people connectingPeople do business with people. And as Vickie Magic says, people do business with people they know, like and trust. Positive word-of-mouth comments or referrals, either online or in person is one of the most powerful marketing tools. Having an active, credible and likeable social media presence encourages word-of-mouth referrals on a large scale. The ultimate aim from your social media activity is to interact with your customers, potential customers, friends and colleagues earning their ‘vote of confidence’ in you and your services and products. That way they are likely to refer business to you.

You can ‘earn’ positive comments and referrals online through other businesses and people’s social profiles, blogs, forums and online community groups. If you don’t know where to start to ramp up your social media presence, start with your why. There needs to be a compelling reason for you to invest your precious time. Why will you invest in your social media marketing?

Business owners can enjoy the benefits of connecting online using social media channels including:

• increases in website visitors and search engine results

• more awareness of your business and your brand

• better understanding of customers perceptions and your target markets

• low-cost marketing • building and maintaining relationships with existing and potential customers.

• and importantly, increases in new business

Mmmm, ok how do we do that? The first thing to do is to establish professional profiles social media profiles and claim ownership of your online assets. This entails creating social media accounts, channels or pages. What online assets do you own? Your website/blog, domain names, social media profiles, digital content and email lists are your online assets. Claiming ownership of your social media profiles is imperative. Once you have established ownership and created your social media accounts and profiles its time get busy on your selected social media marketing channels.

Not all social media channels are right for all types of businesses so be selective and prioritise based on how you and your customers like to communicate. Ensure you add social share and follow buttons to your website and email signature. You can support other businesses and people by liking and endorsing them and their business. They are likely to support and endorse you. The golden rule is to bring people back to your main your website/blog. It would be a mistake to assume that interaction with your customers will take off without your input.

Like any relationship, your social media presence needs to be carefully nurtured. Friendships grow and become stronger when you invest the time. It will take time to grow and reap the benefits of your online connections. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen!

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