What’s Your Offer and To Whom?

Having a clear expectation of who you would like to market to is key to success in social media marketing.  Therefore, you must define the target market for your products, prior to starting your social media campaign.  Ask yourself these questions: What is your product.  Who best fits the target market for this product?  What is their age group, gender, what other activities coincide with your product or service?  For example, a guy who rides a Harley motorcycle is likely to be interested in buying a leather biker jacket.  Or said a different way, if you were selling leather biker jackets, you may wish to pursue a social network geared toward bikers. 

Anticipate to Participate

Now that you understand who you are looking for and what products will best fit your marketing strategy.  It’s time to start participating.  There are five social networking services that offer you the best social media coverage for your business.  These include: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, LinkedIn and Foursquare. Don’t stress about seeing all the social networking names. Like most new things, social media takes practice.  With this said, you will find that using social media will quickly become an easy task. You’ll be impressed once you realize how many things you can achieve with them.

The mission should you choose to accept it - Create an account for each of those websites!  When setting up your account, try to create a username name that is similar to your business name if possible.  If not, choose something that encompasses your products and/or services.  Next, you will want to set up your accounts beyond the basic account information.  Note: If you’re not interested in opening a separate Facebook account, you can create a fan page through your personal account so you can easily manage it.

Absence = Silence

If you want to get the most out of using social media in your business; familiarized with what each of social network has to offer.  For example, Twitter will help you post brief content to attract customers to a Facebook fan page or videos showing information about your business, customers’ reviews, testimonials, etc. Get connected with other people in LinkedIn.  Encourage your customers to ‘check-in’ on your store using Foursquare from their smart phones. You can run a promotion like “VIP 4Square Special - Get 25% off”.  Create a blog entry in WordPress to inform your customers about your new products and services. (You can share the link via Twitter and have it posted automatically in your Facebook fan page.)  Don’t forget about your social media accounts!  Without the social aspects, they become forgotten virtual ghost towns.  By committing yourself to social media every day, you show everyone that you have a healthy active business. 

Design to Draw Attention

Take your time to make your social media accounts attractive to your customers.  For example, you cannot start following people on Twitter without having a unique avatar (aka your ‘profile picture’). One of the worst things you can do in Twitter is leave their default avatar, which is an egg by default.  Unless your business involves selling eggs, nobody will follow you.  Just like an in-person introduction, people want to see your identity.  In addition, don’t stop posting!  Post pictures, press releases, news, and videos.  Using social media in your business is like running a marathon.  As you post, tweet, and upload; you will find that you get more and more followers and your news spreads via retweets (RTs).  People will start giving you “likes” on your Facebook fan page posts, and tagging themselves in your pictures.  You'll start getting fans from your videos on Youtube.  Comments from new, potential and existing customers will start coming to your blog entries in WordPress.

Stay Involved

The more time you dedicate to keep your social media accounts up to date; the more fans, friends and followers you'll get.  Take your time to read your mentions in Twitter, and reply to them.  People don't want to connect with you exclusively for what you sell in your store, but they want to see who the human being is behind the scenes.  Why not run a little survey on Facebook to ask your customers "What they would like to see this season?" After all, they're the voice of your business. Become their moderator.

In conclusion, social media offers a powerful set of tools provided you clearly set a strategy in motion.  1) Define your target market and products.  2) Setup social media accounts 3) Incorporate social media into your daily schedule.  4) Customize your customer’s social experience.  Give them an exciting virtual place to visit.  5) Continually engage your customers by using social media in your business.