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  • How to Gain Market Share With Social Media

    Can you really gain market share with social media? That’s the big question we discussed in this week’s #SM4SMB conversation on Twitter. And the overall sentiment was YES, as long as companies follow these 5 rules:

    Use the right tools for the right audience

    Twitter and Facebook are not the answers to every social media problem. If you are a publishing company, for example, building author profiles on Amazon will sell way more books than Twitter and Facebook can.

    “There seems to be an extreme trend among youth toward many forms of social media. Even people who are older than most would consider inside the tech savvy generation are falling in love with facebook & twitter. Using these forms of media allow you to capture all demographics.” @sitesketch101

    Make sure you are using the right social media for the right audience!

    Connect with real people

    One of the challenges companies face though is how to build real relationships with people. Most have no practice since social media hasn’t been around in the past, and the only way for companies to build relationships was face-to-face.

    “I mentioned the In-N-Out restaurant chain in a tweet, and they found me and replied. That’s making it personal.” @meanttolive

    Likewise, I mentioned that @OneRiot always responds to me when I give them a free plug. They followed up later, offering me some freebies because I mention them so often in my Twitter stream!

    Personally, I like when one specific person runs the social media for a company. It’s easier for companies to have real conversations with real people when there is a person representing the company. Ultimately, people connect with people on social media, not companies.

    “A dedicated person involved in social media can definitely represent a company & engage followers,thus building brand loyalty.” @franklogic

    JOIN the conversation

    @norcross asks, “But are the businesses willing to actually be part of the conversation? What motivates those businesses to participate?”

    “Most are not ‘in a conversation’ they just make promotional announcements, they miss the point, it’s just more spam”@GSWoodward

    “I completely agree about the spam statement. They do that because it works for some people. But it’s lousy to most.” @sitesketch101

    I agree – It seems too many businesses still do social media half-heatedly. It doesn’t work – social media takes effort, strategy, and long-term investment to get benefits. Too many companies dabble in social media because people tell them they should, and they just do it without putting any strategy or goals behind it. Dabbling is ultimately bad; it’s all or nothing, and doing social media half-heatedly hurts the company brand.

    Talk about others, give, give, make it not about your company

    I ask, How?

    “By interacting personally like I’m doing with you right now. Questions. Answers. Conversation. Provide their users with resources, quotes, questions & information. I think too often people load their tweets with personal links. I do this too much. Getting real with people is vital!” @sitesketch101

    “Write how their own personal customer services had helped their clients. People read these & start building trust.” @franklogic

    There are tons of ways to create content that relate to your company, without overly self-promoting yourself.

    Capture your contact list and follow-up

    The way to capture who your company is interacting with on social media depends on which tools your company is using. For example, you could ask the customer for an email address so you can provide feedback. On Twitter, you can find the person’s real name and learn more about them in a professional way by responding to their tweets. On Facebook, there is a messaging system to interact with customers.

    Thanks again to everyone who participated in the conversation tonight! The next conversation is on July 22, 2009 from 8pm-9pm CST on Twitter. You can join by using the hashtag #SM4SMB to tag social media tips on Twitter during this time, then heading over to the #SM4SMB website to read all the updates.

    Monica O’Brien is an MBA candidate with years of experience in business, strategy, and technology. She currently consults start-ups in the Chicago area on establishing their social media strategies. Monica attends the Chicago Booth School of Business (at the University of Chicago), currently ranked the #1 MBA program in the country by BusinessWeek, and is one of the 2007 Chicago Business Fellows. She concentrates in Marketing, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship. Monica holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, with a minor in Physics, from Truman State University. Her blog, Twenty Set, gives career advice to young professionals. Monica writes candidly about her own experiences. She has also written for Mashable and ProBlogger, and has been featured in major publications like the Christian Science Monitor.

    Posted in eBrand, Marketing, Networking, Personal Branding, Social Media, Success Strategies
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