Guest Post by Jill Hart
It’s official. Social media is here to stay. It’s not a fad like so many initially thought and it isn’t going anywhere soon. Businesses have realized that not only is it a great way to connect with current clients, but a great way to land potential clients as well. And that’s only the beginning. Social media also allows you to promote all your upcoming events and products, and even gives you front row access to editors and reporters who might write on your area of expertise. The possibilities are truly endless. But the big question now is, how can entrepreneurs best use the current social media opportunities to help increase business? Here are some tips we feel will help.
Ten tips to incorporate social media into your marketing plan:
Determine What Social Media Sites Are Best For You. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the top three, but that’s only the beginning. Determine who your target market is and then meet them where they are. It’s okay to ask by taking a survey by email or on your website asking which social media avenue your clients prefer. Once you determine that, be consistent and realize that you can’t be everywhere all the time. Pick the ones that are best for your business and really engage.
Team Up With Other Entrepreneurs. By teaming up, you allow easy access to retweets, Facebook posts, etc. Plus, it’s a great way to provide your audience with more valuable information on topics that would interest them by sharing information that is provided by the business(es) you team up with. Just make sure that your choose teammates with information that is a good fit for your audience.
Don’t Just Advertise, Build Relationships. – We’ve all seen them. The tweets and Facebook postings that we know are scheduled and we know are only trying to sell us something. We aren’t saying that you can’t promote your services or products. In fact, we encourage you to do that. But do it right. Don’t just be about landing the deal. Truly connect with your audience and show them why they would want to work with you. We know you’ve heard it a million times already, but it speaks for itself and bears repeating: Social media is meant to be “social.”
Make It a Two-Way Street. You post and you post and you post on Facebook. You’ve tweeted away on Twitter & you’ve updated your status on Linkedin. Finally you’re done. Social marketing is ready to be checked off the list. Not so fast! Realize that just like you are posting there are others out there posting and building relationships as well. Get out there and respond to others, too. When you think about it, how do you feel when someone posts on your Facebook posting or blog entry? It feels good, doesn’t it? When you see a Facebook posting that you like leave a comment – always making sure you add value and are not just promoting your business.
Make It Exciting. We see this often: business owners on Twitter who get on for 20-minute increments and during that time we are inundated with retweets. They will throw in an occasional tip or two, but basically it’s just 20 minutes of nonsense. Now we love a good retweet, but we don’t enjoy this at all. When you are marketing your business via social media, make sure that you engage with others and make it exciting. Give some good information and tips – don’t just retweet to be seen. Provide great value and your followers will not only enjoy your messages, but when they are looking to refer someone who needs your services, you will be on the top of the list.
Learn From Others. One of the best things about being in business these days is that you have the opportunity to follow the pros and see what they are doing right. They eagerly give out tips, videos, etc. Make it a point to follow those who you respect and can learn from. Sit back and take notes. But more importantly, take the action steps necessary to make these points work. It’s more than learning from them, you need to actually do what they recommend as well.
Contribute to Other Networks. Another great aspect of social media is getting your message out to more than just your audience. Offer to guest post for other networks in your area of expertise. You never know who may see your posts and become a client.
Create An Expert Status. Why do people follow you? Many times it is because they see you as the best at what you do and they want to learn from you. Therefore it’s important to always give solid tips and advice to really show your expertise. Create high quality blog postings, tips lists and posts to share with your audience. It may take extra time to create high quality work, but the effort will be well worth it in the end.
Spruce Up Your Page. Social media has come a long way in a short time. No more are you limited to a tiny avatar of your logo. Most of the social networking sites today allow you to fully customize your page with images, backgrounds and more. Spend the time to create a page that will draw in your audience and make them want to come back daily.
Be respectful. One of the things that most business owners value most is time. It’s important when you are on Facebook, Twitter and the other networks, that you be respectful of others’ time. A few ways you can do that: Don’t Expect An Instant Response. Sending an Instant Message (IM) to a colleague or respected leader is fine, but recognize that they may not be able to chat with you immediately. Often times that person has allocated a certain amount of time to be on the site. If they are constantly on an IM, they can’t get what they need done. We’re not saying you can’t IM, but be respectful when you do.
Don’t Take Advantage. Social media is a relationship builder and gives us instant access to industry leaders. However, be careful not to take advantage of someone’s goodwill by asking a zillion questions. Most business owners enjoy helping others, however, to provide personalized coaching is a different story. Always respect the person you are communicating with and we bet you’ll find you get way more back than you ever imagined.
See how easy social media is. When done right it can bring amazing results for your business. Not only will you establish yourself as an expert, but you will be promoting your products and services regularly. Make it a commitment to master social media marketing and we promise you next year at this time, you’ll be so glad you did.
Jill Hart, Founder of Christian Work-at-Home Moms http://www.cwahm.com and Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com have teamed up to write So You Want to Be a Work at Home Mom: A Christian’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business http://www.soyouwanttobeawahm.com.