How to: Become a Thought Leader and Attract More Customers to Your Business
1. Stay up to date in your field. Read industry journals and blogs and news services online. Post and tweet about what you find that will be interesting to your clients.
My morning routine includes a cup of coffee and browsing blog posts and website pages delivered via my Google Reader. (Update: I’m replacing Google Reader with Google Currents.) I gather ideas for blog posts and keep up to date with changes in my world of social media, internet marketing, local small business development and marketing.
I use Evernote to “clip” and save quotes (and sometimes whole articles) and also Instapaper to bookmark and save others to read later. (Both are free services.) I photocopy and clip what I want to save from hard copy journals and magazines.
Best practice suggestion for you: Open a Notepad or Wordpad document and compose tweets and posts for your Twitter and Facebook followers. Turn your knowledge into tips and suggestions for your customers/clients and other followers in social media.
2. Have any business related controversial topics in your field? Any “shocking” or “spectacular” news?
Every once in a while, post on your blog and/or post a Note in Facebook that explains the issue and take a stand! Tell your peeps (your people who follow you on social media) what your position is and why.
Important note for you: Keep this business related and stay away from taking political or social positions in writing on your business website or business pages at social media sites. This can lead to unpleasant public conversations via social media and unwanted damage to customer loyalty. This is NOT the way to attract more customers to your business.
Create a Robust Online Presence. Not everyone can immediately jump to international prominence (CNN probably won’t book you as a talking head if you’ve never been on local TV). But everyone can start here, with an online beachhead. Blogs are particularly good because they showcase your knowledge â and search engines prize the frequent stream of fresh content. Most blogs are unloved and unread â but yours can be different with a little time and elbow grease. Good content is key, of course, but so is making friends (online and off) with other bloggers to create a virtuous, networked circle. Some of the best advice is from Chris Brogan, an otherwise unfamous guy who has been blogging for a decade, made himself a critical cog in the blogger world, and has turned it into big-time book contracts and bestsellers.
What’s a robust online presence for your small, local business?
Attract more customers to your business with a blog. Use WordPress as the foundation for your business website or add a blog to your current website. The advantages of using WordPress? Ease of use and more control for you. Attractive content for your customers and potential customers. Easy to optimize your webpages and blog posts without resorting to costly SEO consulting services. Simple to integrate with social media so you can send and increase traffic to your website.
Social media for business. Add social media accounts with robust profile and business information. Start with Facebook. Add Twitter and LinkedIn. Then add YouTube and Pinterest depending on your industry. All of these social media profiles will send people back to your website for more information. Posts at these social media sites will build a following and send people to specific content on your website.
A robust online presence and prominence and thought leadership in your community are both built one day at a time with about an hour of your time and some effort. (You probably already put in the time and effort with what you do on the Internet daily. How much random browsing and socializing on Facebook do you do daily?) Add a simple, sustainable social media marketing plan to your daily routine and reap the benefits!
We’d love to help KickStart your online presence. Take a look at our KickStart services and products to find one that’s right for you and your business! And don’t forget to download a copy of our free guide, Go Social Locally: Local Search and Your Small Business — and take daily steps to “get found online in your town”.