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Today, it’s hard to discuss future marketing plans without mentioning social media. From 2009 to 2010, the adoption rate of social media doubled among small businesses 1. Additionally, 1 in 5 small businesses are integrating social media into the marketing strategy now with the belief that these initiatives will pay off financially in 12 months or less 1. Point being, it’s hard to develop a complete Internet marketing strategy without including some elements of social media.

As a coveted member of Gen Y, it’s easy for me to understand the power of social media. Over 96% of my generation is on a social network 2 and in 2010 we’ve officially outnumbered the Baby Boomers 2 by 1.3 million.  It is my generation that will have a social impact on the business world and it’s important that companies take note of this. Having a personal understanding of how Gen Y uses the Internet combined with my knowledge on traditional search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) has allowed me to develop a strategic approach in getting a company up and running with social media.

Companies are often overwhelmed by how much work must go in to planning and executing an effective social media optimization plan. As a team of Certified Digital Marketing Consultants, that’s where WSI can step in and help. We’ve broken the process down into several steps and highlighted six key areas a business should focus on to get going. We then work to deliver all of the bits and pieces needed to achieve this, refocusing the burden to WSI instead of the end client.

First, and most importantly, regardless of when you are going to start your social media campaign(s)… securing usernames and passwords on social media sites that represent your professional business name is critical. Protecting your brand on these sites ensures that when you are ready to get moving you will have a name representative of your business to work from. Additionally, it protects your company from the exposure related to someone else snatching up your name and using it to negatively impact your brand. We have compiled a list of 20 social media sites that you should secure immediately and as a service we assist clients in setting these up. We also constantly reevaluate this list as new sites are launched everyday and consumers drive up their popularity.

From there, we recommend focusing all of your social media optimization efforts on the following six areas:

  1. Video Syndication
  2. Press Release Syndication
  3. Blog Posts
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Facebook
  6. Twitter

Of course this is not the be all, end all of social media but these six areas allow our clients to enter the space in a quick and competitive fashion and swiftly dominate the search results. Each has its own tips and tricks and all will assist you in building your brand and increasing traffic to your site.

Learn how your business can use social media to reach your customers, gain news ones and maintain your credibility and reputation with your customer base.

1: University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business Small Business Success Index report
2: Grunwald Associates National Study – Trendsspotting Blog | Millenials Conference
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About the author: Beth Hawks
Beth Hawks is a Digital Marketing Consultant for the for the Northeast Ohio office of WSI. WSI is a global leader in offering Internet Marketing solutions to the SME marketplace. At WSI more


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