Earlier this year, I spoke at the American Express OPEN Women’s Business Summit, where I met many amazing business owners and learned more about the challenges and opportunities facing them. I also learned that among the educational discussions offered, those on social media generated a lot of excitement. So we’ve created an online resource – openforum.com/socialmedia – to provide articles, videos, and other educational content on social media. With the constantly changing landscape of social media, it seems that even if you know a lot, there is always more you can learn.
We also recently hosted a social media roundtable discussion, moderated by Small Business Trends founder and OPEN Forum author Anita Campbell. An Insight Guide from the discussion will soon be posted to OPEN Forum, but the following are some highlights:
- Establish Expertise: Suzanne Cerra, partner in the law firm Nukk-Freeman and Cerra, uses social media to create awareness of the firm’s expertise by advertising webinars and seminars and linking to legal updates that they publish. She said, “We regularly publish legal updates through Constant Contact to our clients and prospects. Rather than limit it to our clients and prospects, we tweet about it and link it to our website, and we speak regularly and tweet about seminars we’ll be appearing at and speaking at.”
- Build Customer Base: For Rent the Runway, which rents high fashion dresses and accessories, social media plays a prominent part in their growth. “People are attending and renting for these occasions and sharing their experiences with others,” said co-founder Jennifer Hyman, “From the very beginning, we wanted to let our users be a part of everything that we’re doing.” It’s a viral marketing strategy: By sharing their experiences, existing customers introduce more potential customers to the site.”
- Drive Search Engine Results: Ahmed Mady (see photo), owner of Paragon Remodeling, uses content distribution through his website, blog and Facebook page to help boost his search ranking. “We rank high because we’re constantly communicating and distributing new content…” He looks at the traffic from those channels to identify keywords to help drive his SEO campaign, making his marketing more integrated and more impactful.
- Customer Research and Feedback: Rent the Runway uses social media to develop better insights into who their customers are and what they’re looking for, and even target new segments, like colleges. “We’re in the process of creating a Facebook page for each of 30 campuses where we have runway representatives to market to these colleges differently.” Jennifer said. They also look to customer engagement in the form of comments, likes, and photos posted as a way of measuring success.
As I said earlier, social media is evolving quickly, so it can be intimidating? for those who aren’t sure where to start. How can business owners stay on top of what’s new? Jennifer shared this tip: “I read a lot online everywhere and look to other websites to see what others are doing… we learn from others and incorporate it into our model and see if they might partner.” And, of course, you can also learn more by visiting www.openforum.com/socialmedia.
Sophia Lundberg is a Vice President leading the Advocacy team for American Express OPEN.
Learn more about our upcoming American Express OPEN Government Contracting Procurement & Networking Events – October 20th in New Orleans and November 5th in Chicago.