“You have to be different, great, or first.”
Social media is just what the name says. It’s a form of media that allows you to be “social” with your customers and potential customers. It’s not enough to join Facebook or Twitter and call it a day. You’ve got to DO SOMETHING with it. You’ve got to be engaging. You’ve got to reach out to people. You’ve got to show them who you are – and what your business is all about. And the cool thing? Besides sheer appropriateness and proper business etiquette, there are no hard and fast rules. You can do so much with social media engagement. Put your thinking cap on, and dare to be different, great, AND first.
Facebook and Pinterest and LinkedIn, Oh My . . .
Facebook is King. From your 12 year old niece to sweet 85 year old Rita Mae down the street, everyone is on Facebook. But beyond the random users across generations, every company you can imagine is harnessing the power of Facebook to engage, connect and sell. Got products in your store that you want to sell fast? Take a photo and upload it to Facebook with a catchy caption. Want to build your email list? Run a Facebook promo or sweepstakes. Offer a special Facebook-only promotion. Check out Grey Suit Apps to harness the full potential that Facebook offers.
Don’t be afraid of Twitter. While it may be initially confusing, over time Twitter becomes a fast, easy and convenient way to offer special deals and promotions to customers. You can also quickly and easily connect with other businesses in your field. Link your Facebook page with your Twitter profile so each time you post on Facebook it automatically posts to Twitter as well. Ask employees, family members and friends if they’re on Twitter and either have them teach or tweet for your organization.
Write a blog. That’s right. Most people don’t consider blogging a form of social media, but it is just that. In fact, blogging is the tool and technology that sparked social media in the first place. There is so much you can do with a blog on your website: feature new products, educate customers, answer frequently asked questions, highlight an event, and more. Plus once you write a blog, it’s easy to promote though the other social media channels you are using.
Instagram is on the rise. While Facebook may be king, Instagram is quickly rising in popularity, especially among young people. Essentially, Instagram is a photo sharing service. It functions much like Facebook, allowing followers, likes and comments. It is quick and easy to use and allows you to showcase your products easily. Check out Nike’s Instagram page.
Pinterest is addicting. Moms turn to it for recipes, brides use boards to plan their weddings, and others use Pinterest for sheer inspiration. Another photo sharing service, Pinterest allows you to create virtual vision boards around any topic you can conceive. Followers can re-pin anything you pin to your board, and there is space for notes and links allowing you to link back to your site, product or service. Here is a Pinterest Board for Beginners.
YouTube has been around for a while. Initially an amateur video sharing site, YouTube is a must for business. Do you produce commercials for your business? Upload them to You Tube, embed them onto your website, and share them on other social media channels. Did you know 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute and over 4 billion videos are viewed on the site each day? (Source: jeffbullas.com)
Get LinkedIn, literally. LinkedIn “is a centralized location where millions of LinkedIn members can go to stay in the loop on company news, products and services, business opportunities and job openings” according to their company page. Highlight your products and services, tell your company’s story and share career opportunities. It’s a virtual business networking space that can build value for your company and brand.
None of these services are a “set-it-and-forget-it” deal.
It does take work but you don’t have to do it all. Here are some tips as you glide through the social scene:
- Consider your staff and empower certain individuals to take on the task of social media engagement across channels.
- Create a workgroup, allowing several voices to be heard as you develop your social media plan.
- Involve family and friends who are competent to join in the efforts.
- Try one or two social media channels at first, and then branch out from there.
- Make sure you have the right person in the job and monitor initially as your brand and reputation is on the line.
- Measure success initially, and over time.