Use the Web, Create Conversation

by WOHe

Since I started back at RD+B, I’ve used a good portion of my time reconnecting with readers via social media. I am passionate about the opportunities Web tools provide businesses. I believe in them because I’ve seen their success firsthand. I’ve seen a startup cupcake company in Chicago grow its customer base from zero to celebrities. All by utilizing Twitter. And, I’ve seen a small cafe reach out to its customers and potential customers to create a connection, and even use them as a focus group for changes at the cafe.

Needless to say, the power of the Web is huge. But you have to know how to use it right. As a businessperson, you most likely don’t want to waste time but rather use it wisely. Knowing how to use these tools correctly will help you to use your time efficiently. Something to consider is that these Web tools have become a consumer expectation – if you’re not there, you’re missing out on customers. And your customers are missing out on you.

So what’s the first step? Knowing the terminology so you don’t feel lost. AdAge created a comprehensive social media glossary. Check it out before you start, and bookmark it for reference.

The next step? Create a conversation. Don’t simply advertise yourself and products/services. People will stop listening. You need to listen to them, provide them with helpful information and converse with them. Show them you are a person. Think about it: Do you want a company to only promote themselves to you, or do you want them to listen to what you’re saying?

And the third step? Track your results. There are many analytic tools online to help you see what’s work and what isn’t. If you tweet, use something like bit.ly to see how many people click on your link, or retweet it. If you blog, utilize tools like Google Analytics to see advanced reporting for your posts. All these reporting tools are free. Watch the numbers, and if something isn’t working, change your approach. That’s the beauty of the Web. Change is instant.

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