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Tips for Using Social Media to Grow Your Business

Everyone benefits from a few good tips for using social media. Hopefully, this post will do that and go the extra mile too. Since the birth commerce, merchants have dreamed about how great it would be if they could spread awareness of their products and brand, dramatically increase their customer base, and make more sales without spending anymore money (or trading any goats). One of the most amazing aspects of  our age of social media is how now( for the first time in history) you can do these things with little or no cost (other than the time it takes to do so).

The following 10 tips will get you started with spreading brand awareness through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. These are the three most popular social media tools for business today.

  1.  Have Some Fun:If you spend any time with children, you will understand that we learn best through play. So take some time and play around with social media. Many people start personal accounts to get focused and oriented on how these systems work. This is a pretty good strategy for learning. It will give you an understanding of How your customers will feel when they come across you on social media as well as your competitors.
    • facebook: Facebook focuses on things "fans" find stimulating. Facebook is great if  for your product is interesting to the average idle mind. It will attract fanatical followers.
    • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an excellent business focused networking tool. Really good for business-to-business services. LinkedIn is largely for creating on-line networks of people you already know. Once you get a feel for it you'll be able to attract their friends/people in their networks.
    • Twitter: Twitter is an excellent text-based search engine/too. It is good for any company, product, or person to attract customers, create a reputation, and make connections that will carry over to other venues.
  2. Use LinkedIn: Join and take part in LinkedIn groups. Also start your own group. Be sure your participation is in groups that are relevant to your industry. This is another way to become known as an expert and make great connections with people with interest in what you have to offer.
  3. Use LinkedIn Answers: If you're familiar with Yahoo Answers, LinkedIn Answers is similar. However, it has the added benefit of "raising" your LinkedIn profile. By raising your profile (through responding to relevant questions for your industry), you will gain a reputation as an expert in and outside of your network. Word of caution, Don't use this venue as a place to make the hard-sell for your products. This will quickly make you a pariah. Instead offer open, sincere, and free helpful information.
  4. Use facebook: Make a facebook fan page. Business fan pages are different from personal pages. Creating a fan page for facebook members will help keep your customers and their friends up-to-date. It will also spread the word about what you have to offer. This will only happen if you keep it Interesting and stimulating by posting interesting stories, articles, movies, links and pictures related to your product/service.
  5. Use Twitter: Underneath all the chatter, Twitter is basically a text search engine that allows people and out inserts text messages. It also allows people to include links, photographs, and pictures in their text messages these text messages or call tweet. Twitter limits Tweets to 140 characters. The best way to get started on Twitter is to sign up And import your email contacts. Follow all the people in your email contact book. And you can follow their followers. You can also follow people for contacts follow. If you follow somebody, you'll see all their tweets. If you see an interesting tweet, you can forward it. Twitter fans call this "retweeting". It is also much appreciated by the person who brought in the first place. When you write your tweets, considering leaving a little extra room. If your tweet gets retweeted, your name or your tweet all get cut short.  When it comes to tweeting on Twitter, go for quality over quantity of followers. As you gather followers, make sure they fit your niche. If you don't know what your niche is, it would be best if you took time clearly defined it soon. I say this because it is far better to have 100 people really care about your product/service and what you have to say than a million noisy and obnoxious followers who care little about you or your product.
  6. Use Twitter Tools:  The thousands of tweets you will get will quickly become overwhelming and unmanageable if you're only using Twitter's basic webpage. Do a few searches for the best Twitter tools. There are many free and paid applications and programs that will help you manage Twitter. I use my iPad more than most people do and am very comfortable with the TweetCaster App. I also am comfortable using tweepi.com's online tool. If you use an iPad often, you'll love the  flipboard app. If you like working from your PC or MAC desktop, check out TweetDeck by Twitter. It is helpful for organizing your Tweets. I haven't tried it yet but many people love it.

    Links to Cool Twitter Tools.

    Manage the Noise

    Really Cool Video Stuff

    • twitcam - Stream live video on Twitter.
    • Twitvid - Easily share videos on Twitter.
    • Tweet Control
    • Buffer – Lets you create a time release buffer (queue) for your pictures, articles, & videos.
    • Twitter Status - Official updates on the status of Twitter.
    • TweetMeme – Search and retweet the hottest stories on Twitter.
    • Twups – An aggregator, pulling the most popular twitter topics into one place, so you can keep up to date on what is going on in the world, via twitter.
    • TweetMyJobs – Get job matches from Twitter

    Tools for “Marketeers”

    • DataSift - Aggregate, filter and extract insights from tweets.
    • SocialBro – Helps you gather and analyze data about your Twitter world.
    • Twittad – Promote you brand through sponsored advertising.
    • BrandChirp – Monitor, manage, resolve brand activity (has a free trial).
    • Hashtracking – Free report about any Twitter hashtag. Also has tracking & analytic capabilities.
    • Twilert – Twitter keyword alerts via email.
    • wylah – Helps you create cool custom brand focused pages for your tweets.
    • Twitalyzer – You’ll get some heavy-duty analysis with this one (who, when & where).
    • TwtQpon – Cool coupon platform for Twitter.
    • Twtpoll – Build relationship by engaging your followers for feedback.
    • Twitdemic – Find and reward your best followers.
  7. Start a Blog: In the world of social media marketing, your blog is a hub for all your customer access points to plug into. Your blog is your own turf and you have the most influence there. This is the place where you make your sales and put out calls to action. It is your virtual storefront and customer service counter. You can get the most benefit from your social media sites if they point back to a blog. Not only can traffic come into your blog, information can flow out. You use your blog as a central point push out post to all your social media venues. You do this using things called plug-ins. It's very easy to get a blog of your own up and running (click here to learn more). If blogging is not your thing, you can still benefit from blogs. Bloggers are always looking for new things to post about. Read up on the top blogs in your industry and comment when relevant. Build relationships with them and offer updates on your company. Make yourself and your company interesting. You might even offer an interview with yourself or someone in your company.
  8. MBSM: Most everyone has heard of Management by Walking Around (MBWA). Social media offers the same kind of influence and availability MBWA used to. In this world of multinational companies, it is near impossible to always be available to everyone by simply walking around. Exercise Management by Social Media (MBSM). Putting in the same time to social media that managers used to spend walking around will create exponential results. Plan to spend a minimum of one hour a day to social media. If you don't have the skills to maximize that hour, appoint someone to hold your hand while you get up to speed. Any in-turn or twenty something employee would jump at this opportunity.
  9. Measure what Works: Many people fall into the comfort trap. We tend to do what we are most comfortable with and can do the most with in the least amount of time because we feel like we are being productive. Don't trust your feelings on this one. Measure what media creates the greatest results in terms of sales/conversions. Figure out where your customers come from and how they found you. Then, focus on the social media that is proven to produce the best results in terms of profit.
  10. Be Ubiquitous: Don't be shy about your social media. Use each social media venue to advertise your other social media venues. On each venue, tell people how to follow you on other venues they my like better or have more friends/followers on. Even your business card should tell people how to find you on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Bonus Tip:

  • Ten tips for using social media sounds like a good number, but I've got one more. We've covered the most common social media sites. They are only a start. Every year brings a new batch of social media sites. Getting in early can give you an advantage over the latecomer. If you feel like you've already got enough social media on your plate, don't worry and don't forget to have FUN! Sign up for new sites as they come along and Play With Them! Also, be sure to set up auto-publishing on the social media sites so they automatically publish any post you make on your blog. If you've had success with a media I haven't addressed...tell us about it!!!  We all benefit from what you know.

Hope you find these tips for using social media helpful. Don't hesitate to share any hints, tricks, apps, thoughts, or comments you have by commenting on this post. We all want to hear what you are thinking.

Until next time,

Twitter: @sethhaigh


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