Building an Engaged Audience on Twitter

Twitter is one of the most powerful social networking websites, and it is also one of the most effective ways for you to get the word out about your business to a wide pool of people without having to pay for advertising space. Twitter is free for businesses and individuals, and at this time there are over 974 million active user accounts.  Once you master using Twitter to your business’s best advantage, you’ll be on your way to building a much larger audience that will convert into sales.

Find Your Target Audience

There are thousands of people on Twitter who are looking for exactly the products and services you are offering, but how do you find them? The majority of Twitter users will check out your profile before they will follow you, so it’s crucial to create an eye-catching profile that will make people want to hear more of what you have to say. Research has shown that people respond more positively to a photo of a smiling face than to an impersonal corporate logo, so it’s important that you include a photo of yourself looking your best if you want to be seen as a person they will be interacting with rather than a potential source of spam from a faceless corporation.

Create Content that Matters

Twitter users can be fickle, and if your posts aren’t engaging they will quickly move on to something else that does capture their attention. When you Retweet posts, add your own comments to make yourself an active part of the content instead of just passing it along as-is. It is also helpful to Retweet your own content, as Twitter moves so fast that many people on your list of followers probably missed your Tweet the first time around. You’ll notice what type of content is resulting in positive interactions and Retweets through trial and error, and eventually you will be able to pinpoint the type of content that is working the best for you.

Link to Your Twitter Account

Twitter offers users a number of ways to easily add links and buttons to other blogs, websites, and social networking sites you may be using to promote your business. You’ve spent time building a following on other sites, and now is your chance to use your existing audience to your best advantage of Twitter. By linking your Twitter account to your other online accounts, you’ll increase your exposure across the board and draw people who are already following your posts on other sites to your Twitter account so they can see and potentially share even more of your content to their followers.

The Etiquette of Tweets and Retweets

You can enter search terms that are relevant to your business into Twitter’s search function to find posts from users that are related to your products and services and then join in the conversation by mentioning the original poster. This will connect you to their follwers and to other users who may be looking for the same topics. Reposting other people’s posts is also a great way to get people to repost your content. When you are actively engaging with other Twitter users, you are maximizing your opportunities to exposure to new followers who may also repost you to others if they see you practicing reciprocal posting as well.

Leveraging LinkedIn to Build Your Brand

When people are ready to get serious about business, they turn to LinkedIn first. This website has over 380 million members, and if you utilize the features it offers to their fullest potential it will open up a world of possibilities for your company. There was a time when LinkedIn functioned primarily as a place you would visit to post your resume or to look for employees, but today they have added many new ways for people to connect and it is now the third most visited social media website. Once you begin using this site to promote your business you will find it presents a wealth of opportunities to strengthen and grow your brand.

 

Why LinkedIn?

This social network is unique because people come here specifically to conduct business. Unlike sites such as Facebook, where you would create a separate profile for your professional interests, here your personal profile will be the face of your company. This will give you an ideal opportunity to connect directly with your viewers, who may provide opportunities to generate new business and to interact with others who are also related to your field. You’ll also be able to add the members of your team so other site users will be able to see that you are all actively engaged with your brand and increase your visibility.

 

Creating a Personal Brand

When it comes to creating an eye-catching profile that your customer base will respond to, the details matter. Your headline and your profile are the first things your audience will see, so you’ll want to make sure they are the very best they can be. Members with profile photos get 14 times more profile views than those without, so you’ll want to choose an image that is clear and professional. Your profile is your chance to tell your personal story, which will let people know why you are a trusted resource for information who has the skills and experience they’ll be able to depend on.

 

Linking to Other Sites

By linking your LinkedIn profile to other major social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, you will make it easier for your target market to find you as well as giving your brand more exposure. The more connections you form between other heavily trafficked sites and LinkedIn the more chances you will have to generate new business and to promote new products. Any time you post to these websites you should be asking yourself, “How can I connect this post to my LinkedIn?” If you don’t, you will be missing out on valuable opportunities that could help your business to grow.

 

You’re the Expert

There are many ways you can use LinkedIn to establish your business and create your brand, and one of the best is by encouraging people to ask questions. When you provide people with accurate and helpful information about the products and services your business offers you will demonstrate your expertise, which will help to build your brand and to attract the attention of your target market, who will turn to you when they need answers. This site offers many opportunities for you to interact with others including groups you can participate in that are related to your field. If you take advantage of all of the features this important social networking website has to offer, you will soon be on your way to becoming a trusted leader in your industry.

How to Start an Online Business

An increasing number of businesses are forgoing costly storefronts entirely by going directly to the online business model. When you offer products and services online, you will have a much wider potential customer base than you would have in any physical store, and you will also have more economical and more convenient marketing and advertising opportunities available to you. If you’ve dreamed of opening your own online business, there are several factors you’ll need to take into consideration before you begin.

Which Type is Right for You?

There are many different types of online businesses, and choosing the one that is right for you is crucial to your business’s success. Depending on the type of products or services you are offering, you may choose to open an direct eCommerce site, an etsy store, an ebay store, or a simple website with a shopping cart if you are offering services that will need to be paid for online but you do not sell any physical products. Ebay and etsy have a great deal of traffic, and they offer free and paid options for getting word about your products out to the people who may be interested in them. An eCommerce site is a great option for anyone who wants a great deal of control over their shop’s function and appearance.

Your Business Plan

Any great business begins with an outstanding business plan. This should include market analysis, projected budgets, sources of funding, and breakdowns of how much you’ll need to sell in order to see a profit. How will you market and promote your business? Who will be your target market? How much will you need to set aside for taxes? What do you need to do to register your business and make it legal? These and many other questions will need to be included in your plan before you open up shop.

Designing Your Website

One thing you’ll need to keep in mind when you are designing your site is that you’ll have fewer than five seconds to grab a customer’s attention. Keeping things simple and making your site easy to navigate will make your site customer friendly and will increase the likelihood people who find your site will stay and shop. You’ll need to purchase a URL for your business as well as any software you may need to get off the ground, and if you think your site would benefit from professional design consider looking into the cost of hiring a graphic design professional, who is trained in using visual marketing to maximize sales potential.

Locating and Retaining Customers

Locating and retaining high quality customers who will convert from web surfers into loyal and repeat buyers will take a little research and trial-and-error, but the results of your hard work will pay off. Using hashtags, social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and using search engines such as Google are all great ways to begin finding the Internet users who are interested in the services and goods you are providing. By offering your viewers high quality content, by taking advantage of all free and paid marketing options these sites offer you, and by interacting with your viewers and using every opportunity to showcase your superior customer service skills, you will develop a reputation that will help to increase your sales by showing your clients that your business is one they can count on.

First Steps in Determining Your Brand’s Direction

Whether for yourself or for your business, it is crucial to spend time carefully crafting and developing your brand. How you manage your brand and what steps you take to protect your brand’s image and to steer it in a positive direction can make or break your business, so it’s important to take a lot of time considering exactly how you wish to present yourself, and to whom. Your desired client base will consider your brand name to be synonymous with the positive or negative attributes of the experiences they have had with your products or what they have heard about your company.

What is a Brand?

Your brand is the way you present and market yourself so that when people hear your name, they will associate it with products and services they desire. When your business or products have been effectively branded, the sight of your name or even your logo will immediately call certain factors into mind, such as quality, reliability, or even popularity. Your brand will help shape your business’s reputation and set it apart from competitors, and it can also be used to attract new customers who are in need of a products like those you are offering so you can increase your client base and ultimately your sales.

How to Get Started

When you are ready to begin the process of developing and fine-tuning your brand, there are several factors you will first need to take into account. These include your mission statement, the image you will use to make your brand instantly recognizable, what content you will provide to your viewers that will promote a positive image of your brand, and who your target audience will be. Every brand has its own personality, and you’ll need to choose branding that will make your business’s personality shine through. It’s important to remember to remain flexible during this process, because you will need to adjust to the trends and the times and to your clients’ evolving needs.

Protecting Your Brand

Once a brand has been tarnished, restoring its reputation can be an arduous process that may or may not succeed, so it’s important to steer your brand’s image in the direction you want it to go before the Internet takes the wheel for you. Protecting your brand can include but it not limited to: specifying how your employees are permitted to respond to inquiries about your brand online, or even if they are allowed to respond at all; using negative reviews as opportunities to showcase your customer service skills; registering and trademarking your name and the name of your products; and refusing to engage in negative interactions.

Using Branding to Maximize Sales

There are many benefits to having a strong brand, and one of the leading benefits is the opportunity to  reach and even increase your full sales potential. You can associate your brand with traits such as affordability, popularity, or reliability, and you can also tweak your brand’s image to catch the attention of a new client base. Branding can also be used to differentiate your product from your those of your competitors, or to signify a change that reflects new technology or innovations that may result in your new and existing client base looking forward to purchasing the latest version of your products. More than anything, your brand is a way to make your customers feel great about giving their hard-earned money to you.