So, you’ve been reading about all this social media stuff…your friends have been talking about Facebook or Twitter, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge. Come on in, the water is fine. The longer you wait, the farther behind you’re going to be. Social media has made it to the mainstream which means businesses (you) need to get on board.
The best way to learn is by doing it yourself. Don’t worry, you can’t break anything. This whole social thing can be overwhelming, so I’d recommend you start off slow, and as you get comfortable, expand your horizons. If you want to get up to speed quicker, I’d recommend hiring a coach. When we decided to get into the social market, we wanted to be up and running in a short period of time, so we hired a coach that helped us identify our niche for a blog, and helped not only set up the basic accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), but helped us to get our networking going. Your timeline will be dependent on what you want to accomplish. If you are going after the professional tradesman or other industrial-type markets and want to ramp up your activity quickly, we do offer a program to help you do that, and if you want more information, you can click here.
Here’s what we are recommending to our clients who want to get started:
- LinkedIn. Beyond the basic profile info, make sure you link to your web site and eventually your blog (if you decide to do). Start inviting your friends and business associates to join (you might be surprised as to how many are already on). Join groups that are appropriate to your industry and start watching and participating in discussions, surveys, etc. Once you start getting a following, you can start asking for recommendations. Also consider starting your own group. Our agency started our own group, Sonnhalter.
- Facebook. You need to make a choice of either doing a personal or company profile. Once that’s determined, you need to fill out the profile making sure to include your web site and leave room for a link to your blog (again, if you plan on doing one). Facebook also offers pages, which are set up similar to profiles, except people are fans of pages making it a good option for companies, products or brands. You need a profile before you can create a page. On Facebook, you can also add photos (either personal or work-related depending on how you set up your site). Start inviting friends and engage in the conversations.
- Twitter. Sign up and start adding followers. Rule of thumb is if someone follows you, you should reciprocate. The idea is to have more people following you than you are them. Twitter has some useful tools, one of which I’d recommend you start off with is Twilert. This is a tool where you can put in search terms (about your company, its products or your competitor), and they will identify any tweets that have mentioned those terms.
- Google. Through Google, you can set up Google Alerts which again uses search terms and gives you daily updates on the latest web and news pages on the Google web search. They also have a tool called Google Reader which lets you assemble, in one place, all of your reading resources and links from various sources.
(Remember, our target audience is manufacturers who want to sell to the professional tradesmen, but these suggestions apply across the board.)
A link you will find interesting from Nicky Jameson, How to create your own social networking site on a shoe string.
Suggested reading, Monitoring the Social Web, by Larry Weber
Comic courtesy of Automation.com