People ask me all the time for my tips on how to use social media to advance your business, expand your network and overall improve your life. Forgive the stiff introduction...everybody has their own reasons for using any social media outlet. It's nearly impossible for me to see through the computer screen into your motivations.
If you are anything like me, you've got a number of motivations. For example, I use Twitter mostly for therapy...I've read that 85% of "tweets" are ignored, so it's a decent outlet for getting things off your chest without much repercussion. On the other hand, I use Facebook when I want a response. People can't help giving their opinions on Facebook and I usually design my postings to allow them to do it. I love it.
Google+ and LinkedIn and there and I am still working out their place in my own life. I can tell you I've made a number of great business contacts and online sales as a result of LinkedIn, so I know it's good for that. Here are my guidelines. I follow them pretty well. Let me know what you think.
1. Be there. I am reading that 40% of people still don't have Facebook accounts. Okay...so you don't care what I had for dinner. But here's the problem: your prospects and customers care what you had for dinner and, if they can't find you, they'll forget about you. These days, the first thing a new prospect will do is Google you. They expect to be able to find you and connect with you quickly.
2. Be active. If you're going to have a Twitter account, by all means do some tweeting! It's another way for people to engage and learn more about you. Believe it or not, people pay attention. If you advertise a Twitter account and people log on to find ZERO tweets, what are you telling them about your attentiveness?
3. Be anything but boring. The worst thing you can be is boring. The worst! Say something. Do something. Take a picture of something. Take advantage of the chance to let your personality shine through. Don't worry. People will like you.
4. Be authentic. While you're focusing on being exciting, remember to be yourself. People can tell a phony from a mile away, so don't be one of them! I advised you to be anything but boring and I stand by that. But don't put on a show either. People get sick of that and the last thing you want to be considered is a joke.
5. Be transparent. When you're being truly transparent, you will feel naked. If you aren't showing people something of your true self, you're wasting your time and everyone else's. People are often afraid that being transparent will alienate people, but that couldn't be further from the truth. You might lose a contact or two, but the strength of your other relationships will more than make up for any loses.
6. Be business-minded. I've found that the people who are most fruitful with social media are ALWAYS ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS even in the midst of posting about their fishing trip. That's great. Just don't be all about business all the time or people will tune you out because they'll feel like you're "selling" them on something.
7. Be leveraged. It doesn't have to be hard work. There are a ton of tools that make using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and even your blog easier to use. HootSuite and TweetDeck are two of them. SocialOomph is another. With TweetDeck, I can post updates and photos to all of my sites and groups at once whenever I want to and follow all the replies in one place. It's much more sane than bouncing around from page to page posting and replying.
8. Be blogging. Sometimes you have more to say than 140 characters (the Twitter limit) can contain. Facebook allows 420 characters. But what if that isn't enough? Start a blog. With Blogger and Wordpress, it will take you about two minutes. You have no excuse! You might even use your blog as sort of a personal journal. Go for it. I'm confident you have some interesting thoughts to share.
9. Be bold. This relates to my thoughts about business, blogging and such. You can't be bashful. You have to be bold. If you need help overcoming a challenge, say so! You might be shocked at how quickly people will come forward with assistance. If you need more customers to come by your cake shop, say so! The old axiom "A closed mouth doesn't get fed" is still true and maybe more true than ever as more and more birds are chirping.
10. Be ready to take it offline. Social media is great, but doesn't replace the good, old-fashioned sales call or networking meeting. Take advantage of opportunities to connected with your online friends whenever possible. Put together your own event, if you must. Meeting people with whom you've only interacted online previously is exciting! I promise you'll get some stories to tell if nothing else.
Like, anything else, you will get out of social media what you put into it. The law of sowing and reaping works there, too. One thing is for sure: it isn't going away. Social media are a part of our world and part of our future. Therefore, we all have to make sure they work for us and our goals instead of against us. We certainly can't opt out.
If you are looking for helping understanding social media and building your own strategy, check out this resource! It's perfect for you! Also, I'm hear for your questions. Let me know how I can serve you!