Social media is the hot new topic for business promotion, and it’s important to include platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram in your marketing communications mix. Unlike a billboard or a print ad, social media is about developing relationships, but in cyberspace rather than in person.
Social media serves several purposes for business:
- Helps you develop a trusted relationship with potential customers. It’s interesting how people we have never met will connect with us online. If you are a good member of the online platform, potential customers will buy or endorse your products, but knowing how to interact is key.
- Helps you become a thought leader. As your online persona becomes more established and you develop credibility in your field, you’ll be recognized as a thought-leader in your industry.
- Meet TV, radio, newspaper, bloggers and other media personalities. The media is harder and harder to reach via phone and email, but they are all over the Internet. Twitter is particularly rich with media personalities who can help promote your products and services.
- Lastly, broadcast company news or special offers. It’s kosher to promote your business via social media channels, but knowing how to do so is the difference between success and being ostracized.
Consistency is the key to successful social media programs. Here’s how to incorporate the hot new platforms into your everyday business management tasks. It should take only 15 – 20 minutes per platform.
Here’s a quick daily regimen for your Twitter account:
- Check mentions
Pull up any mentions of your Twitter handle – @yourname – and see where you need to interact. Did anyone RT one of your posts, or did a new person follow you? Like in other business relationships, thank-you tweets are then in order.
Can any of the mentions lead to a dialogue? If so, respond with a question that keeps the conversation going.
- Follow back
Follow back all new followers. In addition, check if there’s a connection. If so, follow back and then comment or RT or interact in some way to start building connections.
With its huge numbers of participants worldwide, Facebook is an important social media marketing tool. It’s important to daily log in, scan your Timeline quickly, and see if anything warrants a Share or Comment.
Searches on Facebook will bring you connections you might not have expected, but that can yield productive connections. This is especially true in local markets.
Connections from LinkedIn are powerful and just require a little effort each day. LinkedIn members need to join groups in your particular area of expertise. Then it’s easy to daily check your communications and see where you might be able to make a connection.
By posting in groups, you’ll also be able to communicate with other members with like interests.
The fun photo-sharing platform is especially powerful as it’s new and hip. Even if you’re not working in media, entertainment, and music, Instagram is a must in your everyday business management tasks. The organization of photos will let you search so you can keep track of photo interests.
Social media is so much more than describing what you had for lunch. With organization and some daily management, social media such as Twitter can help you reach more potential customers.
Sarah Boisvert’s business blogging ranges from bathroom model ideas to installing new roofing. She also writes about 3D-printing and digital fabrication.