Using Social Media To Stay In Touch

Jaimee C. Niles & Pat Wedeking

If you think that phone calls and snail mail are the only ways to stay in touch with your clients and prospects, it’s time you moved into the e-marketing arena. Social media will help you expand your reach and solidify your business relationships without putting a dent in your marketing budget.

Twitter. When creating a Twitter identity, it’s all about showcasing your company’s personality while enhancing your credibility. Use a variation of your business name (LIFE’s Twitter handle is @LIFE_Foundation) and in the bio section, include information about your services, your identity and of course, your company website (for more Twitter tips, visit http://www.tinyurl.com/42qm62c).

Then tweet regularly—at least a few times a week—giving visitors useful bits of information. Keep in mind the 140-character tweet limit and use sites such as http://www.tinyurl.com to cut long unwieldy site addresses down to size.

Facebook. Create a business fan page where you can share information about your services and create a dialogue with people. LIFE’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/lifehappens.org) includes a range of content, from fun items such as the “Romance-O-Meter Quiz” to more serious content such as posts about the death of a loved one.

Post status updates on a regular basis so your fans see them in the news feed and can engage with you. Ask questions, post insurance-related reminders and announce upcoming events or significant news about the industry and your company (visit Carr Communications Inc. at http://www.tinyurl.com/3jnuwhe for more Facebook tips).

LinkedIn. This site is all about business—connecting with peers, clients and prospects as well as gaining media exposure. Start with an informative company profile (see LIFE’s profile at http://www.linkedin.com/company/233424). You can also solicit recommendations from your friends and business associates to include on your LinkedIn page.

Get connected by joining appropriate groups and participating in discussions that match your area of expertise. For more information, check out “How To Use LinkedIn To Generate Business” at http://www.tinyurl.com/2erb7ym.

YouTube. With YouTube, you can post videos that communicate your message and provide information to your market. But like the other forms of social media, it’s important to customize your channel so it supports your company’s brand and identity. LIFE’s YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/lifefoundation features a profile of the organization and links to its website and other social media identities as well as entertaining and informative videos.

If you’re just getting started with YouTube, you’ll find plenty of useful tips at Mashable’s Top 10 YouTube Tips for Small Businesses (http://www.tinyurl.com/345wuj3).

iPhone Apps. The advent of smartphones has spawned a wide range of apps, and companies are fast adopting them as another way to promote their services and improve their ability to serve their clients. For example, LIFE Foundation’s Life Insurance Needs Calculator (available for download through iTunes at http://www.tinyurl.com/3ntnjdc) is a great tool for insurance professionals to rely on during meetings with clients or prospects.

AT&T’s article, “Does Your Business Need an iPhone App?” (http://www.tinyurl.com/3kwuade) offers links to online app tools as well as questions to determine if it’s time for a smartphone app for your business.

Final Tips. When it comes to social media sites, interactivity is the key. Solicit comments and ask for feedback to engage your visitors. And be sure to cross-promote all your sites by including the navigational buttons that connect back to your website, blog and Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn identities. Make sure that all digital roads lead back to you!

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