Finding Customers 1,000 Miles From Home. It's As Easy as 1-2-3


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One of the complaints I hear often, particularly from small companies, is “No one knows who we are outside a radius of 60 miles from our plant.” But what if I said that social media was exactly the tool to help companies increase their reach; that is the number of people that know about the company?

Let’s look at three ways social media can increase a company’s reach:

Social Media Turns Strangers Into Followers

The fundamental idea is that people use social media to do research and to find answers to questions they have. If you have the answers to those questions, you can develop followers. Most companies that get involved with social media mess it up completely. They just patch together a bunch of sales pitches or posts about what a great company they are, which guarantees zero interest. If I have a problem with design constraints with my next widget, hearing about a 10% limited time offer from you is not going get you added to my “companies I need to follow” list.

Social Media Promotes Sharing: Brand Awareness on Steroids

Let’s say a company puts out a series of interesting articles that really strike a chord with a reader. And that reader is impressed enough they decide to share those articles with their extended social media circle. That circle may include 1,000 Facebook fans, 500 LinkedIn connections, another 500 blog subscribers, and 800 Twitter followers. Our company has now been exposed to all kinds of potential customers that it otherwise would not have been. Here’s an example: I wrote a blog post about a salesperson who had great success using LinkedIn for sales. I wrote a status update on LinkedIn with a link back to my post on my website. A LinkedIn status update can be seen by your connections. In my case, I have just under 2,000 connections. Some of those connections shared it with their connections--people well outside my personal network. In the end, hundreds of people all over the world read my column and I made a lot of new business connections with people I never would have known unless my connections had shared my post outside my own network. All through the power of sharing using social media. The amount of work required by me? Two hours writing one good post.

Social Media Creates Virtuous Search Engine Side Effects

One of the best side effects of social media is on search engines. In general, search engines look for three things: Keywords, links, and new content. When a company links their website to their social media, it can have a huge impact on search engine rankings. Search engines are always looking for new content. That’s how they judge whether a website is relevant or not (this is one of the reasons that updating a website every couple of years has no real effect on search engine rankings. Search engines are looking for what you added today). So if a company has a blog on their website with a new post every week, and then has posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter leading back to that content, search engines like Google and Bing sit up and take notice. They think that with new links and new content that this website is more important and should appear higher in the search results. And the side effect of higher search rankings in better brand awareness and more visitors.

Social media is a tremendous tool for increasing visibility and brand name recognition. Use it and get the good word out.Bruce Johnston is a sales consultant specializing in social media and especially LinkedIn. He has over 25 years experience in high-tech sales and management. He can be reached at brucej@practicalsmm.com or through his profile on LinkedIn.

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