Promoting Your Brand with Social Media in 2012

If you have just started your business, or even if you have been in business for a while, it is still not too late to embrace the amazing promotion platform of social media. If you are new to social media, you may have questions about the best social media strategy to pursue. Here are some simple suggestions for effectively promoting your brand in the social media sphere:

Think About Your Brand First

Is your brand worth bragging about? Is your logo fresh and up to date? How about your website? Make sure you have something to shout about. Start with your logo. Does it have a professional look and feel to it? If not, you should think about redesigning your logo, which is a cornerstone of your business identity, before trying to implement a social media campaign. There are many cost effective logo maker sites online, such as Free Logo Services. Start with a smart logo, and the rest of your promotional efforts will reflect the image you desire.

Social Media 101: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube

Facebook

You will want to begin building out your social media presence with a Facebook page. If you already have a personal profile, you can easily set up a page for your business. You can add images, post updates, hold contests, and engage with your fans. Be sure to optimize your Facebook page with keywords that pertain to your business, as your Facebook page is searchable and people can find you through Google this way. A good rule is to post at least three times a week, and to attract as many “likes” as you can with an effective welcome page. You can offer a free report, newsletter, or other type of useful information to gather fans and build your email list.

Twitter

Twitter is a great way to gain a following by tweeting news, opinions, and re-tweeting content from other businesses and individuals you find interesting. Twitter is an effective marketing tool because tweets are limited to 140 characters, with shortened hyperlinks. With Twitter, you can promote specials, sales, updates, and links to your blog or other social media. One of the easiest ways to get others to follow you on Twitter is to tweet relevant content often. You can find content almost anywhere, from blogs, online periodicals, and newsfeeds.

Most web content will have a Twitter icon you can click on at the top or bottom of the page to re-tweet using a convenient interface like TweetMeme, for one. This displays as a pop-up window from which you can log in to Twitter, and the tweet appears already titled and hyperlinked. For maximum results, try to tweet several times a day, or at least a few times a week. When people follow you, it is a good idea to follow them back, unless they appear to be spammers or tweet unprofessional content (use of foul language, adult-type content, or non-business related). The more you tweet, the greater your following and Twitter clout.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has approximately 150 million users worldwide and is growing every day. LinkedIn is a rich resource for professionals because it only has business profiles. You can create an individual professional profile, and a company profile describing your products and services. By inviting others to join your LinkedIn network, you can find new business through referrals, introductions, and LinkedIn Groups. Your business page can be optimized, but need not be updated daily or several times a week, as with Facebook or Twitter.

YouTube

YouTube has been around for some time, but just recently got a facelift and better organized its content. More businesses are making short videos instead of or in addition to regular blogging. Videos are visually engaging and easier to glean information than having to sit down and read a one-page blog. You can choose what subject matter to present, and viewers can make comments about your videos. The goal is to attract subscribers to your channel by regularly posting relevant, interesting videos.

New Generation Social Media Sites

Google+

Fairly new to the scene, Google+ has quickly become a favorite of social networkers due to its user-friendly platform and “circles”. You can add anyone on Google+ to a circle, and then group these circles according to your association with that person: friends, acquaintances, colleagues, or just following. Google+ users fill out a profile describing who they are and what they do, and can make posts of their own content, or “+1” someone else’s content. You can actively promote your own website, blog, and other favorite resource sites from around the web.

Pinterest

For heavy users of social media, new kid on the block Pinterest is taking the social media universe by storm. Pinterest is basically an online “pinboard” where users (with a handy Facebook login interface) can create a profile and multiple “boards” such as “products to love” or “places to visit”.

You can entitle your pinboards anything you like. Users then “pin” links, photos, and other media to their chosen board. Each person can follow their Facebook friends who have joined Pinterest, or by exploring other profiles of people with similar interests. Although anyone can join, Pinterest has become an absolute favorite for brides, wedding planners, interior designers, photographers, and artists. Pinterest can function as an online product portfolio, highlight your events, accomplishments and awards, and show a more personal side of your business. Follow others that you are interested in doing business with, or who have boards that display synergistic content. Pinterest is an ideal platform for creating brand awareness with creative people.

There is a myriad of social networking and bookmarking sites on the web you can use to promote your brand. The key is to start with the heavy hitters that have the most traffic and can help you gain a loyal following. It is important to remember that when using social media, the best strategy is to engage your followers, not just promote yourself. By creating a dialogue with your customers and fans, your brand’s message will be spread far and wide across the social media world.

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