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Part 2: Boost your business with social media basics from expert Stephanie Schwab

Yesterday we shared a Q&A with Stephanie Schwab, founder and CEO of Crackerjack Marketing. A well-known expert on all things social, Stephanie founded the Social Media School in New York, where she trains businesses on how to start social media programs.

Because she had so much to share, we’ve included a few more questions and answers here today.

What are the specific benefits of starting a blog on a business’ own site versus using other platforms?

I use the analogy of fishing versus farming. With Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube, you’re fishing in someone else’s stream. That stream could go away one day because you don’t own or control it.

With a blog, it’s like you’re farming. You’re planting your own crops. Every dollar you spend on that “farm” increases its value for you and you alone. You own the information of everyone who signs up for your blog updates. It’s also generally more acceptable to include links to your own site from your blog than it is on other platforms, and that can encourage more traffic and benefit your business. Finally, a blog provides a big SEO (search engine optimization) boost to your website.

Is it ok for business owners to outsource social media?

It depends on who you outsource to. It must be someone who understands your business and can represent you well. He or she should have a genuine aptitude for social media and be a good fit for your company and products. Look first within your own company; perhaps someone you haven’t thought of, like your bookkeeper or sales clerk, is passionate about social media and your brand. When I work with a client, I often build up a social media presence for them with the intention that I will hand them the reins eventually.

Any tips to measure social media efforts?

One metric, especially for online businesses or businesses with strong web presences, is website traffic. If you have analytics in place, you should be able to know if social media is driving people to your site and what they’re doing when they’re there. You can also see how often your brand is liked on Facebook or mentioned on Twitter. You can see if you’re being added to lists on Twitter. You may want to survey your users as well to understand if they’re interacting with and interested in your social media presences. You can then tailor your efforts based on what you find out. If you discover your most loyal customers are reading your blog, for example, then you can create content that speaks to their interests.

Stephanie Schwab has 15 years’ experience in digital media, with the last eight focused in social media, and has worked with well-known clients including Target, Graco Baby, Lion Brand Yarn, and Kaplan Test Prep. She is the CEO of Crackerjack Marketing and the founder of Digital Family Summit and Social Media School. You can follow Stephanie on Twitter @stephanies or connect on Skype at sjschwab.

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