Social Networking for the Business Person with No Extra Time
I gave the attached PowerPoint Presentation at robinTime this past May as part of the Wednesday evening TechSavvy series cosponsored by Newport County Computers/ATC Tech. The following post is a compilation of my notes that accompanied the PowerPoint presentation, so be sure to look at the attached PowerPoint while reading the post.
As many business people have already started to use social media, I geared the presentation and this post towards the supposition that the reader (audience) has at least one social media account. In addition, as I have gained much of my social media savvy through my efforts to market my own small business, I have used my social media accounts as examples.
Social media is sharing. It's cooperative and mutual. There are also an incredible number of social media platforms available.
What To Do With All These Choices and Tools?
From social networks to social marketing management to social brand engagement and all the others, the choices are staggering and can sometimes seem overwhelming. While this first chart in the attached PowerPoint is effective for putting all the different platforms into categories, it also demonstrates the sheer volume of the social media landscape today. Even this chart doesn’t include everything.… Pinterest & Youtube are not shown.
Evaluating the Choices
Obviously the first step is to evaluate the choices. For business, accounts on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn are the bare minimum for effective social engagement. You can link your Facebook and Twitter, and your Linked In and Twitter. You can no longer link all three due to a recent decision (June 30, 2012) by LinkedIn. I have them all linked for my business and recommend to clients to do so as well to save time and reach the different networks on a regular basis.
As your network grows, it starts to become self-sustaining, provided you remain engaged.
Understanding How Social Media Functions
By understanding the Social Media landscape and putting it into conventional marketing/networking terms, we can see where the various platforms can fit into a marketing plan for a business. Creating community and engagement is key across all of the different platforms.
In order to network, you need to create a presence that reflects your business. This is your digital branding. You’ve already set up your account, but you’re really not using it, not posting, not engaging, not making anything happen. The new Timeline is great for businesses and business promotion. Use all the new features to maximize your presence and your brand.
Remember it's not all about you and your business. Social media etiquette is important. “Like” other businesses so that their posts show up in your newsfeed. “Like” & share their posts to increase virality. Use the analytics to help you time your posts and types of posts that are effective for your business. Focus on quality posts as well as quantity.
Follow others that relate to your business. For my business, CADEAUX du MONDE, that means: fair trade, green, folk art, art, newport, eco conscious, etc. Follow others so that they may follow you! Again it’s about engagement and community--as you follow, you’re followed. Also, who you follow provides you with new content to share (retweet)--mutualization again.
Most people don’t take full advantage of LinkedIn. It's not just a place to post your CV--it's a strictly business community where you can promote your business directly. Just like on Facebook, you can keep it casual, but also keep it professional. Remember your online profile is important to how people view you and your business. It helps them decide on where to do business, functions as a source of leads and a source of business information. In addition, there are great articles which are useful business tutorials as well as provide great content for sharing across social media platforms.
There are currently 10 million users on Pinterest. It is the fastest growing social media site ever and is great for referrals and driving traffic. I have created a “Let’s get SOCIAL” pinboard to share visuals from my presentation as well as relevant images from around the web.
This is the platform to show your expertise. Try to post regularly and make it organic to your other business activity and marketing plan. This presentation is my latest blog post.
Management & Streaming
If you want to coordinate your social media networking and marketing efforts in one spot--this is for you. Also, if your schedule is tight or you're away--it allows you to plan ahead. Beware of over reliance on this tool, as it lacks spontaneity for your networks.
Let’s summarize the high notes, some essential take home points to translate this jumble of options into a readily implementable, viable reality for your business. Remember that social media is the ultimate Pay It Forward.
Don’t forget to use the analytics to optimize the efficacy of your efforts. There are a lot of powerful tools that you can tailor to provide very useful insights into your specific application.
Now It’s Time To…Get SOCIAL!!!
In order to succeed, you have to apply these tools on a consistent basis. But, it doesn't mean a huge time commitment which as a busy business person you don't have. Just focus on putting in time (10-15 minutes) every day. Make it work for you to the best advantage for you and your business.
I found this great post on Facebook the day before I gave this presentation and it couldn't be more apropos.
"Listen. Are you all about tweeting, posting and blogging? Keep it up, but if you think of social media as a parallel to talking at a networking event, you can increase your social media reach many times over by zipping it now and then. Instead of doing all the talking, listen. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice, James Marshall, said, “To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well." In our overly saturated world, that's even more true today. Take a little time out each day to visit your friends and followers' posts and pages. Then comment. You'll show them you care about their ideas and their lives, helping them feel more connected and appreciated, and you'll learn something new or find a new dose of inspiration. You'll better understand your customers, readers, friends, and colleagues. And you'll quickly discover the power of mutualism. You've just made your connection more current and more valued, and when your "liked" comment shows up on their friends' feeds, you've just made hundreds of new connections. Social media is letting us take back our humanity from the sterile professionalism promoted in conventional corporate culture. In the social media space, and hopefully everywhere else, try to remember, you're not marketing to consumers, you're connecting with people." Idealist Marketing Facebook post-5/22/12.