I speak with BrianBasilico, a nationally recognized Author and Speaker and Founding President of B to B Interactive Marketing. Brian works in helping small businesses create a web presence.
Brian says when blogging, if you are constantly selling, you will create a distance between you and your potential customers. He says it is by far more important to build trust by producing content that will help people; content that people will come back to read again or comment on.
Brian asserts that social media is relationship marketing, not advertising. You need to utilize your good networking skills; listen twice as hard as you speak.
Brian highly recommends setting up Google Alerts for those listeners attempting to create an online presence. One should track their own name, brand, and business name. This will help you readily respond to anyone talking about you or your product.
I am reminded of an issue I had with Esquire IMAX after a poor customer service experience. I found it incredible that I still had heard no word back from the company after attempting to engage with them online. Clearly they only communicate with their customers via ads and do not take advantage of social networking.
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