Five Social Media Tools You Need to Know About To Help Grow Your Business

Social Media Marketing ToolsWe all have come to realize – unless you’ve been living under a rock – that social media is getting really big. Small to large businesses have all experienced the effects social media bring. However, realizing this fact doesn’t mean you should go out and immediately start a blog or a fan page on Facebook – although it is a good idea. Knowing everything pertinent to your business is always top priority, and whether you’d like to or not, you need to be aware of the five social media tools you can’t afford to ignore.

1. Twitter. Twitter is now one of the hottest social sites everyone and their friends are raving about. I admit, Twitter can be a bit of a puzzle when you’ve never used it before. The easiest way to understand it is likening it to IM or instant messaging. The difference though, is that with Twitter, you can talk to different people all at the same time. Kind of like a cross between IM and a chat room, only thing is you have more control over what and whose messages or “tweets” you see.

Why you can’t ignore it: Real time communication with your customers is possible with Twitter. Meaning if suddenly, for some reason or other, your main site goes down, there’s a possibility your customers will be discussing it on Twitter. If you don’t talk to them and address the issue, they will probably talk about that on Twitter as well. Someone has said to consider Twitter as "Word of mouth on steroids”, which can be both beneficial and harmful to your company.

Actions you need to take: Begin monitoring Twitter. You can do this while you’re doing the monitoring for blog mentions about your company and product. See how your patrons interact with each other on the site and be familiar with the common topics they’re discussing. This can be greatly beneficial to your business and can help prevent issues with your customers in the future. For instance, a customer has an issue with your product or service and tweeted about it. If you’re not there to make that customer feel better, there are other companies that will be more than willing to do just that.

2. Google Sidewiki. Google Sidewiki is a browser sidebar that lets you contribute and read information alongside any web page. Any webpage. That means any site can be social. If you have unhappy customers, they can leave a comment directly on your site stating all their grievances. The same thing goes with satisfied customers. You can also share the comments via other social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, or even send them through email.

This is a relatively new tool, and as time passes there are surely going to be other tools that will play off the main function Sidewiki is for. The point is that you need to be aware of the implications this add-on can have on your business.

Why you can’t ignore it: With Sidewiki, every website can now be commented on. And I mean, every single one. Even your competitors can leave comments criticizing your brand. Do you have a blog that doesn’t allow comments? Doesn’t matter because now your readers can still comment “on” your blog.

Actions you need to take: Add Google Sidewiki to your browser. When you’ve installed it, check out your site, your blog, and social sites and see if there have been comments on any of those pages.

Eventually, you’ll have to come up with ways to respond to comments left about your webpages since this tool will probably be a very popular one. Remember, if you don’t find out how, your competitors will. It’s best to cover all your bases.

3. Facebook. real estate internet marketing outsourcing solutionSome social media consultants balk at the idea of planning your social media strategy around a Facebook fan page. However, most of them also acknowledge the fact that with the increasing number of users (now over 300 million members), Facebook demands attention marketers can’t afford to brush aside.

Why you can’t ignore it: Facebook has a lot to offer to its members. Individuals can create social profiles and groups that center around a specific interest where they can share opinions and latest news. And companies can create a fan page that serves as a forum for their customers. With people – especially those under 40 – using Facebook as their main social site, businesses are well-advised to make use of its tools.

Actions you need to take: Adapt to this popular social networking site. Join Facebook, create a page – both for you and your business – then take the time to check out the features it offers. Make sure to take a look and see if any of your competitors are on the site. If they’re not, make use of their absence to appeal to your target market, and if they are, see if Facebook works well with them. And, of course, be sure to see if your customers are active on Facebook. Be social. Be curious.

4. Google Reader. If you have subscriptions to blogs, message boards, or other sites that offer a feed of their content, there’s no question that you should seriously consider using Google Reader as your feed reader. You get to have a very effective monitoring system for your business by subscribing to searches that has a connection with the business you’re in.

Why you can’t ignore it: Aside from being a feed reader, Google Reader also functions almost like a social site. For one thing, you can share any item/article/post you have on your Google Reader with people following you. And for another, you also get to share that item/article/post on social sites that matter, like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, FriendFeed, etc.

Actions you need to take: Even if you’re using another feed reader, it is still totally worth it to give Google Reader a try. The social elements on it make it more useful and convenient. For instance, when a post is written and you see it through your subscription on Google Reader, you will be able to see how many people ‘Liked’ the post, who those people are, and what they said. Google Reader is a very useful way of knowing how the posts you write resonate with others.

5. FeedBurner. In the feed-management area, FeedBurner is undoubtedly the dominant force. It is a must-use for anyone with a personal or company blog.

Why you can’t ignore it: FeedBurner lets you dispense, manipulate, and track the feed for your blog or site. It also allows you to promote and share. Readers are even permitted to email you directly from the feed. FeedBurner is a most useful tool when you want to track the popularity of the content you have on your site and helps you find out which content on your site gets clicked on more than the others.

Actions you need to take: Start an account on FeedBurner and try burning a feed for your blog or site using it. A Google account is needed, but as one has already been created for your Sidewiki and Google Reader, there’s no problem. After creating an account, focus your attention on the statistics connected with your feed. Pay close attention to the number of subscriptions.

With all these changes that social media has been going through, never forget that more changes are still expected. Some of the items on this article, or even this entire article, might not be useful anymore a couple of months from now.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with social media is to always be prepared for change rather than just reacting to it.

Thinking of taking advantage of these social media tools to get your business more exposure, and as a result, more revenue, but no time to do it? Hire a virtual assistant to help give you the advantage.

Was this page helpful? Votes are Noticed and Appreciated
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Live

Leave a Reply