Social media is #awesome. I’ve used social media personally and professionally ever since the Dark Ages (when dial-up was king), and it has helped me:
- Connect with family, friends and colleagues around the world
- Talk with writers, marketing pros, celebrities and athletes that I admire
- Share stories, info and advice with other people living with the same medical conditions as me
- Get a job and land several freelance clients
- Launch my new professional site (in the works, coming soon!)
But when it comes to YOUR new business, your reasons for using social media (your social media musts) are most likely different than those above. You know, like:
- Public awareness
- More leads
- More sales
- World domination*
Social Media Musts List
So let’s talk about how you can use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and any other social channels to accomplish (most of) those goals. Here are my 7 social media musts to help build and grow your new business via social media:
- Set your goals and develop a plan.
Yes, that’s two things, but they’re obviously intertwined. Think about what it is you want to accomplish with your social media activities, as well as how much time and effort you need to put into them. Be realistic — while it might sound fun to Facebook and Tweet all day, you have a business to run. A plan with a well-thought-out schedule can help you organize your posts, set a practical frequency and coordinate cross-promotion.
- Write informative account profiles.
While your website is usually the first place people find you online, increasingly they’ll discover you via your social media accounts. Your profile needs to be thorough, and full of information that a prospect might want to know: your company bio, location, hours, descriptions of what you sell, and complete contact information. The writing style should reflect your company’s brand and overall “voice.” And include key search terms your prospect will use. That’s a powerful social media must!
- Launch yourself!
To create awareness, you need to get your message out — and social media is a great way to do it. If you write a blog about your new company and/or your new social accounts, then post a link to it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to cover all your bases. If you have a few extra marketing dollars, you can buy Facebook ads or Promoted Tweets for an extra boost.
- Build your network.
Once you’re “out there,” start building a following. Add friends on Facebook, follow people/companies on Twitter, get connected on LinkedIn. (My next blog will cover “how to grow your business’ social media network” in greater detail!)
- Create (and curate) relevant content.
You’ve probably heard a billion people say that “content is king.” Whether you believe that or not, the content you develop and share on social media says a lot about your company. It’s got to be relevant to your audience, attract interest, hopefully engage readers, and build relationships that turn into leads that turn into sales. So no cat videos (unless that’s your market) or political memes.Write posts with helpful or new information and advice, feature a product, offer a discount, or hold a contest. And share posts from people and companies that you admire or even partner with; just make sure they’re posts that you think will be interesting to your friends and followers. By sharing quality content, you’ll be viewed as a smart company who’s on top of the latest news and trends.
- Be responsive.
Hopefully, your connections, prospects and customers will start to engage with you on social channels. But whether you get “thank you” messages from grateful customers singing your praises — or complaints and not-nice messages (anonymity can bring out the worst in Internet people) — you need to address all of them quickly and diplomatically.Thank the people who are complimentary. And work to address any complaints ASAP; offer to contact those people offline (phone, email or in-person) to avoid any negative issues lingering online. A “we’re so sorry to hear that, please call or email us and we’ll make it right” message can go a long way to turning an upset customer into a loyal one.
- Analyze and adapt.
Even if you’re not a “numbers” person, it’s smart to make friends with ol’ 1 through 9. You can learn so much from even basic data — how many people “Liked” or “Favorited” Tuesday’s post with a 15% off discount on your top product versus Friday’s post wishing everyone a happy holiday weekend. Every month or quarter, it helps to look at all of your engagement numbers — from the number of Facebook friends to Twitter followers to LinkedIn connections — and see how you’re doing compared to previous months/quarters. Then figure out which posts have been your best performers and find the reasons why. Soon, you’ll be using all that data to your advantage — when you’re developing your next plan!
Whether your business is brand-new, a year old, or 100 years old, social media can be an incredibly valuable marketing tool. Used correctly, you can build a following of prospects, turn them into sales, and take over the world!*
*World domination not guaranteed.
What’s your number one social media must?