Essential Knowledge of Social Media for Business

Over the past two years, I have made many business mistakes and just now beginning to be able to put it all together. My hope is this article will enlighten you and save you time and money. There is a ton of “advice” out there and I wish I had found this information about social media all at once, in one concise article – so enjoy!

Social Media for Business Fotolia_Social-Media-Puzzle-e1341972537587When I lost my corporate job, I was determined to never go back. I realized no one is hiring anyway, so let me create my own “job” and do something I love. I started off blogging about “green” living and met tons of super cool folks via Twitter. I had no idea what I was doing but Twitter was powerful. A free way to meet people with my same interests and connect with them instantly and so widespread. Still, aside from getting “free” products to review on my blog, this was not paying the bills.

I opened a Facebook Page, paid for a ton of advertising but realized paying for advertising upfront is not a good idea. Use free resources in the beginning. You'll lose a ton of money doing this. I explain this more in detail below.

I then dusted off my Linkedin profile and realized the 3 differences between the most popular social media outlets are vast, and can be confusing on how to utilize them to really benefit from them.

Here's the lowdown:

Twitter:

Twitter is an amazing place to reach a global audience quickly and generate interest in you, your product, service, etc. But, here are some crucial tips:

  • Upload a photo or logo. Not having one is just bad. I don't follow folks without a pic/logo or bio.
  • Make your bio interesting and relevant. Let the person know what you're there for.
  • Follow wisely and follow back wisely. Read their bios, read their last few tweets. If they're using profanity or just there to promote negativity, move on. Are they active and relevant tweeters?
  • Think quality over quantity. It's tempting to increase your followers (almost addictive) but you can meet some super cool people on Twitter by focusing on quality over quality.
  • Don't overly retweet others' tweets. Be sure to throw out your own relevant tweets to show you have something interesting to say too.
  • Make sure your tweets aren't just about you, or what you're selling. At the same time, no one really cares what you're doing every second of the day either.
  • Be sure to thank those that mention you, welcome new followers, answer Direct Messages and engage genuinely with those you connect with. However, leave long one-on-one conversations via email or some other venue. People don't want to see a lengthy conversation with you and another tweep.
  • If you decide to use an Auto DM (A message from you that a new follower automatically receives) make it interesting and not a sales pitch. However, a lot of folks just don't like getting these so you may lose followers just because they despise them.
  • Be consistent. Don't abandon Twitter for days or weeks at a time. Lack of activity can make you lose followers, or not attract new ones.
  • Do not overly tweet. It's annoying and people will un-follow you if they see you tweet every 15 minutes about nothing in particular.
  • Do not pay for followers. It's against policy and just not worth it anyway.

Facebook:

Facebook is mostly where people just go to socialize, so I found it difficult to really connect with people as consumers. As a matter of fact, my dentist was paying for advertising for a bit but noticed these people who made appointments thru Facebook rarely showed up, or became patients. However, more and more people are using Facebook to do business (with integrated stores, etc.) and I feel that it will become more popular to “shop” on Facebook as opposed to just socializing.

  • Don't pay for advertising at first. I find many people “like” a page but not really interested in engaging with you or your product. It's an impulse. As with Twitter, I would rather have people who like my page because they really like it. They're more likely to become a customer.
  • If you do want to pay, Facebook is probably the best; simply because you can really target your audience like nowhere else (by region, interests, etc.) so in that aspect, and if you've got the budget, this is an ideal place to spend some of your advertising budget.
  • Be very engaging – this is a great place to run a contest and really connect with your audience, so use it wisely and utilize the resources available. IE: Facebook Apps, etc.
  • Be personal and let people know you're a real person. People love this and want to know who's behind the logo. Of course, “professionally” personal. Please don't share things you wouldn't want your boss to know. Share a great dinner experience, not your bar experience.
  • Reply to comments and be sure to keep it fun and professional.

Linkedin:

Linkedin has become a huge favorite of mine! As I began developing the idea of opening an online eco-boutique, I used Linkedin to find suppliers. I needed companies that could drop-ship products as I don't have the funds or space to buy in wholesale. In weeks, I had a list long enough to begin my boutique with some amazing people. Linkedin is phenomenal for business-to-business.

  • Again, fill out your profile in full and join “Groups” (or create your own) that will connect you with the people you want to know.
  • Linkedin is not about socializing. It's professional and the people there are usually pretty genuine and incredibly helpful.
  • Use the tools and resources there to help you. Link your Twitter profile, be active in your groups and follow-up with messages sent to you, etc.
  • Use Linkedin to showcase your skills, talents and you will be rewarded with some truly worthwhile connections.

With any venue you use for business, use the following tips in all of them:

  • Be professional
  • Be positive
  • Be friendly
  • Be connected
  • Be fun
  • Be genuine
  • Be passionate about your product, service, etc.
  • Be kind
  • Be proactive
  • Be a role model
  • Be reliable
  • Be trustworthy
  • Be honest and ethical
  • Be yourself

I hope you get to take away at least one piece of information that will help you!

Wishing you abundance, peace, joy and MUCH success!

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