Social Media Marketing has become a buzz word for local businesses over the past year or so. Everybody hears of people making money from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. However, most business owners cannot comprehend how these online ‘playgrounds’ can be used to grow their business.

The concept is simple, people like to socialize offline and now they like to socialize online. In fact, many people live totally virtual lives and do not spend much time in the real world anymore!

Facebook has become an addiction for millions of people. I have to admit that I check my Facebook account every half an hour.

Many of your customers no longer look for a business in the directory books or newspapers, but rather go onto Facebook. They ask their friends for recommendations and also can find businesses that have listed themselves on Facebook. After all, they can see who else on Facebook has used this company and what feedback they have left about the company.

Social media has become social proof!

Previously, most websites would have relied on written testimonials posted on their website to entice prospects to become customers. However, with the growth of social media, written testimonials are not enough anymore. Your prospective customer wants to know what others are saying about you on Facebook, in their Twitter ‘tweets’ and YouTube videos.

So how can you get started with social media? Here’s a solid plan:

1) Log onto Facebook and create a Fanpage for your business. Invite all of your friends to ‘like’ the Fanpage. When your friends click on the ‘like’ button, their Facebook friends can see that they have ‘liked’ your Fanpage.

This creates a viral effect: 10 of your friends ‘like’ your page, then 10 of their friends each see that they have ‘liked’ your Fanpage. That means your business is exposed to 100 people in total, just by getting 10 of your friends to help you out.

Can you now see the snowball effect this simple process creates?

2) Create an account on Twitter and ask all of your friends to ‘follow’ you. Ask all of your customers to ‘follow’ you as well. This will provide you with a simple marketing system, where any one of your followers can ‘retweet’ what you have ‘tweeted’ to your followers.

For example, if you run a pizza joint and you let 100 of your followers know about a special deal, they then ‘retweet’ the info about the deal to their followers.

If 100 of your followers have 100 followers of their own, then that’s 10,000 people you have reached with your marketing message for free!

3) Create a YouTube account and start recording video clips. These can be video clips of your happy staff at work, client testimonials or anything that your prospects will enjoy watching.

Make sure that you share the video links on your Facebook Fanpage and Twitter account with your followers. If they like what they see, then they will share it with others. Word of mouse publicity as they say!

4) Integrate your Facebook Fanpage, Twitter and YouTube accounts onto your website, so that visitors to your website can follow you on the social networks.

Research has shown that you will need to contact a cold prospect approximately 7 times, before they will buy from you online. In a nutshell, it’s simply a trust issue.

If you can funnel your website visitors to follow you on these social networks, then you immediately alleviate any trust issues that they may have. They can see who else has done business with you and what they think of you.

That’s all you really need to do, to start profiting from Social Media Marketing. Try it out and keep on constantly improving your communication with your followers, as this will help to grow your brand virally.

Abul K. Hussain is an author, public speaker and highly sought after consultant in the field of Internet Marketing & Business Growth. He is currently Managing Partner at the UK headquartered Middle Man Marketing Group. buy youtube shares

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