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Lesser Spotted Social Media for Businesses Marketing

Many articles on social media marketing for businesses focus on just the big names:  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the up and coming Pinterest.  But there are literally hundreds of social media websites which seem to be popping up with alarming frequency and which are all vying for the attention of users and businesses.  While these don’t have the same kudos as the big boys, time will tell if they will grow up to become serious competition.  Here’s the lowdown on some to keep a keen eye on which seem to have real potential and specific advantages for the marketing of businesses:

Foursquare

Foursquare is a social media network on the up which should definitely be on the radar of businesses.  Foursquare is plain and simply all about encouraging new customers to walk through your doors.  It’s a phone app and a website and was launched in 2009 and now boasts a community of 25 million people.

foursquare_checkin_map

So here’s how it works:

  • The Friends tab:  Someone visits a restaurant, a museum, a local store or hotel and can ‘check in’ on the app which shows other friends where they are.  If they love their experience they can add a recommendation.
  • The Explore tab: People use this when they need inspiration about where to go.  The Foursquare search engine provides personalized recommendations of places to visit in a certain locality and users can check out what others think.

From a business perspective, this is a great opportunity to get word-of-mouth recommendations out to thousands of people who are merely a stone’s throw away from the business location.  Nearly 1 million businesses are currently on Foursquare and this number is only set to rise.

If you want to jump on the Foursquare bandwagon, here are a few simple steps to get you started:

  1. Claim your business location.  Your business may already be listed so check this out.  If not you can ‘add this place’.
  2. Categorize your business.   There are 9 main categories to choose from including Arts & Entertainment, Nightlife Spot, Shop & Service and Travel & Transport.  Most businesses will easily find the most appropriate group for them.
  3. Create a Foursquare page for your business which users can choose to follow.
  4. Interact with clients by sending updates, engaging tips, deals or coupons and make sure the information is visually attractive.
  5. Add the Foursquare icon to your website so website visitors know you are active on this social media platform.  Use a Foursquare icon sign physically at your real life locations – the more visitors understand your business is Foursquare-active, the more likely they are to rate you and leave recommendations for others to read.

Google+

Launched in 2011 the aim of the Google+ social media networking site was to allow users to share their common interests with family and friends – so no real difference to all the other social media websites!  But the saving grace is that back in December 2012, Google launched a new improvement:  Google+ Communities.   The Communities button allows people to create a new community or join an existing one, where they will find like-minded people who share the same passions and want to share tips, videos and photos about a specific area of interest.

google_plus_business copy

This opens up interesting opportunities for businesses.  A business can choose to join any community.  For example a camera supplier company may join the ‘Weather Photography’ community and can join in whole heartedly; commenting on great photos and giving advice on how the latest equipment can influence the final shot.  So long as the company isn’t in it for the hard sell they could, with time, become an expert in this community.  And once people consider them an expert, they will be checking the company’s own profile page for more information, requesting advice and, if location allows it, to make a purchase.

This kind of approach can also benefit the business as they can seek feedback from the Community members about new ideas, check out what’s in and what’s not, and link up with other professionals in their field.

One other point which is of value to businesses is that, not surprisingly, activity on Google+ can help with Google Search Engine Optimization.  All posts which get a +1 rating get a higher search ranking, and all posts linked to Google+ will be seen as having greater authenticity.  And with over 340 million active users, it’s a social media website that definitely has potential for business marketing.

Digg

Digg is a social media website which has been around since 2004 and although started well it was definitely superseded by the newer social media platforms.  Many people had written it off but it was bought by Betaworks and re-launched in 2012 – but is still a very basic social media website.

People can post tidbits about anything and everything.  By posting a photo and short summary, they can tempt the reader to click through to the main article which sits on the originating website.   Articles that are popular get more digs and so end up in the sought after ‘popular’ list.  From a business perspective, this platform does not allow any targeted marketing although regular, outstandingly interesting posts might get to reach the heady heights of the ‘popular’ list, but the competition is pretty fierce.

However no fresh articles need to be written specifically for Digg as the information already exists on the originating website.  This is a strong advantage in a busy world where writing unique posts and articles for social media is very time consuming.  Also any Digg readers who wanted to delve further into your article would be driven directly to your website – thank you for that inbound link.

Digg has had its ups and downs but Betworks have alluded to new big things coming this way – what they are and the advantages for businesses are yet to be seen.

digg

The sheer volume of social media network sites that exist is mind blowing.  If you are running your business and want to get the best exposure possible by tapping into this free marketing platform, beware that the demographics of the users and how they use each website are different.

To create a social media marketing strategy for your business without stretching yourself too thin, it’s far more sensible to hire a professional social media marketing company who can match your product and target market with the right social media websites.  Once established, then can get up and running with your marketing campaigns and can monitor their effectiveness at every step of the way.  When it comes to social media for marketing your business, you certainly are spoilt for choice!

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