Social Media Welcome To Reality Online Small Business Manager Tips Selling Online Can Create New Income Streams The Best Way To Develop A Customer

The use of social media encompasses a broad range of online media types. While some might only think of a social network like MySpace there are actually several social media formats that contain significant marketing potential for online business.

While others may think you are simply enjoying the multiple aspects of social networking, the truth of your interest may likely be tinged with a business focus.

What that doesn’t mean is that you post simply to leave a traceable link back to your business website. Those who visit any social media site see through posts that are overtly geared toward marketing. In many cases social media consumers view this as spam even if the social network owners do not. In the end, you can lose credibility of you don’t work as a meaningful contributor in a social media environment.

Social media can be presented in many different forms. Let’s take a peak at a few of them.

YouTube and other similar video sites – These videos can be funny, serious, off the cuff and sometimes political in nature. You can show your business in a humorous light and allow individuals to be curious about you and your business.

MySpace and other social networks – This form of social media is popular because it draws together multiple elements of social marketing and makes them accessible to the masses of individuals that may view social networking as an online version of reality television.

Blogs – This is a form of social media if only because it does allow interactive exchanges between the blogger and the reader.

Forums – This can allow you to have an individual voice willing to discuss topics of interest to the majority. As with all social media you can provide a link to your site. If you are viewed as a trusted source you will likely find forum members following you to your site to learn more.

Podcasting – This is an audio stream that can allow a visitor to hear a personal message from you. This can have a pronounced impact in social marketing.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does provide something for you to consider as an addition to other marketing strategies you may have in place. Social media allows you to take your message to the people and have fun while you share your message.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be real. The entire Internet community has a low tolerance for supposed spam so make sure you don’t use social media as simply another form of online advertising.

You are the owner and manager of a small business. Not only do you need to know about the inner-workings of the business and the financial issues but you also need to be a good manager. Management skills can be just as important in keeping the business running well as your other areas of expertise. Here are some quick and easy management tips to help you keep the business running smoothly.

Make rules but be fair. In this day and age you need to set some ground rules so that each employee is treated fairly. However, you also need to know when to use common sense to guide you through sticky situations. Write down your expectations, and then translate those into language that your employees will understand. Present this to each new hire and post the rules in the office.

Understand the workings of the data and telephone systems. Use new technology to help your employees work more efficiently. If your company warrants it look into a good corporate long distance plan. Train employees on the office systems in place so that they can take advantage of the timesaving features they provide.

Don’t worry about the small things. If you have a tendency to micro-manage your employees they won’t feel free to be creative and to think outside the box. Allow others to do things in their own way as long as they can accomplish what’s needed. Constantly picking on the work of others will only keep employees from ownership of their work.

Learn to delegate. Most manager/owners have trouble giving up tasks to others. They may feel that the work is best completed by them. However, you need to give employees a chance to be productive. If the only tasks they ever receive are mundane or tedious they will soon tire of the situation. What’s more, you need people who you can count on to help the business thrive. After all, you will need to take time off and get a vacation and need to know that the business will run properly even when you are away.

Teach employees what their job is. Write complete job descriptions for each position. These descriptions should be specific and complete so that current and potential employees understand their job functions. Update the descriptions as needed. Provide plenty of on the job training and remember that not everyone catches on quickly. Have patience and understanding.

Communicate regularly with all employees. Employees need to know what is happening. Rumors can run rampant and can ruin morale in the process. Send a monthly email memo or hand out a newsletter. The communication will do wonders to keep things running smoothly and to keep attitudes up.

Stress good customer service. First and foremost your customers are who keep your business going. Make sure that employees put customer service first and keep it there. Offer courses or webinars that teach employees good customer service skills. Plan some training time each month for each employee. Even an hour or two per month will help keep customer service in the forefront.

As the internet matures, so do the attitudes of people buying more and more online. Many companies exist that will ship merchandise to nearly any address specified, without being the same address as the buyer. This opens the door for selling opportunities for just about anyone with the initiative to do a little work online and keep track of their earnings.

One of the problems with having a retail website, is you become the buyer, seller and shipper all at once. When you offer merchandise for sale online you are opening the door to a global audience and will need to have an inventory of merchandise that you offer for sale. Constantly sending out apologetic emails informing buyers their choice is either discontinued or on back order will not win many repeat customers and will eventually leave you with nothing but a nice looking website.

You can, however get hooked up with wholesalers who maintain a large inventory of merchandise and allow you to sell it on your website. When an order comes in, it goes directly to the wholesaler who will pack it and ship it as well as handle all the finances. You make money based on the profit from the sale of the item. For example, you advertise a DVD player on your site for $59.99 plus tax plus shipping an handling. A customer buys it and submits the order. Once payment is received and the item has shipped. If you are getting that DVD player from the wholesaler for $40, you will be paid the difference of $19.

Many drop-shippers work with online auction sellers who simply list the merchandise on their auction site and the wholesaler takes over the shipping of the merchandise. For auction merchandise there is a risk to the seller in that if a listed item doesn’t sell, the seller is still responsible for any listing fees for putting them item on the auction.

Additionally, once an item sells, the seller is charged a final value fee, which is a percentage of the price at which the item sold. Consequently, the seller has to sell the item at a price higher than the unit cost, plus listing fees plus the final value fee before they make any money. Selling straight off your own website may not elicit as much business, but by the buyer paying shipping and handling charges, everything paid over the unit price is your to keep.

You can also choose to buy small inventories of merchandise you believe will be in high demand and list in the item’s description how many are available. Being honest with potential buyers on the front side that only so many are available may improve the chance of a sale, as well as diminish disappointment when you run out.

We continually search for the correct blend of ingredients that will prompt internet visitors to become paying customers for our home business. If we create an award winning website, add a good product, provide a low cost, produce excellent customer service and supply fast shipping, the opportunity for making money online should increase. While these components will lead to customers, there are other essentials that will launch our work at home venture to the next level of success. A desire to build trust, a willingness to give free products and a commitment to develop a relationship with our visitors can increase the potential for creating a customer.

Developing a home business is an opportunity which requires an understanding of the commitment it takes for success. The effort that must be made for creating customers in our online store is substantial. The choices that exist for the internet shopper are in the millions. We need to formulate a plan that will attract visitors, create customers and encourage revisits. There are many ways to initiate this concept, but the first step for producing buyers is establishing trust.

An important priority for a home based business is creating a long term relationship with online customers. Accomplishing this goal will sow the seeds of an internet venture that will last indefinitely. Developing trust with potential clients increases the possibility of producing a customer. Buyers who trust us will tell their friends about our online venture. These seeds can grow and develop into a successful money making opportunity.

There are a variety of ways that we can create trust with our customers:

1) Respond to inquiries quickly.

2) Travel the extra mile for their concerns.

3) Communicate a genuine desire for their satisfaction.

4) Add a sincere touch to our interactions.

5) Give information (or a product) that will improve their lives.

6) Follow-up consistently.

These last two ideas can be most effective for bringing success to our work at home venture. A free product that improves the lives of internet visitors plants the seed for developing trust with potential customers.

We can give prospective buyers a free sample of a product or a free example of the new design that is being introduced into our work from home business. One of the best ways for planting the seed of trust is to give possible clients valuable information that will enhance their lives. The key ingredient is to give free tips or advice associated with our home based business product. It is essential that we give them something that they can use. The last thing we want to do is provide tips for building a bird house when they want insights about creating an internet home business.

Depending on what we sell, do some research and find some information that will help potential customers make an informed decision. If we give them knowledge (plus a free sample) they will come to view us as someone who cares and someone they can trust. They will perceive us as an authority for our internet product. Knowing the needs of prospective clients gives us the opportunity to develop a relationship. Trust is not something that they will give away freely. We must show them that we want it. We must earn it.

The next step for developing trust with potential home business customers is contacting them after their free information (or product) was sent. Wait about 5 to 7 days. Contact them by E-mail (or phone call) and ask if they received the merchandise. Are they enjoying it? Was it helpful? How did they benefit? Is there anything else they could use? We should try and provoke a response from potential clients. We want to create a relationship with them. If they reply to our questions, we know that they are interested. This is how a trust develops and a relationship is formed.

We need to be genuine and sincere with potential customers. Our aim should be helping the internet visitors we encounter. The opportunity to sell our home based business product will develop. The goal should be to improve their lives, start a relationship, create trust and enhance our affiliation. Customers are the essential ingredient for creating internet success. We must treat them as our most important asset because they are.

The success or failure of our home business is dependent on one thing: customers. We should not look at potential clients as dollar signs. We need to treat them as a valuable resource. If our main goal is to improve the lives of possible buyers they will begin to trust us. Trust develops into relationships. Relationships create customers for our home business. The opportunity to make money on the internet will happen if we view internet visitors as someone we want to help.

“The entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.”

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