Written on the 8 February 2014 by David Kosch and NAB
How social media networking can help grow your business
Business View By Business View
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Social media can be the cheapest, fastest and most effective way to get your message across. Yet, while most business owners are aware of the benefits, few are making the most of them.
“It’s common for a business owner to join a site like LinkedIn or Facebook and start sending out random invitations to connect to complete strangers,” says Mike Boorn Plener, Chief Mentor at TREPcoach. “Then they’re disappointed because hardly anyone takes up the offer.”
Instead, he recommends posting material that relates to your area of expertise and then approaching people who move in similar circles. “When they check out your profile, they’ll see that you’re providing information that’s useful to them, so they’ll also see a benefit in making the connection,” he says.
When you’re creating a profile, it’s important to understand that social media is about building trust and that people trust a person, not a business.
“To be successful, you need to set the brand aside and be yourself,” Boorn Plener continues. “That doesn’t mean sharing all of your personal information. I’d never recommend that. But you do need to speak in an authentic voice and give a genuine opinion.”
It’s also important to rein in the selling. “Obviously that’s the end game, and your followers do want to know about your special offers, but if that’s all there is they’ll soon lose interest,” he says. “You have to mix it up with links to relevant articles, blogs or videos on YouTube – things that people can interact with and click through to. But don’t go to the other extreme and only post stuff from other people. Again, that gets boring. They want to hear your voice too.”
Mike’s top tips for using social media
•Target your audience – don’t approach random strangers
•Be authentic – don’t use ‘brand speak’
•Be consistent with your content across all media
•Share your best material first
•Define from the start what you want to achieve – awareness, leads, sales, community building
Consistency is vital but that doesn’t mean you have to upload new material every day.
“I suggest setting aside one day a month to generate all of your content: write the articles, make the video, establish the links – whatever mix you’ve established that works well,” says Boorn Plener. “You can then use one of the many free or low-cost scheduling websites to post this content automatically.”
He recommends posting the same content across multiple media. For example, if you write a 500-word blog post you can extract four or five lines for Facebook and take out two lines for Twitter. You can also draw on different points raised in a single blog article to create as many as ten different social posts.
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