Social media utilises the internet to maximise contact with your current network. It also helps you to grow your group of connections at an exponential rate.
LinkedIn allows you to link to other professionals in your industry and community. Look for “contacts” and “connections.”
Facebook is more social than professional. It allows you to connect with “friends” or become “fans” of businesses/identities.
Twitter provides online news and views in 140 characters or less. The goal is to develop a dialogue with other users. Due to the limit on the number of characters, an entirely new language has been born. Develop “followers” and find people to “follow”.
How to apply social media to your business:
- Branding for you and your company (free profiles)
- Business development
- Make connections through your contacts and potentially generate business for you or your customers
- Use the platform to research prospective customers
- Identify ideal job candidates by reviewing their online resumes
- Use targeted advertising. For example, you can target LinkedIn members who are business owners, are based in the area you work in and have 50 – 100 employees
- Join groups and build communities with fellow professionals and companies
- Branding for you and your business (free profiles)
- Make connections with others who become friends and fans
- Share specific information with specific “groups” of your friends
- Recruit individuals and stay in contact with former employees
- Build your online community of “fans”
- News delivery and receipt
- Opinion delivery and receipt
- Share what’s on your mind with your followers and find out the thoughts of the people you are following
- “Retweet” interesting items to followers
Tips to maximise the results of social networking:
- Educate instead of promote. People will switch off to your message if you do not add value
- Connect your current customers with each other to help them develop new business. LinkedIn is perfect for this
- Be regular and consistent with your communication. All sites have “feeds,” and you need to be regular with your updates to make sure you are included in your network feeds. Example: Set a goal for a weekly update, and if there’s no news, provide a popular quote for the week
- Create a firm-wide policy. Set the expectations for your company. Who can use the sites? How are they to be used?
- Don’t expect the phone to ring as soon as you create your profile. You need to engage with your community by, for example, commenting on other people’s posts. To increase visibility, be a regular contributor to other tweets, blog posts and LinkedIn/Facebook updates
Here are some activities particularly suited to social networking:
- Recruiting – For internal and external jobs
- Engaging – For improving relationships with current customers and targeting new customers
- Educating – For demonstrating specific skills, talents and expertise
- Observing – For monitoring public comments and opinions about your business
- Social media sites are constantly changing – keep up to date with the latest trends by subscribing to blogs