Socializing the Right Way
It’s not enough to simply post information on social media sites and wait for the new orders. Developing and maintaining a successful strategy takes time and creativity, says Lindsey Holmes, CEO and lead strategist at LCH Business Social Media and Tech, a Newark, New Jersey-based digital marketing agency. To hone your strategy,
Holmes suggests using tools such as:

• Video. Preferably “raw” and uncut, to create an authentic appearance, rather than an edited one.

• Hashtags. The # signs you see before keywords help identify popular topics of interest; marketers use hashtags to aggregate, organize, and discover relevant posts.

• Social tracking mechanisms. By tracking social media plug-ins installed on your website, tools such as Google Analytics and Twitalyzer can trace the actions of socially engaged users and relate those activities to website buying and browsing behaviors.

• Response. For social media to work, there has to be someone accessing and responding to those posts. Creating effective social networks starts offline, where Twitter handles and Facebook page addresses should not only be prominently displayed on business cards and marketing materials, but also discussed openly at “live” networking events, meetings, and on client calls.

To create those connections needed to impact your business, Eric Hamilton, CEO of AdSmoke Inc., a New York City-based online video advertisement network, says small businesses should be posting relevant content on a regular schedule. A financial adviser, for example, might post a short article on “5 Things to Know about Filing Your 2011 Taxes” on a blog and then post snippets on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus that point followers to the full article; or a hair salon might post a photo of Halle Berry’s hairstyle at an awards ceremony and then offer to replicate it for anyone who makes an appointment during the upcoming week. “Don’t be too sales-y; followers want to see you as human and they don’t want things pushed on them,” Hamilton advises. “It’s about building a conversation and community, and it’s not about what you’re selling.”

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