Category Archives: Ckp

Using Social Media to Find the Right Customers

There’s no doubt that Facebook is popular. The site not only reels in millions of loyal users each day, a man in Egypt recently named his newborn daughter after the social network.

The question is: Can you leverage the popularity of Facebook and other social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to pick up new customers or clients?

Maybe so, but to make the most of your efforts, you’ll need to come up with a plan to reach the people you want to connect with. Jeffrey Carr, the executive director of New York University’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, offers three tips for finding customers through a directed social media campaign:

1. Choose the right platform.

Just as there is a different audience for Saturday morning cartoons versus the Sopranos, the legions of users who flock to FourSquare, LinkedIn and Facebook are a diverse bunch. If you want to find customers, it’s your job to pick out which platform caters to your business’ desired audience and join it. For instance, if your company’s target market is mature, professional women, establishing a presence on FourSquare, which has more of a youthful, gamer-type user base, may not be right for you. LinkedIn might be a better fit. Likewise, if your customers don’t use Twitter, don’t bother using it. “It’s like putting an ad where people can’t read it,” says Carr.

Selecting the right social media platform for finding customers may seem basic, but business owners tend to leap on to the next big thing. For instance, when the Facebook community surpassed 200 million users in 2008, many business owners piled in — thinking that the popularity of the site would naturally translate to their business. While it certainly happened for some, it’s hardly a sure thing — and the last thing you’ll want to do is waste your time.

2. Give it time.

A big draw of using sites like Twitter and Facebook to find customers is that they’re free. They’ve effectively leveled the playing field between large and small businesses, right? Not quite. Big businesses can often afford to hire a professional to manage their social media efforts, while small businesses, which typically have more limited means, often can’t. But it’s a mistake to do nothing or to even make a half-hearted attempt.

Although you shouldn’t put yourself in hole so you can have an outsized presence on Facebook, you have to be willing to make a serious time commitment or hire someone to put in the time for you. “Between tweeting all the time, finding followers or just maintaining a Facebook site, most companies really underestimate what it takes,” says Carr. It’ll take hours, not minutes, he adds.

3. Provide value.

The best way to get people to follow, fan, and eventually shop at your business is to give them something they want, not just a pitch to buy your product or service. No matter if you’re offering entertainment or information, people will pass along your tweets, newsletters or posts only if they think someone else they know will also find value in it. “You have to pay people for their time,” says Carr.

This approach may not sound like any kind of way to drum up sales. But keep in mind that the more people who know about you and your company, the more people there will be who’ll think of you and your company when they want to start shopping.

via Using Social Media to Find the Right Customers | Entrepreneur.com.

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To Find Local Customers, Use Local Resources

For business owners, it’s likely well-known that understanding how your customers consume news and information can help you target your marketing efforts to better reach them. So here’s a question: Do you know what resources your customers rely on for local news?

Your first stab at an answer might be that older folks turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper, while the younger generation turns to their computers. But as it turns out, a new study shows that it’s a lot more complex than that, and savvy business owners would be well advised to take notice.

The survey, from the Project for Excellence in Journalism (a Pew Research Center project), breaks down local information into 16 topics — ranging from weather and breaking news at the top to social services and zoning issues at the bottom. Here’s that topical breakdown by medium and why it matters for businesses:

Television, for instance, is where most of us go for breaking news, weather and traffic. Newspapers are the primary source for news on community events, crime and local government. The daily paper ties with the Internet for news on housing, schools and jobs, and it ties with TV on local political goings-on. Most go online for information on restaurants and other local businesses. And radio ties with TV for traffic news.

This survey dispels the belief that we’re all married to a primary source for most of our local news and that, in fact, while local TV remains king, when broken down by topic, the tube is a primary source for only three subjects — breaking news, weather and traffic.

Though, surprisingly — and here’s where owners need to tune in — print newsletters, online listservs and good old word of mouth ranks second as the source people use weekly. Those surveyed said newspapers and their websites rank first or are tied for first place in 11 of the 16 key topics. But for the nearly 80 percent of respondents who go online, the Internet ranks as a top source of information on most of the local topics. For those under 40, the Internet is top choice (or tied for first) for 10 of the topics and is a close second for four others.

What’s more, 64 percent of those surveyed said they turn to at least three media sources for local news each week, with 45 percent of those claim they don’t have one particular favorite source. As far as the 16 local topics are concerned, weather tops the chart as the most sought-after information (89 percent), with breaking news following at 80 percent, local politics at 67 percent and crime at 66 percent.

And while it’s seen as supplemental, nearly half of the adults surveyed (47 percent) said they use mobile device such as smartphones to get some of their news and information, a trend that’s certain to grow rapidly in the future.

via To Find Local Customers, Use Local Resources | Entrepreneur.com.

Location-Based Check-Ins on the Rise with Consumers

Just when you thought American’s love affair with their mobile phones couldn’t get any closer. A recent study shows that an increasing number of mobile-device users — a.k.a. would-be customers — are taking advantage of geosocial and location-based check-in services such as Facebook Places, Gowalla and Foursquare.

One in five smartphone users currently use location-based “check-in” services on their phones, representing 16.7 million U.S. mobile subscribers, or about 7 percent of the nation’s total mobile phone population, according to a recent study from comScore, a Reston, Va., audience measurement service.

That’s quite a jump from the piddling 4 percent figure announced after the results of a Pew Research Center survey were released just last November. But for small business owners who’ve been looking to geolocation services to put them on the map in front of new customers, that growing propensity for check-ins is certainly welcome.

The comScore study found that 16.7 million mobile phone subscribers accessed retail sites and shopping guides on their phones during the one-month test period. Further, 12.7 million of those participants said they did so on a smartphone — a figure that represents 17.6 percent of the nation’s smartphone users. That’s an impressive growth statistic when you consider that companies like Foursquare and Gowalla launched in 2009 and 2007, respectively.

The study also showed that nearly 60 percent of check-in service users were mobile-phone users between the ages of 18 and 34. These younger proponents of Facebook Places, Foursquare, Gowalla and other check-in services were more likely to be full-time students (23 percent) when compared with the general population of mobile and smartphone users (15 and 17 percent, respectively).

Such strong adoption of these digital services by consumers illustrates how important it is for businesses to begin doing more than just thinking about finding customers by way of offering specials, deals and other incentives through mobile devices. In fact, it’s probably past time for businesses to begin leveraging and then profiting from the rapidly evolving check-in arena.

After all, offering specials and deals has the potential to draw new customers and generate new leads on a local level. The reason? If people search for deals near them, or when they check in someplace, they’re pushed deals nearby. If I act on those pushes, I’ve become a new customer or lead for someone’s business.

With participation topping 7 percent, now’s the time test a deal or two and start rewarding mobile users for checking in. To create a special on Foursquare, start by claiming your venue or brand, and then follow the onscreen instructions. To claim your Place on Facebook, search for your business name on Facebook. If a Place already exists, click the “Is this your business?” link and Facebook will help you claim your Place. To create an Individual, Loyalty, Friend or Charity Deal on Facebook, start by downloading and reading Deals Guide for Businesses.

via Location-Based Check-Ins on the Rise with Consumers | Entrepreneur.com.