Last Friday, Barrett Sydnor and I attended the Freelance Exchange of Kansas City luncheon where Kansas City's inimitable Shelly Kramer shared her ideas on social media, ROI, and how individuals in small, freelance businesses can benefit from smartly used social media strategies. Shelly voiced a number of fundamental points relevant for both those just getting started on social media and for businesses who have been at it for several years:
Nothing's more important than your website.
Your website is your "online business home," and before diving out into social media, it's fundamental to make sure your website is ready for visitors.
Easy to find websites are critical to successful marketing efforts.
As Shelly puts it, you need to view Google and Facebook as clients. Just as you want clients to know where you are, these two powerful forces in search / inbound marketing need to be regularly updated on where your business is online. You do that with a well-implemented website and a strong search engine optimization strategy.
"Websites need to be fed like you feed your kids."
Part of making your website findable is keeping it replenished with new content, or in Shelly's words, "Fresh content makes search engines happy." What's the best excuse for introducing new social media content to a website? You guessed it, blogging, thus Shelly's frequently repeated exhortation for attendees to suck it up, make the time, and start blogging.
Most web visitors are lurkers - remember the silent majority.
Shelly reminded everyone that 90% of the people visiting your blog are lurkers, i.e. they're watching you but not participating in the online conversation. Nevertheless, they may be potential buyers even before they're commenting on your blog. Create content that helps expand their perspectives and understanding of what your business can offer.
Attention needs to be paid to LinkedIn.
As the biggest business site, Shelly said one of her objectives for 2011 is to spend more time with LinkedIn. She encouraged the group to make sure personal and business profiles are current. Additionally, the Groups and LinkedIn Questions and Answers functions provide strong networking opportunities for businesses.
"Nobody cares about your business more than you do."
It's up to small business owners to invest the effort and dollars to grow their businesses.You don't really have any excuses if you fail to step up to the challenge.
Shelly Kramer provided a valuable, fast-paced hour of content sure to energize attendees' marketing efforts and to get them to say, "Hello" to blogging for their businesses! – Mike Brown
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