Technology

Get Into The Social Swing Of Business

Martin Romjue
Posted on November 4, 2011
Personal branding expert Dan Schwabel brought his Generation Y expertise on maximizing social media for business success to the LCT Leadership Summit.

Personal branding expert Dan Schwabel brought his Generation Y expertise on maximizing social media for business success to the LCT Leadership Summit.

Personal branding expert Dan Schwabel brought his Generation Y expertise on maximizing social media for business success to the LCT Leadership Summit.
Personal branding expert Dan Schwabel brought his Generation Y expertise on maximizing social media for business success to the LCT Leadership Summit.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Welcome to “Me Inc.” It really is all about you — and your business.

In the digital social media, business owners must know how to command their marketing reach and reputations, all the time in real time, says Dan Schwabel, managing partner of Millennial Branding LLC. Operators need to put themselves out there and connect. “People want to do business with people they trust,” Schwabel, 28, told attendees gathered at the 2011 LCT Leadership Summit during a presentation on Sept. 13.

Schwabel, a leading entrepreneurial blogger, personal branding expert and author of “Me 2.0,” told industry operators and vendors they need to make their brands and companies unique in the ever-expanding digital, social media milieu. That mix now includes a website, blog, e-newsletter and/or e-promos, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — and that’s just for starters.

Operators should differentiate themselves by quality of service communicated via websites and social networking profiles. “What do people find out about you before they even call you? Put quality into everything you do, even the small things you don’t think about. Little things matter.”

Facebook in many ways has replaced the traditional “word of mouth,” Schwabel said. “Consistency builds brands, such as chauffeurs showing up each time on time. How are you coming off in customers’ eyes? How will they describe you? Is it positive? Facebook will be projected to more people than word of mouth.”

Schwabel outlined several ways social media is changing how operators are lowering their marketing costs and changing how they cast a wider Inter-net for more business. “If you rely on old media, it won’t always work for you,” Schwabel said. “It’s all about experimenting and building a brand via social media.”

13 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR ONLINE MEDIA SOCIAL PERSENCE NEXT PAGE

  • Be personable: “Tell stories. Sell around your company. Tell how you got started. Humanize your company. What else interests your target market that makes them want to follow you on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, and e-newsletter? Increase the probability of getting business. It’s becoming harder to make phone calls.”
  • Increase your engagement: “Consumers want to interact with your brand online. Address problems immediately. You need to stay on top of trends, the community and the media. The smarter you appear to your customer, the more it creates brand equity and value in the customer’s eyes. Wherever your customer is, you need to be there.”
  • Identify your brand: What is your brand? Find out how others perceive you. That needs to match up. Create a niche for yourself.
  • Have a personal blog: Get multiple contributors or several blogs. A company that taps contributions from several employees will grow faster. “If you start a blog, you have to commit for a long period of time. Don’t start one and then drop it. It will make you look bad and lose contact with followers. “Your company is promoted anyway, so give information and content that people treat as a resource and find useful,” Schwabel says. “Brand yourself as an expert and advisor.”
  • Website: Contact information always should be on top. Testimonials are very important. Integrate with a blog. Include calls to action, such as getting price quotes or making a reservation. Use clear messages, simple forms, and simple designs. Avoid distracting background music. “Music is torture.”
  • Communication: Don’t just push messages out; try to pull people in with useful content and information. Get people interested so they follow your website. When people want limousine service, they should think of you.
  • Search words/SEO: Choose keywords, titles and tags that rank highly on search engines. “The more you do that, the more you will rank high for those words in search engines.”
  • Facebook: Post interesting, unusual, and engaging items, such as travel information, cool and unusual limousines, community-based information, etc. Facebook updates should not say “buy our product.” Provide value for people so they take an interest in you and your company. Facebook advertising is micro-targeted, so users can do it by zip code. “As long as you know the customer, you can appeal to them with services. Segment down to exact people you want to target. Test it with different ads.”
  • Twitter: Should be very simple, targeted and localized — full of small things that are useful and promote events. Retweet other users’ tweets. Contests build a lot of buzz.
  • LinkedIn: It is the top social network to tap. Search for people who would be targets in your market. Referrals will always win. LinkedIn makes it electronic.
  • YouTube videos: Make them fun, and showcase customers. Use the same keywords as on your blog and website, and include links with the video, which should be embedded on your website. Do not use techno music in videos.
  • Networking on multiple levels: Create a whole digital presence, with yourself as a company and individual. “The Internet is the new handshake. They Google you; if they like what they see, they take it a step further. More than half of people will Google you to see if they are interested and if they follow up.” Build relationships with strong sources, such as influential people in the marketplace and other bloggers. The best part of a blog is its freshness of content, and it keeps telling search engines what is new. “Google only cares about what’s new because it has to stay relevant as a search engine,” Schwabel says.
  • Content and reputation management: Search forums and Facebook posts to continuously monitor feedback and address it right away. Get a good sense of what’s being said about you. Google.com/reader and other feed-readers can track blogs and websites that interest you or your company to provide updates. “If people write negative things about you, those will go straight to the top,” Schwabel says.

With so much content and so many social media profiles out there, a comprehensive social media strategy will take months to develop and require hard work, Schwabel said. “It could take longer to break through the clutter, but you have to be creative and stay with it. People will see your attitude and that you care. You have to put a human name and face out there.”

Related Topics: business communication, internet applications, LCT Leadership Summit, marketing/promotions, Social Media, web marketing

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