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Written by The Mezzanine Group
on May 12, 2011

Social media sites continue to have a profound impact on the way many people communicate with friends, family and brands online.

With the amount of people connected on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, it’s no surprise that the overall social media landscape has gained traction as a worthwhile communication option for businesses today.

Social media marketing has become so important over the last few years….so much so that 73% of businesses plan to increase their use of FB, Twitter, YouTube and Blogging in 2011 – according to the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report presented by Social Media Examiner. Nearly 25% of all online time is spent on social media today and there are over 550 million active Facebook users right now! We also know that small businesses are beginning to invest heavily in social media – and so should you!

But, getting started can be confusing. Some people even find it down right intimidating.

I wanted to share some really great tips I came across to help you navigate the social media landscape. I recently attended a webinar titled ‘9 Companies doing social media right’ presented by Mari Smith, co-author of Facebook Marketing and Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner. They offered some really great real-life examples of 9 companies who have really done a great job using social media so I’ve summarized some of the key takeaways and included links to the companies they mentioned for you to take a look at.

Key points taken from webinar:

  • Create content people care about
  • Profile your raving fans
  • Make it easy for people to share your products
  • Build a community
  • Encourage customers to share their stories
  • Make involvement fun and exciting
  • Try Facebook ecommerce
  • Think outside the box
  • Create special offers for fans

Some really outstanding things you could try:

  • Integrate social media buttons on your website in the top right hand corner. This is prime real estate for these icons and is often referred to as ‘above the fold’ as it is the place on a website that is viewed first and users do not need to scroll to see this content
  • Integrate your current twitter feed on your website. Try using professional images for the person tweeting. This helps to build trust as people want to see who is speaking to them
  • Integrate your YouTube channel videos on your website. Especially if you have some customer testimonial videos – these are really powerful and create a sense of belonging
  • Have your company President and other high-level employees post on a regular basis. People like hearing from business owners and knowing that they are interested in communicating with customers
  • Consider holding a weekly or monthly voting contest. Pick a fan of the week and do a spotlight on your fans and customers. This is a great way to engage people with exclusive content. Two apps that can help you do this are: Wildfireapp.com & strutta.com
  • Make sure your social media sites invite customers to talk about your products and be sure to interact with them on a regular basis. People get excited about deals, so don’t forget to offer some unique Facebook discounts for joining your page
  • Let customers market for you by integrating the ‘Like’ button and share button. Make sure your ‘Like’ button has a counter. This is social proof that people are interested in your products and your company. More visitors will see that something is popular and will have more of an incentive to look at it
  • Blog Stories are very engaging – What’s your Story? How has your product/service impacted someone’s life in an important way – blog about great customer success stories. This is a good way of engaging customers and creates an emotional tie to your brand as well

Take a look at these companies who are doing social media the right way:

  1. Cranium – Game by Hasboro – Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/Cranium
  2. San Chez Bistro – Restaurant - http://www.sanchezbistro.com/
  3. Emmy’s Closet – Blog - http://emmysclosetbows.blogspot.com/
  4. Martell Home Builders – Canadian Custom Home Builder - http://www.themartellexperience.com/
  5. Cree – B2B industrial lighting company - http://www.creeledrevolution.com/
  6. Convince & Convert Website – Social Media Strategy Consulting - http://www.convinceandconvert.com/
  7. Ford Motor Company - http://corporate.ford.com/
  8. Giant Nerd – Outdoor equipment, gear and footwear - http://www.giantnerd.com/
  9. Zappos – Online Clothing Retailer – Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/zappos

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