Managing your social media presence and building customer relationships - FOX 54 WZDX – Huntsville News, Weather and Sports

Managing your social media presence and building customer relationships

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Is virtual buzz replacing word of mouth for small businesses looking to reach new customers? While face-to-face recommendations from satisfied customers will always have a place in the business world, generating positive buzz in social media has become an essential marketing tool for small businesses.

When satisfied customers leave your store, you know how to encourage them to spread the word of their positive experience - you just have to ask. But how do you use social media to extend the reach of that good relationship?

Start out by exploring these social media sites and creating accounts on each for your small business:

Facebook - The mother of all social networking sites, Facebook boasts more than 500 million active users, and half of them are logged in on any given day, according to the website's statistics. You can create a profile page for your business, just as you would create a personal page.

Foursquare - More than 8 million users worldwide use Foursquare's mobile platform aimed at "making cities easier to use and more interesting to explore," according to the site.

Twitter - Not really a website, but an information-sharing network, Twitter allows you to connect with and follow - or be followed by - people who share your interests.

Yelp - Founded in 2004, Yelp is aimed at helping consumers find local businesses. Users have generated more than 17 million local reviews, the site reports.

CitySearch - CitySearch blends consumer and professional reviews and recommendations for more than 75,000 locations across the country. Mobile apps allow users to access information from smartphones.

Managing your online reputation is important for small businesses, but with so many social media platforms out there you may feel like you could use some help monitoring all your social media accounts.

Fortunately, American Express OPEN has introduced YourBuzz, a free social media monitoring and management tool. YourBuzz helps you manage your online reputation by consolidating your business listings and social media mentions in one dashboard. With this easy-to-use business app you can find out what customers are saying about your business and more:

* Access and track your information on CitySearch, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and other popular websites
* Aggregate your customer reviews, ratings and online mentions
* Respond, retweet or create a new conversation
* See how you stack up to your competitors
* Get recommendations for actions to take

You can learn more and sign up for free at www.yourbuzz.com/reputation.

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