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Social Media 101 What business owners need to know

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Are you a business owner or organization that is wondering how to take advantage of the online world? Every day we hear about social media, but it sounds like a fad. You have been around long enough to know that hype is not a business plan. So what are the facts? We need to know where social media can help us, and not waste a lot of time. From a business owner's perspective, here is a simple explanation of what social media can or cannot do for you.

Facebook Likes

The basics...Let's start with Facebook, the most popular.

Facebook is great to keep in touch with friends and family. Content goes through a “news feed” allowing for commenting on your post to Facebook. Your friends may appreciate a picture you have uploaded to your Facebook page and comment, 'oh what a cute dog,”. You may respond to a friend's post and press the "like" button. When you “like” something the friends in your network see what you like, as this content goes into their news feed. This keeps everyone connected.

Business use... When a business sets up a site, they urge you to “like them”. The business wants to let your friends see you “like” their business, and are hoping with your friend's influence, you too will want to know what their business is about. If you check out the business and want to share it with your friends, you also “like” the business. The postings from the business will become part of your news feed, until you “unlike” them. We are told that is a big win, and is the object of all the FB excitement..

The question we need to ask is, does a Facebook page drive business sales? With rare exceptions, the answer is no. This is why...

-The biggest problem is FB content is usually superficial. There is very little space provided to present products or product solutions. As a result the best business postings are intended to create a teaser with a link to the business website to actually get any business done. Facebook is unable to fulfill the role of a well designed business website. Businesses who think they can use FB as a cheap website substitute find they pay dearly in terms of time invested and frustration. They can't understand why their friend's “likes” did not turn into sales!

-The next problem is the value of “likes” diminishes over time. Many people “like” something to please their friends, not because they have actually looked at what your business is about. That means your posts are not actually targeted to people likely to buy from you. More often, they are too busy to read what your Facebook page is sending them.

-The biggest problem of all, is that FB content is not search engine friendly! If you post information about a product you have to sell, your audience is very narrow, limited only to those who have liked you in past. This content is part of their news feed for several minutes, then it is gone! On the other hand, if you had a good website, your content would become visible whenever potential customers go looking for a supplier. When people are ready to buy, they “Google” the item, locate a seller and make the purchase by visiting the business storefront or your online store.

Conclusion? A good website will make your cash register ring. You need to be focus on how to direct traffic to your website.

This is the secret to online marketing. When people are ready to buy, Be Found! You should focus on that first.

A well designed digital storefront can accomplish that for you. What is a digital storefront? It is a digital addition to your brick and mortar storefront, that presents your website or listing when online searchers are looking to buy. Your digital store puts you where the online traffic is, and hopefully that becomes page one on most of the major search engines. Convenience has always been a major factor in buying decisions. Your digital store can deliver that in spades.

There are many types of social media available to you today. Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and all the others have their place, but are no substitute for a digital store. Everyone is online these days. Be sure your business captures the potential business from this all online traffic.

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