According to a recent survey on online social networking by the Institute for Corporate Productivity:
- 65% of business professionals use some form of personal or professional social network
- 47% use social networks to connect with potential clients and market their skills
- 55% use social networks to share best practices with colleagues
So, ready to jump on the Social Media Bandwagon?
Tip 1: Create a Strategy Social media is comprised of many different platforms. Creating and implementing a marketing strategy for using social media is extremely important. This will alleviate a lot of time wasted and help you to focus on the most effective way to use it and decide which social networks best suit your business needs. Three things to consider in your plan:
- Primary goal: decide on the purpose and goals for establishing social media
- Content: decide on the message you want to convey to your target audience. It is important that your content is in line with your company’s mission and values.
- Measure Your Progress: Set a timeline for the appropriate time to measure your success. This will allow you to make adjustments to your strategy.
Tip 2: Know your audience Often, I consult with clients who after talking to them, I find that they have not considered who their customers are. Most of them want to sell their products or services to any and everybody who will buy from them. I explain to them that they cannot be everything to everybody, it just won’t work! Imagine having to create a marketing campaign to attract a dozen or so industries. You would have to because one shoe does not fit all! While using social media can allow you to reach millions of people, you want to make sure you are reaching the appropriate
audience. Though Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are the most popular at this time, make sure you research other social sites that can give you the greatest access to your audience. By knowing your audience, will dramatically increase your effectiveness! This is important both online and offline. Again, know your audience!
Tip 3: Protect Your Image or Die! The image your business portrays sends an important message to your clients. It is easy to get too comfortable and let down
your guard when using various social networks. It is important to treat people with the same respect online as you do offline. Truth is information travels like wild fire! If you have a dissatisfied customer; in the matter of seconds, they can post
negative information about your business. For example, if I was dissatisfied with the way I was treated as a consumer from a business, I could post my complaint to my
twitter followers or to my fans on Facebook. Imagine the impact if a percentage of my followers also shared that post with people in their network? A web savvy customer can literally shred your company to pieces as well as destroy your credibility and reputation with a single post. Protect your reputation. Remember, image is everything!
Tip 4: Build Lasting Relationships If you put up your profile to never update or visit the social media site again, what are potential clients and business partners to think? In order to blossom and make an impact in the communities that you join, you must network. Networking is a reciprocal process based on the exchange of ideas, contacts, advice and referrals. By networking, you are building professional relationships and generating new business. In closing, more and more local small businesses and non-profit organizations are climbing aboard the social media bandwagon to market themselves for free. It just makes good business sense to learn how to leverage social media to build
communities around brands and then leverage them into revenue.
If you need any further advice or have any questions on the use of social media for your business please feel free to get in touch.