to 300 word blog. And executives typically don't have the time to sit down and write something like a blog - which is why they have marketing people. From a public perception, tweeting allows customers, vendors, partners, and end-users to actually get a real insight glimpse at the company and its personality. If you're hearing from the big guy, then you must be important in his eyes, right?

So as a business tool, how are business executives, upper management and company owners using Twitter as a resource to build brand recognition, all while being transparent with their stakeholders, offering solid, useful information and an inner sanctum look? While opening the lines of communication, they are crafting a following for their brand. What better acknowledgment can a customer give to you than to think that you are worthy of being followed? If they're following you, they must believe that you have something insightful to offer. So it's time to deliver. In 140 characters on a regular basis, you need to provide useful information that doesn't sound like a sales pitch. Here are some ways to think about Twitter as a new business tool to complement your marketing mix:

First impressions count. As you start tweeting, keep the basic Twitter principles in mind. Don't come in with words blaring about your latest product launch or new services. You'll quickly turn off anyone who might potentially want to follow you. Subtlety is important. Keep it simple. Be an open book. Ask for advice. Post inquisitive questions. Just remember, whatever you tweet, you can't take back. So think about what you want to say and reread it carefully before you hit the update button.

Create a plan of what you want to tweet about. This might sound a bit time consuming but you will actually save time if you can come up with some general ideas of what you want to say in advance. Think about what your calendar and your strategies look like for the next few weeks. What will you be working on? Have you found a new tool that makes your work easier? What's going on in the industry? Is there a unique conference or event on the horizon that you'll be attending or speaking at? Remember, you're networking here. Think about what you would say at a live networking event, then shorten it up for your tweet.

Utilize tools to track your Twitter ROI. It doesn't matter that this microblogging site is all the rage right now, if you can't track how it's performing for you, then it is a waste of time and energy, regardless of its popularity. As you tweet, incorporate shortened URLs to links on your site where customers and leads can find white papers, resources, and articles that are beneficial. Then shorten up those URL links with tools like www.twitpwr.com   or  www.budurl.com. Not only are you shortening up your character count, you're tracking results at the same time!

Use hashtags (#) when you can to keep your subjects categorized and make them easier for others to find. Hashtags catalog and connect tweets about specific topics. You simply put the hashtag before the word like #supervar. This would then categorize all tweets related to supervar. As you become more comfortable with using existing hashtags, you can create some of your own as well. Just make sure whether you're using ones already created or making new ones, they all are in alignment with your brand and core values.

Although considered microblogging, many of the underlying principles of Twitter are the same as participating in social networking sites. You must be genuine and transparent. Don't pretend to be something that you're not or offer something that you don't have. The best way to become at ease with Twitter for business is to start tweeting and see where it takes you!

If you want to further discuss Twitter and your future Tweets, give us a call today! 813-814-2888. To follow Team Lightning on Twitter click on the link below. 

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Book Titles:

twitter power, twitter Revolution, Everything twitter, twitter mean business, twitter, Tips, Tricks and Tweets

 
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