The IMC Team
Today we’re going to tell you about 8 free sites that’ll help you explode your traffic…
AND get a better search engine ranking…
AND build a name for yourself as an expert in your field…
AND maintain better customer relations…
AND get new ideas for growing your business!
The sites we’re talking about are the ‘Net’s most popular social media sites. They’re online gathering places where people meet to share information and build relationships with each other. They’re also great places to meet potential customers and business partners.
… Plus, you can also build up a huge network of loyal customers who will do a lot of your advertising for you simply by raving about your product to all their friends and family. (And as you probably know, word-of-mouth advertising from a trusted source is the most effective kind of advertising you can get.)
And if some of these loyal customers start linking to your site from their sites, that can help you get a serious boost in the search engine rankings.
Here are the top 8 social media sites you need to know about:
- Facebook: The world’s biggest social networking site. Members go to find other people who share the same interests or activities. You can build your own online profile and share different types of information with each other, such as pictures, videos, blog entries, links to other sites, and music clips.A good marketing strategy is to create a Facebook “Fan Page” for your business and encourage your customers to join. Then you can easily alert them whenever you have updates to share about your business.
- Twitter: A “micro-blogging” social network site. Members send each other short text-based posts of up to 140 characters. When you find members whose “tweets” you like, you can subscribe to their feed and be updated whenever they send a new message.
- YouTube: The ‘Net’s number one video-sharing site. Members share and comment on each other’s videos. You can post a link on your profile page can direct other people to your site. Also, the videos you share can help establish your reputation as an expert in your industry. For example, you could share a “how-to” video that shows your market how to solve a common problem.If you’re not the next Stephen Spielberg, don’t worry — your videos don’t have to be super professional. In many cases, a video shot with a regular digital camera will work just fine.
- LinkedIn: The most popular business-oriented social networking site on the Web. As of May 2009, it had more than 400,000 registered users. It’s a great place to find potential business partners as well as people who may be interested in your products or services.
- Digg: One of the ‘Net’s most popular news-sharing websites. Members post links to their favorite news articles and then comment and vote on the ones they like best. If you get a good rating on an article that includes a link to your site, you could see a huge rush of traffic overnight.
- Stumbleupon: Wikipedia calls this social networking site a “personalized recommendation engine.” Members can explore and rate Web pages, photos, and videos. When they hit the “Stumble!” button on the site’s toolbar, the results displayed are ranked based on your previous ratings as well as the ratings of friends and of members with similar interests.If Stumbleupon members give your site or blog a good ranking, your site will be showed in their results more often, which could lead to a surge of traffic to your site.
- Yelp: A popular review site where members write reviews about local businesses. If you own a local business, this one’s for you!
- Delicious: A popular bookmarking site. Members save links to their favorite websites or articles — just like the bookmarks in your browser — and share those links with other people. Members can comment on each other’s links. Every comment you write links to your personal profile where you can include a link to your site. The more comments you make, the more people you encourage to visit your profile page — and the more traffic you’ll end up directing to your site.
By participating on sites like these you can meet your future customers and learn how to give them what they’re looking for. In exchange, they will be happy to spread the word about your site all over the Internet!
Just make sure you follow the #1 unwritten rule of social media marketing:
You can’t just barge in and say, “Hey, everybody! I have a great product! You should buy it!” Imagine doing that at a dinner party — everybody would treat you like you had a contagious disease.
The same principle applies here — people go to social media sites to socialize, not to listen to marketing pitches. If you want to become a respected member, you need to engage other members in things that matter to THEM. Be friendly, be interesting AND interested, and above all, be authentic. Fake intentions are obvious in a social space.
But if you do things right, play by the rules, and create some fun and interesting content, you’ll be able to spread the word about your business to huge new groups of people. If they appreciate what you offer, then just like in that old shampoo commercial, they might tell two friends — who will tell two more friends — and so on, and so on.
… And before you know it, you just may have an army of loyal customers getting the word out about you — free of charge!