To get where you’re going, it’s going to take action. If you find some quiet time to give to your business, here are six steps to get Social Media working for you and your business.
First, determine whether your target audience uses Social Media and which ones they’re on. Join the groups they’re a part of. If your target audience is baby boomers, chances are you need to focus your networking and marketing efforts on the more traditional routes since boomers (in general) aren’t using twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn the way the 20-50 year olds are. If your target is women with school-aged children, chances are they are shopping online and participating in various online groups, discussion boards, and blogs as well as the platforms mentioned above. In marketing, your goal is always to meet your audience where they are. It builds credibility if you move in the same circles they do, and you’ll learn a lot about their wants and needs by doing so.
Second, consider your intention for creating (or beefing up) your online presence. As a mompreneur, it’s great to use Facebook, twitter, myspace and others to keep connected to friends and family. For your professional purposes, you need to be clear on how you want potential clients, partners, and colleagues to know you. Does your current online presence reflect the business image you want out there? The bottom line is that by participating in platforms like twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, you are (officially and unofficially) marketing yourself. What interesting and important things do you want your public to know about you that might help your business grow?
Third, take a good-looking picture of yourself that sets the tone for what you want your connections, friends and followers to know about you. If you’re a yoga instructor, your pic should convey ideas of peace, calm and wellbeing. If you are a marketing consultant, you might do better with a professional image, rather than a shot of you and your dog. Upload it to your computer (100×100 pixels is the best size), and then use it on your various online profiles.
Fourth, if you haven’t already done so, create an account with twitter (microblog), Facebook (social/business networking), LinkedIn (professional networking) and WordPress.com (blog). These are all free, and you can get accounts set up with each of them in just a few minutes. Make sure you upload a picture to go with each of your profiles. Take a moment to write something about yourself on each of the platforms (this is your bio, info, background, or “About” page). Keep it short for now and come back later to add to it, but make sure you write something that will allow potential connections to know a little bit about you. Be sure to include your website or blog url, if you have one, everywhere you can.
Fifth, start adding and sharing valuable content.One of the big rules of using Social Media successfully is to have a philosophy of “giving rather than receiving.” What content (quotes, funny stories, relevant tips, links to interesting articles) can you provide that would be beneficial to your followers? Write or share that, rather than endlessly promoting yourself and your business. If you provide content that others will find valuable, your networks will grow. And as they grow, more people will learn about you and the work you do. And if they like what they’re reading about you, chances are they’ll refer some business your way or purchase something from you themselves.
Sixth, build your networks by connecting with people you find interesting. There are many ways to find these people. Examples include: twitter timeline, LinkedIn Q&A forum, Facebook friends of friends, reading comments made by other bloggers and checking out their profiles, etc. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The important thing is to build a network and then to build your relationships within your network. Again, the best policy is to look for questions/problems you can solve and give your advice or support freely. It’s good karma, and it’s good business to do so.