I get asked this question all the time.  Clients who have trouble making the rent much less paying the Internet guy, can do many different things to increase the bottom line… online.  The Internet is filled with a ton of places that people gather on a daily basis.  Think about it.  Here are the top 20 social media sites as of today (Not in any particular order):

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Google Plus+
  4. Instagram
  5. Pinterest
  6. Tumblr
  7. YouTube
  8. LinkedIn
  9. Deviant Art
  10. Live Journal
  11. Tagged
  12. Orkut
  13. Cafe Mom
  14. Ning
  15. MeetUp
  16. MyLife
  17. Yelp
  18. StumbleUpon
  19. Badoo
  20. Blogger

Which service you choose to use should reflect the type of business you run, along with the types of products you offer.  For example, let’s say that you run a tile company here in Southern California.  For the purposes of this article, let’s say that you have a basic website and a Facebook page that you post to every now and then.  If you came to me and asked me for help, my suggestion would be as follows:

  1. First and foremost, you need to make sure that you are having regular updates to your website performed.  Hosts like Ecom Diversified Technologies have basic plans that are affordable and provide for monthly updates to your website.  Product highlights are often a good way of attracting people to your website along with coupon specials monthly.
  2. If you are serious about your business, you need to show your potential customers that you are.  Your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts must reflect that.  If you have not posted in months, it shows people that you are running a part-time business out of your garage, or that you have taken the last few months off.  People need to see you out there posting at least 4 to 5 times a week, if not daily.   There seems to be a misunderstanding of what constitutes a post as well.  You don’t always have to talk directly about your products or services, but you do want it to somewhat tie into your products or services. in some manner.  Here is what I mean.  There is nothing wrong with posting to your social media page the following, “It is a wonderful morning today coming into the office.  The sunrise down here by the beach was incredible.”   You have given them the idea that you run a tile store near the beach.  Your next post later in the day should be something along the lines of a new tile line that was released by one of your vendors.  For example, Arizona Tile just released a new line of products this year and there are some bold dark colors such as the all new “black fantasy deep black”, and show a picture of the product.  Don’t forget to mention that you have them available and can ship it to them or drop shipped to their installer.  Whatever the circumstance may be.  This is a daily effort to not only let your visitors know that you are there for them, they will see your previous posts and know that you are ALWAYS there.
  3. Pinterest is a social media site that is almost entirely dedicated to visual emotions.  You open an account, and build yourself a wall of products pictures that will visually appeal to others.  It is a great way to entice people to participate in your visual stimulation of sorts.  This is a perfect place to show product installation pictures such as a beautiful new tiled kitchen or bath, or maybe even that beautiful waterfall swimming pool outdoors that was just built and tiled.  Each one of these pictures can have a link to wherever you want them to go.  If you want them to go back to your Facebook page, great.  You can also have them go back to pictures of your showroom on the website.  One way or another, you want them to call you.  Therefore, getting them to a page that has your phone number is the best way to do this.
  4. Twitter can be useful in any business.  However, most people use it incorrectly.  Your posts on Twitter should always be about directing the visitors to a page that gives them more information about a product or service that you offer.  For example, “We just added a ton of new pics to our Pinterest wall.  Check them out at:”.  Granted, if you want to keep people coming back, every now and then use it to announce your sales, such as “15% off all Arizona Tile This Weekend Only”, and so on.  Social Media experts used to say that making your wall all about business will distract business.  This is not true.  People are subscribing to your content because they are interested in your products, not because they are interested in you talking about how the Anaheim Ducks are going to make it to the playoffs again this year.  If that were the case, they would subscribe to the team page instead.

    instagram example

    Instagram Tile Company Example

  5. Instagram is just another perfect form of Pinterest meets Facebook.  Instagram is all about pictures.  If you sell tile, like in this example, it is a perfect way to show your potential customers what that tile will look like if installed in their home.  There is no better way to reach 175 million people… through visual stimulation.  Remember, people buy emotionally.  If you get them emotionally involved with your product, they buy.  A good example of a tile company Instagram account is shown here on the right side of the page.  I have removed the company name, as this article is not intended as an endorsement for any particular product or service.  Instagram achieves results.  We have seen it with many of our clients selling products.  Get new pictures of your showroom, your client installations, product manufacturer pictures, etc. and post them daily!  When you post, describe the photo in short descriptions and give them hashtags.  If you do not understand hashtags, search Google for a better definition.  In simple terms, a hashtag is one or two word descriptors about your post.  If I was posting a tile picture from Classic Tile & Design, Hermosa Beach’s top selling tile company, the hashtags for that picture would more than likely be “#classictile #classictiledesign #hermosabeach #tile #topselling #mustsee #love #beautiful” or something similar.   If you are a Ecom client, let us know if you need assistance setting up your account and posting.  That is what we are here for!
  6. Making some of this happen depends on continual interaction with your customers.  However, in doing so, potential new customers see that you are posting pictures of a new kitchen install for the Smith family and realize that you followed them all of the way through the installation and have asked them for pictures so that you can brag about their purchase from YOU.   Everyone wants that type of customer service.  It also requires additional time from you, the business owner, outside of the normal 8 to 5 however.  But remember, your potential customers see these details about your business and they react positively.

    Poor Use of Social Media Icons

    Poor Use of Social Media Icons

  7. Once you have gone through the process to setup your social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and others, make sure that you go through each of these and leave links back to your website as well as to each of the other social media places.  This will allow your potential customers to see that you are working hard on your business and want them to see it.   Just don’t make the mistake of creating those links and making it difficult for your visitors to understand them.  Use Facebook’s authorized logo and company branding, along with Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and others.  On the right side is an example of poorly designed social media icons.  They look good in terns of the page, but they not only do not stand out, they are difficult to understand what they represent.  Granted, the Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest icons are understandable, but they don’t stand out.  The rest are a poor representation of anything.
  8. Make sure that you use your website as a landing page to the links you establish on social media sites.  It will drive traffic back to your website and to your contact page where people will call you.  This also means using your website as a place to upload installation pictures, showroom pictures, and manufacturer product pictures (using the tile example).
  9. BE PREPARED TO DO THIS FOR 90 DAYS BEFORE YOU START ACHIEVING RESULTS.  This can not be said enough.  The results may be immediate in some areas, but do not get disappointed and stop simply because you made 20 to 30 posts to social media and you are not getting calls.  It takes a while for things to change, especially in this economy.  If you are selling products directly from your website, you also need to make sure that your pricing is competitive with your competition.  People price shop EVERYTHING nowadays!  Competing on the Internet is much different than competing with stores just in your local area of business.  Generally speaking, a typical consumer can get pricing on products from 10-15 stores within ten minutes of looking on Google.  Shipping costs are also just as important to the consumer as your pricing.  If you are the least expensive store online for your products but charge twice the shipping costs, people will shop elsewhere.

Understand that these are just the basics of what you need to do to promote your business online.  This is also what YOU can do without much intervention from your web development company.   I would suggest that any images that you add to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others, are designed by someone who has a good amount of experience in Photoshop or other applicable program.  You always need to make sure that the professional looking appearance that you give to your potential customer is equally important as the message itself.  Ecom can design professional looking graphics for your social media sites using many of the graphics you currently use on your website now.  We can do this inexpensively and quickly.

In the next few weeks, I will get into more detail on how to use various websites, starting with Instagram. Keep your eye out on this page. I will provide proven methods that you can use to be more successful.  Just remember, creating these pages and maintaining them daily is a process.  There are programs out there that also assist you in creating posts ahead of time and having them post on particular days of the week.  Do a search n Google to locate them.  Tumblr and Blogger allow you to queue posts in advance, up to a specific limit.

If you are interested in having one of our experts assist you in putting your social media accounts together, give us a call. You can reach us directly at 714-202-7738. We can help you get the accounts established and can even set up a maintenance plan to post on your behalf daily.  We have several options available.

You can also leave us a message or reach us via chat by clicking on the link tab on the left side of this page.

Thank you for your time.

Mark Temte