Expert's Opinion

Promoting by Engaging

By Todd Wickersty, Business Bullpen | December 21, 2009

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter get you closer to your customer, explains Todd Wickersty of Business Bullpen.

Every organization is jumping into social media as another tool to market their brand. However, too many companies are jumping in head first without a plan because it takes very little time and effort to build your presence on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Once you build your Facebook page, open your twitter account, and/or publish your LinkedIn profile, you must be prepared to engage your customers, potential customers, followers, fans, and critics on your new turf. You know the line, "Real estate is all about location, location, location?” Well, in social media it's all about engaging, engaging, engaging. You have to be responsive by replying to twitter mentions or Facebook wall posts, but the most successful social media players are proactive in engaging their followers. They help to increase the perception and awareness of their brand by reaching out to their customers and potential customers using social media in a proactive manner. You also have to make sure that the interaction online is genuine and natural. It cannot be forced or appear planned otherwise the message will not be received positively, thus impacting your brand.

I am going to spend my first few articles on providing tips on how you can proactively engage others on the major social media sites.

LinkedIn is the most identifiable professional social networking site, and over the past year LinkedIn has implemented new features designed for companies and for more interaction between users.

Has your company set up a company profile on LinkedIn yet?

If not, it's simple to do and can be used as "brochure" material for sales opportunities or recruiting resources. LinkedIn also offers premium company profilesthat enable companies to target their message to specific constituents along with other features.

Have you subscribed to any LinkedIn groups or started your own?

Groups can give you and your organization an opportunity to engage and network with others. LinkedIn groups allow members to post messages about the group topic that can be emailed to all of the other group members (depending on each member's settings). You have the option to participate by commenting on the messages or starting your own. Participating in the group conversation is an opportunity to market your brand. If you can help answer a question, solve a problem, provide guidance or an opinion in a respectful and helpful manner, then you are making a positive impression on others in the group. The more you do, the more well-known you and your brand will become, which will give you a leg up on the competition.

If you haven't tried out LinkedIn's groups feature yet, I recommend you join the Happi LinkedIn group <> .

About the Author:
N. Todd Wickersty is co-owner of Business Bullpen, a web application development, design, and online marketing firm in Charlottesville, VA. Before starting his own business, Todd spent most of his career helping sales and operations teams get the most out of technology at Accenture, America Online, and Live Nation/Musictoday. His ability to bridge the gap between business and technology has enabled him to successfully grow Business Bullpen into a web solutions firm that clients can trust and rely upon. Todd holds a MBA with a concentration in InformationTechnology from Virginia Tech along with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies.You can find him online at Linkedin and on Twitter.

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