NWLA Business Monthly - January 2013

Page 5



Building Your Brand ‘Out There’

Local Businesses Turning to Social Media For Marketing BY SEAN GREEN media allows businesses to

You have to promote yourself because no one is going to do it for you...Unless you’re on Facebook. That old adage when it comes to marketing — self promotion — is being expanded thanks to the explosion in popularity of social media. No longer do you have to promote yourself endlessly, when 15 seconds spent typing a message online can allow others to carry the load. This ease of use, short turnaround time, and wide reach is seeing social media quickly become indespensable in marketing across the web. Still, social media can’t seem to shake the “fad” tag. But in this post-PC, mobile world, businesses need to find all avenues to market themselves and social

get muscle behind their message. “A website is static and people have to come to you, but with social media you can go to the people,” said Robin Williams, Marketing Director for Holiday Lanes in Bossier City. “It’s hyper marketing —you can fill the online world with your presWilliams ence and people will start seeing you.” Williams is a huge believer in social media and has used it to grow her employer’s image across several platforms in the community. “I wake up in the morning thinking about what I’m going to post,” she said. “I try to be fun and always have a

picture with my post to visually stimulate.” Amy Kinnaird, owner of UnCommonSense Marketing, advises businesses on marketing themselves for a living. She said the most important element when diving into social media is to have a strategy. “You have to be the fan you want others to be,” she said. “As an example, I want people to post on my Facebook page, like things, and share my posts. But if I’m not doing for that others, they won’t do it for me.” Williams suggests finding your niche — know your audience and what your product is to use social media effectively. “I don’t want it to be about me, I want it to be about what’s effective for our community,” said Williams. “It’s not always about bowling, it might be about a new business that opened up or an event at the skating rink.” Social media is great when

used to these means as a research tool — you can identify what type of content your audience wants, even to the point of performing queries of targeted keywords describing your product/service/issues to see what people are posting on their respective social media feeds. “I learn from things people post every day about my industry and clients,” said Kinnaird. “Whether it’s using the poll function on Facebook or casting out facts, it’s that interaction that also (has an added benefit of) getting feedback and building your brand and loyalty.” Social media merges your business’ audience — employees, customers, shareholders — allowing everyone to read the same communications instantly. “It’s all about building relationships and that’s where the transparency (on social media sites) comes from,” said Kinnaird. “We like to buy from people we

trust.” Williams suggests keeping your audience broad, but cultivating an appropriate one. “Follow your audience and listen to what they’re saying because it gives you clues about what their needs might be,” said Williams. In her view, businesses who are most effective with their social media create a buzz where people want to see what is coming next. “I watch local people in my industry, follow them and emulate what they’re doing. I try to find things that are fun, and what people are intersted in,” said Williams. But she warns to be careful about how much you post and when. If you get too excited, it can lead to aggravation for your customers. “It’s hard to know that fine line where to limit posts. Some days have so much going on I want to tell everyone about it, but even though

See Social Media, Page 6

BUSINESS MONTHLY| January 2013 | 5

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