Business Growth through Social Media

How to Use Web 2.0 and Social Media Tools to Build Customer Trust and Convert it to Sales
I recently talked to small business owners in Mt. Airy, MD about how to use social media tools to attract customers (article link here). I repeat the main points here for other business owners who may want to know about how to use these very, very powerful tools to attract customers and create a long-lasting relationship with them based on mutual trust.
Main tip: Use Twitter and all the ever-expanding Twitter tools to make your business grow.
What are social media tools
  • They’re fun.
  • They create a social story…not a technology story.
  • Web 2.0 tools and social media tools, when used in concert (social media starfish), can develop relationships with customers, increase trust between a business and customers, and convert those relationships to sales.
  • Web 2.0 tools are created and posted online to create, collaborate and share information with others.
  • Every business has a community around it…use it!
  • The Positive: These social media tools are very powerful (Twitter, for example). We can revolutionize the way that we communicate with customers using these tools to form better, stronger, and richer relationships.
  • The Negative: Someone does not like your business or product they can broadcast it very widely…and the negative comment stays out there a very long time.
  • By using a “starfish” approach: business owners and employees create user-friendly blogs, connect (via Mogulus, FriendFeed, Qik, Seemic, and Twitter with brightkit for quick notes, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Broadband Mechanics, etc. for longer talks), keep notes digitally (via Livescribe), create new products (greenplug, bug labs), post relevant products to social media (ping.fm, flickr, YouTube), and post creative outreach videos (on You Tube Facebook, Mogulus tv) to collaborate with customers.
  • Robert Scoble’s Social Media Starfish is a diagram that provides a representation of some of the current Web 2.0 and social media tools. The most important concept in this diagram is “conversions.” If these social media tools are used correctly, they convert buyers into willing, passionate, and loyal customers with larger, deeper, and more extensive relationships.
Most importantly, they buy from you over and over again.
The companies, social media, and other Web 2.0 tools shown here change constantly. You need to keep up with those changes…especially, “The Cloud.”
Find Scoble’s latest finds at:

Why use social media tools
  • To compete successfully, you can use these Web 2.0 and social media tools to your advantage to leverage world-class products into world-class relationships.
  • These tools can be used to build, to support, and to keep business relationships strong and long lasting.
  • There is a very large return on investment (ROI) as these tools are (mostly) free.
  • These tools eliminate the geographic barriers that have restricted relationships between a business and customers sharing a common interest.
  • These tools are very disruptive and can bring benefits or problems for a business.
  • You need to join the conversation for the best chance of making sure these social medial tools are beneficial…your competitors certainly are using them.
  • Aggregators like FriedFeed, Linkedin, Viewzi, Indeed, etc. are very powerful. Use them.
  • YOU are your best aggregator. Choose your Web 2.0 tools wisely.
The best way to see the application of these tools can be used is to see Robert Scoble’s video which can be found here: http://scobleizer.com/?s=starfish
Find a review of social media guidebook Naked Conversations on my blog http://poetslife.blogspot.com/search/label/4%20Robert%20Scoble.
I recommend you stay current with his business analysis. To do so, visit http://scobleizer.com/ and Fast Company’s website.

How to use social media tools
  • Every small business owner can create a business blog, a Facebook page, and Twitter account (with brightkit) and stay current on social media (talk to your kids)
  • Set up video networks (Facebook, Qik, Seesmic, Mogulus, Broadband Mechanics) to communicate inside and outside.
  • Mine Scoble’s ideas and follow him on FastCompany and www.scobalizer.com
  • Track, identify and use other Web 2.0 and social media tools to benefit your business (Blog Squad, for example)
  • Use viral marketing (that is, generate friends in social media that translates into more customers and sales)
  • Social technology is evolving rapidly
  • Benefit now by identifying what is useful for your future growth
Robert Scoble spoke at Davos about social media The legs of the social media starfish as defined by Scoble include the following:
  • Blogs. Blogger. Wordpress. Blogspot.
  • Photos. Flickr. Smugmug. Zooomr. Photobucket. Facebook.
  • Videos. YouTube. Kyte. Seesmic. Facebook. DivX
  • Social networks. Facebook. BluePulse. MySpace. Hi5. Plaxo. LinkedIn. Bebo. Ping.fm. Twitter. brightkits
  • Events (face to face kind). Upcoming. Eventful. Zvents. Facebook. Meetup.
  • Email. Integration through Bacn.
  • White label social networks. Ning.
  • Wikis. Twiki. Wetpaint. PBWiki. Atlassian. SocialText.
  • Search: viewzi.
  • Audio. Podcasting networks. BlogTalkRadio. Utterz. Twittergram. 11.Microblogs. Twitter. Pownce. Jaiku. Utterz. Tumblr. FriendFeed. Twing.
  • SMS. Services that let organizations build SMS into their social media starfishes.
  • Collaborative tools. Zoho. Zimbra. Ning. Google’s documents and spreadsheets.
  • Aggregator tools: FriendFeed. Google Reader. Viewzi. Ping.fm.

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