In today’s business environment, Social Media provides an important role in branding and advertising your business. Whether you sell pest control services or pearl earrings, it seems like Social Media has a way for you to promote it.
I have five tips for using Social Media effectively in your business:
Be you. Or, at least, a filtered you. People follow you on Social Media because they want to know more about you. This means that being honest is extremely important. Keep in mind, though, that your candor may not always be appropriate or appreciated. You can’t be so open that you scare people away. Keep things like politics, bowel movements, and spousal frustrations to yourself.
** Read last week’s post on Perception Management if you need more details.
Try to manage your online presence personally, if you can. Because people are there to learn more about you, it’s best to actually have someone who knows a lot about YOU control YOUR Social Media. Who knows the most about you? You! Also, you know what image you want to present to the public better than anyone. A third party may not always have you or your goals in mind. Controlling your feed yourself also allows you to be extremely responsive. Sometimes the first responder gets the “worm”.
Pick one or two platforms and dominate them. Having an account on every single platform possible is asinine. There’s no way you can keep up with all of them, and consistency is key in Social Media. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and on and on. The list is never-ending and grows every day. Choose which one (or two) best reaches your target audience and become an expert at it. For me, Facebook is my main focus. If I am consistent on Facebook (and smart), then I can reach new clients daily.
Be creative. There’s nothing worse than a company that thinks its clients only want to hear about their products. People are smart and interesting; don’t bore them to death. Find a way to talk about things that don’t necessarily lead right back to your product, but also don’t detract from it. This blog is actually a good example of this. I’m just helping out business owners because I enjoy business planning and strategy. It has nothing to do with photography. Yet, if someone appreciates my blog, then it will add value to my image overall. Then, maybe when that person is in the market for a professional headshot or a family session, my name will pop up. There’s value to positive information – immediate or not.
Never EVER complain about clients online, anywhere. Don’t complain on your business account, don’t complain on your personal account, don’t complain in an email… don’t, don’t, don’t! E-V-E-R. Get the idea? When words are spoken online, they never go away. Even if you aren’t giving names, bashing a client shows people that you are immature and unprofessional. Not everyone is going to love you. Deal with it. No one needs to know about the times your business failed. Negativity can devalue your business just as easily as positive information can add value to it.
That’s it. Pretty simple, right?
Social Media is an ever-changing marketing beast. It requires forethought and a good game plan. If you can keep people positively engaged with you and your business, then it’s an amazing (an affordable) way to find and retain customers. If you can’t, then stay away; you’ll be harming your business more than you know.