inbound marketing

Free Inbound Marketing Strategies: The Brass Tax – Part 2

There are a multitude of free inbound marketing strategies and services to use on the internet. Last post we talked at length about written content, where to submit that content and of course different ways to capitalize on all those eloquent thoughts put down on electronic paper.

Let’s pick up right where we left off and take a good long look at the uses of social media, and what it can mean for your growing business.

Be a Business Butterfly with Social Media and Social Bookmarking

Many are the ways we can be social online. Traditional social medias (has it been that long already?), social bookmarking and more service/topic specific media sites have captured the world’s attention.

Let’s go through the various types and find out which ones serve you and your business the best.

The Big 5 Social Medias

Are you social? It’s ok to ignore or disengage from social media in your personal life but the online business world is not nearly as forgiving to those who don’t participate.

Customers have come to expect a somewhat personal touch during the education and sales process. Better engagement with your potential clients and customers before a purchase makes it more likely that your business will “close” them in the future. Simply put, social media is now integral to lead generation for most businesses.

However, mismanagement of social media accounts, i.e. long periods of inactivity, can have an equally negative effect on your customer acquirement process. Here’s a list of the Big 5 social medias:

  • Facebook – The best person-to-person social media
  • Twitter – Quick and easy micro-blogging
  • Linkedin – Professional connections with specific B2B and B2C tools
  • Google+ – The local business necessity
  • Pinterest – The visually oriented social endorsement and backlinking site

Picking and choosing the right social media platform for your business can be hard to determine unless you’ve tried and tested out each one. Luckily for you we’ve done the research. Click the link in the previous line to sort out which social media is the right pick for your business.

Tip: Designate one person in your business to manage and produce regular posts to the accounts you choose to engage in. One point person for all things social keeps your overall program organized and moving in the right direction. If you’re a one-person show then I guess that means you!

The Other Shakers and Movers

Just because the Big 5 are… well… the biggest social medias in the game doesn’t mean there aren’t other effective sites in play. Most of the other lesser-known social medias have more specific features and functions that tailor towards a designated focus. Things like images, music or even video as seen in our shortlist below:

  • Tumblr – An image based social sharing site
  • My Space – The original social media with a bent on musical content
  • YouTube – The best video posting and sharing site going
  • Flickr – Another fairly well-known image sharing site

These accounts have less appeal for direct customer acquisition than the Big 5 but they still have value in terms of brand recognition, social sharing and backlinks.

Tip: If you have a personal account (preferably professional; remember that your potential clients can see everything on your account) then posting images and info related to your business can boost your overall reach and exposure. Try it out with one account and grow into other medias over time.

Social Bookmarking: Online Show & Tell

These days more and more people are reading about their topics of choice on the internet. Usually this means some casual browsing for topics and conversations that appeal directly to them. Don’t let that idle time go to waste.

With the advent of social bookmarking readers and surfers can share the content they like, disagree with, think is cool, and so on. Any link that’s shared on a bookmarking site is voted on (up-votes or down-votes) by other users on the site. If enough people like what you post your bookmarks jump towards the top of the lists, based on category.

In terms of business on bookmark sites, self-promotion isn’t always well-received but there are some ways to bookmark yourself into the position of a leader online. Sharing cool and unique things from your industry as a whole, and not just directly from your business, is a great approach.

Speaking solely about yourself, your services and products with invariably get you some down-votes. Sharing all the topics and links to items that you think are cool and interesting can and will increase your accounts visibility and authority. This is where the value is.

The more authority your account has the more visible and easy to find it is. If you’re account is completely filled out with all your business details there a chance you can lead someone to your site and start the sales cycle.

Here’s the top three social bookmarking sites:

Your internet surfing time can double as business promotion if you do it right.

Tip: If you have a truly unique piece of business-related content that is worth sharing you can promote it through your social bookmarking accounts. Make sure what you share is exceptional and that you don’t self-promote too often.

And that, my friends, is social media explained. Again, as with content development, pick and choose the social media sites that will serve your business the best and get sharing!

And, here’s something we hope you’ll really like! Links, backlinks and web authority, oh my! Coming in just a few short days. Look back at our blog on Friday for Part 3 in our 4 part inbound marketing series.

Same blog time! Same blog channel!

This article is part of the Free Inbound Marketing Strategies series of articles.