If you're a business owner then you probably know that social media is a great way of promoting your products and services. It costs nothing apart from your own time, and is a great way of building relationships with potential clients and other business owners. However, many people are put off using it - writing it off as too time consuming and unable to see the benefits it can bring to their business.
When I set up my own business, I had never used social media before. However, I soon saw its potential to get my name out there to prospective customers and once I'd got going, I enjoyed using it and have made some great connections along the way.
So if you are someone who's struggling with social media, then here are 7 steps to take you to social media heaven!
It's important to remember that social media is another part of your marketing strategy so you need to know what you want to achieve with it. Do you just want to use it to promote yourself; find potential partners and suppliers; or to generate business from it? So before you get started, take some time to set some actions and goals.
Each social media application is different so don't try to use them all in the same way. For example, how you use and interact on Twitter will be very different from how you do it on Facebook, and the same goes for LinkedIn.
Once you have signed up, ensure that you fully complete your profile, with a keyword-rich bio of what you do, a link to your website, and a picture - ideally one of you if you're running your business by yourself.
You can save time managing your social media accounts by using third party applications such as Ezeesocial. You can use these to schedule updates, as well as track click through's on links, and manage followers. It can be tempting to post one update to all your accounts at once, but remember that all social media is not the same. That funny remark you post on Twitter may not go down so well on LinkedIn!
Use the search features to look for relevant followers, fans and connections who could potentially be interested in your business. You can also use the search facility in Twitter and Facebook to find people who work in relevant industries, locations or are talking about topics relating to what you do.
Think like your customer. As with all your marketing activities, when using social media you need to think about what your potential customers might be looking for. Obviously use it to share personal stuff about yourself, but when it comes to the business side of your updates, keep in mind what your contacts would find useful.
It's not all about you! Don't spend all your time broadcasting messages about you and your business though. Engage with others by asking and answering questions, retweeting people's posts on Twitter, or commenting on someone's wall on Facebook. People love it when others share their content and engage with them, and this helps build up a relationship with your contacts.
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