It goes without saying that social media is the new customer interaction platform. Nielsen’s Social Media report, for example, recently revealed that 2012 saw a 37 percent increase in total time spent on social media sites in the U.S., reaching 121 billion minutes this July compared to 88 billion from July 2011. With the social media craze far from slowing down, how can businesses capitalize on the almost 70 percent of online U.S. adults who are currently logged in, liking and tweeting among other things? Specifically, how can small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) do this?
It’s also undeniable that during today’s fast-paced culture of social media and online marketing, it can be extremely hard to understand what it’s all about in the first place. For someone who is new to the social media scene, it can be difficult to understand what Twitter (News - Alert) is about – let alone how to leverage it for added benefits.
Together, Panasonic and John Jantsch, an SMB expert, well-known marketing consultant, speaker and writer behind “Duct Tape Marketing, the Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine” help answer this question by revealing the seven essential stages to building a total online presence – and keeping it there.
“In today’s fast-paced culture of social media and online marketing, no two businesses are alike, and the ability of SMBs to utilize these online tools can determine whether they sink or swim,” Panasonic (News - Alert) writes in a recent company blog post.
Image via Panasonic
So without further ado, here are the seven essential stages to achieving a successful, total online presence:
1.) Content Platform: “SMBs must be good at amplifying their content by providing content that is worthy of sharing and passing on as a resource,” Panasonic reveals in another related company blog. One great example of how to do this includes investing in good blogging software (such as Wordpress), which will better help SMBs transform lead captures into sales. Other examples of lead captures include eBooks, tip sheets or how-to’s – all which show just how involved and up-to-speed you are in a similarly up-to-speed time of customer engagement. Because let’s be honest, people immediately lose interest after visiting an outdated website with no media or alternative sites.
2.) Organic SEO: Use research and search engine tools to better help you know exactly what your customers are looking for. Some examples can include Keyword Spy, SEO Book and SpyFu. “They should write content that is optimized with these keywords and phrases. Then reach out to other bloggers who can write guest blog posts, or vice versa, to provide links to their pages, highlight their online profile and begin attracting links back to their content,” Panasonic explains.
3.) E-mail Marketing: Using an e-mail service provider (ESP) can help improve functionality and deliverability, Panasonic advises. The company adds that the three most important elements of e-mail marketing include building a comprehensive e-mail list of customers; having a consistent communication tool (ie. weekly eNewsletter) to regularly interact with customers and drive them back to landing pages; and building an e-mail campaign to market products, services of content by sending e-mails and utilizing the tools of the ESP, such as auto responders.
4.) Social Media Marketing: This is perhaps the most obvious of the bunch, but still critical to shaping your business’ online presence. “Social media is a great SMB marketing tool for many reasons, including following up with prospects, staying top-of-mind with customers, keeping up on the industry, providing customer service and developing a partner network,” Panasonic suggests in the blog. Some good sites to begin include LinkedIn, Facebook (News - Alert), Google+ and Twitter, as well as newer sites such as Pinterest and Instagram.
5.) Mobile and Location: “These days, it’s necessary for SMBs to make their websites mobile-friendly,” advises Panasonic. Mobility has undeniably become a huge driving factor for successful customer experiences. For example, if you use WordPress for a company blog, be sure to add a mobile plug-in such as WPTouch or use a responsive-design theme that can automatically adapt your website to fit users’ mobile device screens. Also consider mobile ads, which is a valuable tool that SMBs should consider.
To see the rest of the seven essential steps, click here. To learn more about Panasonic, visit www.panasonic.com.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein