Originally published in the Hudson Valley Business Journal:
One of my all time favorite movies is “Field of Dreams,” a drama-sports-fantasy based on W.P. Kinsella's novel “Shoeless Joe."
Even if you never saw the film I bet you’ve heard the sentence Kevin Costner keeps hearing in his head, “If you build it, he will come.”
For me the film is about connecting: connecting with family, connecting with the future and the past, connecting with the larger community. Hey isn’t that what social media is all about?
Wading into the fast-moving flow of social media and building a presence is daunting to businesses with very little time on their hands. Here are some tips to help you build it and get them to come.
1. Do what you are already doing, just better. Create specific branded materials to send to your email lists inviting them to your new presence online. Build well-designed eblasts, enewsletters, and banner ads with links to your “company” Facebook page. Just make sure when they get there it’s worth their click. That means agenda free content guys. And please don’t buy lists, why? Just think about how you feel when you receive unsolicited messages from a company in your inbox? Do you want your customers to feel the same way about you?
2. Branch Out. With increasing options for online networking, the very definition of social media is shifting daily; consider something more than Facebook and LinkedIn.
• Post photos of your products on Flickr and invite comments from customers.
• Have a store-front business and sell stuff? Look into Foursquare, which has the potential to draw customers to your door. How? Go to foursquare.com/business/venues and learn more.
• Create a blog for your business and become a thought leader. Giving readers the scoop on your company blog is an easy way to keep the lines of communication open and you can attract subscribers and readers by posting valuable content and build your online community.
• Consider creating a video and put it on YouTube for no cost. (Interestingly, Field of Dreams, which was created over 20 years ago, has over 730,000 hits on YouTube and 210,307 fans on Facebook as of today.)
• And look out for the next big contender to Facebook from Google called Google +, although still in beta, reviews have been glowing. (Google is banking that search and social will be the perfect couple.)
3. Use all real estate wisely. Add your social media links on the bottom of all employee’s email signatures stating simply “Join us on Facebook, twitter, youtube, foursquare, etc.” (So obvious but you’d be surprised how many companies don’t do this.) And don’t forget to add the icons you use on all of your outbound marketing materials reminding people to check you out. Some companies are even adding it to their business cards.
4. Look into QR codes. Because the whole world is moving towards smart phones, create your very own quick response (QR code). These are the little graphic squares you are beginning to see on ads from national companies likes Home Depot, to more local companies. It’s easy and yes it’s free, and so are some of the apps to read them. Put it on all of your print ads. You can have it link to your social media outlets, a video, a landing page or your website. The best part, with the up to the date analytics available you know how well it’s working.
5. Speaking of websites. In the brave new world of social media your site has quickly become the most important anchor for all your marketing. Once static, new sites are now interactive. So if your site has no way to link directly to all of these new outlets you could be losing a great opportunity to connect. All of the recent sites we have designed include the Facebook social plug-in, why? With the plugin your viewers can keep up with what’s happening on your Facebook page without leaving your site.
Although each industry has its own unique set of challenges and solutions these tips will help you start the conversation and make new connections. We often remind our clients that activity is not necessarily productivity and the quality of your followers is more important than the quantity. With that being said do you know what the second most famous line from “Fields of Dreams” was? “Go The Distance.”
Any thoughts on the subject, please share.
Link to Hudson Valley Business Journal original article: http://www.hvbizjournal.com/archives.php?id=215