I’ve been running a poll on this blog for a few months now asking the question ‘have you used any of the following social media tools to market your business?’.
The options and answers in order of popularity were:
• Blog 67%
• LinkedIn 55%
• Facebook 48%
• Other 39%
• Del.icio.us 30%
What does this tell us?
First of all it confirms the significance of blogging as a key business communications tool. It’s interesting to see how many different types of business have jumped onto this marcoms tool, with everyone from CEOs to technical R+D experts, professional services firms and more. Working with small businesses I find blogging can provide a good platform for demonstrating your expertise, creating a feedback channel for customers, providing a place to foster conversation with existing and prospective customers and much more. If you want advice or some ideas for how to get a blog going for your business I recommend reading the BetterBusinessBlogging blog written by expert Mark White.
LinkedIn is another great resource but for networking. There is a lot of debate in the blogosphere as to how valuable LinkedIn really is, but for me there is no question of its potential. A good example is an old colleague of mine who recently contacted me through linkedIn. She had recently started up as a business operations consultant and was looking to expand her network and service offering. There may now be opportunities for us to work together either on the same clients, or through referring business opportunities. For ideas on how to get the most from LinkedIn, read Guy Kawasaki and LinkedIntelligence.
Facebook needs no introduction. It’s amazing how frequently I receive marketing messages from groups I belong to on Facebook, from music bands to clubs I belong to. One of my clients uses Facebook to manage its alumni and as a source of recruitment. There are no end to the possibilities. For bigger brands you might even consider advertising on Facebook.
The main point that came across from the survey is that people are using a mixture of different social media tools to market their business. A blog is a good start, but develop your LinkedIn profile in parallel and cross promote both platforms. Once you have a blog up and running and your LinkedIn profile is starting to grow, look at Twitter, or start social book marking with Delicious.
There is a good argument that you should have an objective in mind before you start with social networking and some goals in place in order that you can measure whether your efforts have been successful. I agree with this entirely for blogging but for the less strategic tactics, like LinkedIn, I would suggest just getting started and trying it for a month to see what you can achieve, you may just be surprised how many doors it can open and the costs are tiny – in most cases just your time.
What’s the next reader survey then?
Well it’s online now in the right hand sidebar and I would like your help to understand the impact of the global recession on your business..:
What tactics have you employed to combat the global recession?
> Increased marketing spend
> Made redundancies
> Cut costs
> Changed strategic direction
> Refinanced business