Sunday, August 12, 2012

Make new friends and keep the old



When using social media to grow your business, an important aspect is making virtual friends. This is not always an easy process, especially for businesses that have never used social media in the past. One of the best ways to get likes on a business Facebook page is by asking your friends on your personal Facebook page to like it. Without a personal Facebook page, this is a bit more challenging.

I have had retired racing greyhounds for pets for many years. Sometimes they can be a bit neurotic. The dog I have now was a little different than any greyhound I ever had before. He was afraid of everyone. No one, especially men, could come near him. Lots of business owners feel just as apprehensive about meeting people online. There is a stigma attached to meeting unknown people. Maybe as kids, when our parents told us not to talk to strangers, this became ingrained in our psyche.

My dog trainer taught us the command, “make friends.” Using a little piece of cheese to entice my dog to make a new friend, he gradually learned to trust people. While I’m not asking you to use cheese to make friends, followers or fans through social media, think of new business as your virtual cheese. Go and seek new likes, followers and/or fans – especially if they are unknown to you. This will help your business grow.

One way to achieve more activity is by literally asking. When you talk to potential customers on the phone, don’t be afraid to mention your social media sites. Ask them, “How did you hear about us?” When they answer, tell them about your Facebook or Twitter page. You want as much exposure for your content as you can get. And, ask your people to share the page with their friends.

When you send out email, add your page locations to your online signature. You don’t have to remember to tell people, because it will automatically be at the bottom of every email you send. Any print advertising can simply have the phrases, “Follow us on Twitter” and “Like us on Facebook” with the logos of the sites, and people will do it. If your business has online Yelp, Yellowbook or Superpages listings (and they should!!!), make sure you add links to your social media pages to the information.

You can also go out and get new followers and likes. There are websites like Twiends.com that help you get followers on twitter. Socialscube.com helps people get followers, likes and web page views. Those two are free. However, when taking advantage of the free sites, you might get a bunch of followers and then the next day many will be gone. You have to continuously add new people to keep your numbers steadily growing.

Sites where you buy followers are also available. Socialscube and Twiends both have paid programs as well as many others like twitterfollowersbazar.com. Microjob sites like fiverr.com also offer Twitter, Facebook and YouTube followers for really cheap, only a few dollars. On the microjob sites, most purchasers leave comments so you can see how happy (or not) they are with the results of each offer.

A much better way to get followers is to create an interesting page, good content and links and to have a great photo. Those things will get you organic followers who are actually interested in what you have to say. You won’t have to give them cheese like I did my dog! Just give them fresh and interesting content and they will want to be your virtual friend for a good long time.

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