Utilizing social media to market your services and offerings is easy, cheap and the most effective way to spread the word and build your brand. The added bonus is that it gives your audience the chance to connect with your business on a more personal and human level.
Social media channels rarely require a one size fits all approach: each platform has something unique to offer, with varying strengths and specifications. In fact, I often think about these channels individually—each with their own (sometimes slightly obnoxious) personality.
Let’s meet a few of them, shall we?
If you are a newbie looking to dip your toes in social media for business, Facebook is the place to start. If used correctly and consistently, Facebook can you give you the biggest bang for your buck.
This new friend of yours congregates regularly with 1.65 billion active users—meaning your potential for growth, if you choose to engage and participate, is virtually limitless.
Tips for utilizing Facebook for business:
- Be sure to fill out your profile totally and completely. This means using the total word count and being as descriptive as possible.
- Communicate your brand personality. Think about what sets your business apart and resist the urge to imitate what your competitors are doing. Speak to your strengths and don’t be afraid to infuse humor and honesty—the more you can humanize your brand, the more likely you are to connect with your audience.
- Invite your friends to like your page. You have to start somewhere and the best place to begin is with friends and family. Once your business page is up and you’ve added some content, invite your network to ‘like’ your page. This activity will give your page a boost and increase the likelihood of your posts showing up on timelines outside of your immediate circle.
- Build your base without using shortcuts. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers and fixate on how many ‘followers’ you might have compared to others. But if you’re interesting, engaging and helpful your fans will surface, begin to engage and will eventually share your content. As a word of caution, do not purchase Facebook likes. This shortcut could easily lead to the demise of your online reputation.
- Facebook insights. Once you’ve reached 30+ likes, you will have access to Facebook Insights. While we all get excited about those little blue thumbs, comments and shares, Facebook Insights provides valuable and measurable information. For example, you can see audience demographics, see the kind of posts that get the most attention and even get a sense of when most of your fans are online. This information is critical honing your post and frequency sweet spot. To learn more about how to utilize these insights, click here.
Twitter: your slightly snarky, in-the-know, short attention-spanned friend
Twitter can be one of the toughest platforms for people to grasp—especially if they didn’t grow-up on the internet (*cough* Millennials).
The concept of hashtags and a limited word count can be mystifying and confusing. But once you get past the jargon, you begin to see the value in starting a profile and building a following. In short, this is another easy way to send traffic back to your website and make those small touches with potential leads. Though Twitter is often viewed as a playground for short attention spans, there is value in spending some time in the Twittersphere.
Here are some quick tips to get you started:
- Post and share enticing content. Twitter users are scrolling through at neck-break speed. This means that you need compelling text, video, an entertaining gif or—if you’re super lucky– a celebrity endorsement to stop viewers in their tracks.
- Post at least 3 times a day. With Twitter, frequency is your friend—especially since the shelf life of a tweet these days is around 18 minutes. If you don’t have time to hop on to Twitter every few hours, you can always leverage a service like Buffer, Hootsuite or CoSchedule to plan for weeks or months in advance.
- Don’t forget to engage! In addition to creating and posting tweets, be sure to follow others, make comments and engage in the conversation. Who knows—you might even have a little fun!
- Study hashtags and use them to your advantage! In short, a hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the “#” sign. This is a simple way to categorize topics, making social messages discoverable to people with shared interests. Once you’ve added a hashtag to your tweet, your tweet becomes searchable and your reach increases.
If you have a business you need a LinkedIn presence, it’s just that simple. Whether you’re being considered for a new position, receiving an RFP for a project or signing on with a new client, LinkedIn is likely the first place these new connections will go. You are being vetted on the internet everyday so may as well make an impressive and professional first impression.
Here are your LinkedIn essentials:
- Resist the urge to take a selfie. PLEASE. Not a single person will take you seriously if you haven’t taken the time to get a professional headshot. Need some headshot tips? Click here.
- Add detailed and complete information. Take the time to share your work history, background and successes. Treat your LinkedIn profile like a [much more interesting] online portfolio!
- Get personal. Don’t be afraid to add a little personality and color to your profile. This approach can result in a much more interesting and memorable experience for your visitor. If you have great things to say, people start to pay attention!
- Don’t lurk—participate! Like all other social platforms, it’s important to venture outside of your own profile and check out the folks around you. See what other people are up to, check your feed, comment on articles and encourage your colleagues and work mates. Make an effort to be social, helpful and thoughtful and you will begin to reap the benefits of this platform. And you may even forge some interesting relationships to boot!
- Ask for recommendations. We all know that word of mouth is the best way to find new business. When we consider purchasing or trying something new, we often read reviews and ask friends for feedback. The same is true for LinkedIn—prospects want to know what others think before moving forward. Be sure to reach out to past clients and colleagues and ask them to make a recommendation. It’s easy to do and you could offer to do the same in return!