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Ten Ways Social Media is Changing Sales and CRM: Page 2

By Jennifer Schiff     Feedback
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Social Media Monitoring and CRM Tips

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6. Social media can build community and lead to new opportunities. "We've run a Twitter chat for the past couple years (we're actually evolving it shortly into a video chat), where we invited small business owners to come once a week," said O'Hara. "We talk about different issues for small businesses — how to use social media, what virtual collaboration tools people are using, how to manage your finances," and other topics of interest to small business owners. As a result, there are now more than 20,000 people following that Twitter account, and it's been a great way for O'Hara and BatchBlue to connect with business owners and has even led to several business opportunities the company might not have found otherwise.

7. Social media can be a great promotion and sales tool. JetBlue set up @JetBlueCheeps on Twitter to promote "great deals on last minute flights every Tuesday." And the account has amassed over 150,000 followers (who have helped fill up planes). Similarly, many bricks-and-mortar businesses are using Foursquare, a mobile social tool, to engage their mobile customers, offering them discounts and prizes like a free cup of coffee or a coupon for 10% off their next purchase when they check in on Foursquare at their store or restaurant or business, which often leads to actual purchases.

8. Social media can help establish you as an expert people want to buy from. For example, one real estate agent O'Hara worked with set up a Facebook page where she posted pictures, videos and information about events in her community, giving prospective home buyers a real flavor of the community and establishing herself as a kind of trusted friend and guide — someone who people would want to buy a house from.

9. Use Facebook to let customers get to know your business and the people behind it. Use sites like Flickr and Facebook to post pictures of your products, either on their own or being used by customers, fun events sponsored by your business, as well as employees — images that accurately portray your company culture and give people a true sense of who you are and what you do. People tend to trust and buy from companies they feel they know and have a relationship with.

10. Use YouTube to educate your customers. Use video networks like YouTube or Vimeo to post helpful how-to guides that show your customers how to set up or use your products, advised O'Hara. This form of outreach and customer education engenders loyalty — and can help you attract a wider audience for your products and services.

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff is a regular contributor to Internet.com and runs a blog for and about small businesses.


This article was originally published on December 15, 2010
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