Social Media. This is the latest in a series of sure-fire marketing tools that every business person Has To Do. Social media’s great, because a lot of it doesn’t cost a thing or is dirt cheap, so it seems like a wonderful way to market one’s business. On the other hand, it can be a huge time sink that can eat up large chunks of your day. How do you maximize your efforts?
Here are a few tips that I’ve used over the past year or so that help me to streamline my marketing and to use social media to my best advantage:
- Set aside 15 minutes a day for browsing social media. If you are constantly checking Facebook and Twitter to see what kind of sandwiches your friends had for lunch, you’re obviously wasting time. But if you follow an interesting business-related link that leads to an interesting diagram that leads to a great quote from a thought leader that leads to… You can see how it can get out of hand. Allocate a set amount of time to participate in the online conversation, then get to work!
- Update your LinkedIn profile. A person’s LinkedIn profile is a golden marketing opportunity that is often overlooked. Rather than having a “I’m an expert in this and I have 10 years experience in that,” why not treat it as marketing copy? Here are a couple of examples to get you started:
Laura Foley (Hey, what kind of marketing pro would I be without including my own profile?)
- Join your target markets’ LinkedIn groups. This one was so obvious that I literally smacked my forehead. When you join the conversation, offer advice and insight, and learn your clients’ and prospects’ concerns, you position yourself as an expert. Be careful, though, because this can backfire wildly if you lead with, “My name is Joe Blow, and I sell the most amazing widgets you ever saw in your life!” People will see that you are just there to troll for clients and will shut you out or flag your posts as being inappropriate.
- Search for specific topics in Twitter. Need to find out if anybody’s talking about you, your product or service, or something of interest? Twitter Search allows you to do keyword searches, whether or not they use hashtags. And you can set up TweetDeck so that each flagged keyword ends up in its own column, which makes it easier to review all the information. Even better, once you’ve found some interesting Tweets, you can respond. Think of how powerful a marketing tool that is. You could reply to a Tweet such as, “I’ve just about had it with this #BrandXYZ #Coffeemaker. I’m returning it!” with “Hey, this is Bob Smith from #BrandXYZ. What’s the problem, and how can I make it right?”
- Keep a blog journal. Just about any business transaction can become a good blog post if you think someone could learn from it. Or if you have some kind of an “Aha!” moment with a problem you’ve had, that can be good, too. Keep a list of these big ideas so that you can blog about them during your scheduled blogging time or just when things are a little slow. It’s much better than staring at a blank computer screen at a loss for ideas.