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MAY 2014

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Benefits of the Top 4 Social Media Networks
by John Foley, Jr.

With limited resources, many small and mid-sized dealers are asking themselves, "What should be the number one social media outlet to pursue?"

Unfortunately, there is no easy way of answering this because each social site is so unique. They each provide their own benefits, and each business would be able to use and benefit from each of them in different ways. Here is a breakdown of how you can use each channel.

YouTube
This requires low management maintenance. You have the ability to create videos to show customers and prospects product videos, including demos that show how to use your products. Having these useful videos opens up another channel where these prospects can reach you and learn more about your products. They're quick and simple to make, and most videos can be used and repurposed for a long period of time. Whenever you create a video, you should upload it and share it with your audience in different ways. You can embed it to your website, email marketing blasts, share it on Twitter and Facebook, embed it into your LinkedIn profile, and have QR codes direct to them. If you enjoy being creative with your marketing efforts and you tend to be more of a visual person, preferring to give a face to a name and show your audience how your business can help them, YouTube should definitely be a utilized channel.

Twitter
Twitter requires the most management, but also has the most benefits. First of all, its outreach and engagement opportunities are very extensive. There are many tools out there that can help you search for leads and existing contacts. You can also initiate relationships by following people, and if they know you or have heard of your business, they usually follow you back. You can also embed your Twitter feed with your personal and company LinkedIn status updates. Some tools even let you update your Facebook through Twitter. By syncing up social networks with each other, it can cover a lot more ground with just one post. Another benefit with Twitter is its hashtag feature. The best examples of hashtag usage would be during events. If you go to an event, attendees and vendors are able to include the hashtag (such as #MFRS2014) within their tweets, which will make their posts show up in the #MFRS2014 Twitter feed. This is a great way of finding people at the show, engaging with them, and simply sharing your experience of the show with others. However, there are a lot of tweets out there, so you must be consistent with your posts in order to position yourself as a thought leader who provides information but who also engages with their audience as well.

LinkedIn
This network requires low management and has a more professional setting compared to others. Everyone should belong to this network because LinkedIn members appear within or close to the top five Google searches when their name is searched for. This helps encourage connections and relationships and it makes it easy for inquiries and prospects to find you. Personal profiles also give you the capability of sharing your website, social networks, more of your work portfolio, and many other types of information. If people want to learn more about you professionally, LinkedIn gives them the chance to do so, and then gives them the option to connect with you.

While you are on LinkedIn, if your work email has its own domain, build a company page. This gives the opportunity for all of your coworkers and employees to be under one network. LinkedIn company pages also give you the opportunity to promote products, services, connect prospects with sales reps, and more! You can also keep it updated by posting regular statuses. I would recommend sticking with four to six company status updates each week, and try to focus on company news and industry news that your target audience would be interested in.

Facebook
Facebook would require a medium level of management. My recommended amount of posts for this site would be once a day, possibly more if there is an event happening that you are participating in. Sharing industry-related information in different mediums, such as photos, YouTube videos, blog posts, or articles, is a great way to engage with your Facebook audience. Your audience in this channel usually consists of existing customers who like and trust your company, and prospects who are interested in your specials, features, or knowledge. Facebook fans usually join your page in order to stay in the loop with what is new. Posting pictures and YouTube videos of what is happening around the office is also great content. This social network is meant to focus on humanizing your business, so if you have an existing dedicated fan base that is online and wants to stay updated, Facebook may be your top priority.

Conclusion
Every business has its own unique audience. Think about where your audience is and how they enjoy learning about the type of products you have to offer. Once you discover these key components, determining which social media networks are the right ones for your business will become more apparent. No matter which one you choose though, each network is great for enhancing your brand's search optimization. The more you update them, the higher they will rise in search results. In addition, the bigger your networks are, the more potential you have of sending leads and inquiries to your website.

FoleyAbout John Foley, Jr.
John Foley, Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. John and his team help lead dealers to marketing success. Their approach includes consulting with dealers on marketing and sales techniques, writing strategic online marketing plans to get dealers on a path to online and social success, and John frequently speaks about selling with social media. Learn more about John at JohnFoleyJr.com, and his companies at interlinkONE.com and GrowSocially.comDC

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