By Wayne R. Karlins, President of Reed Social Media
1. It's about building relationships:
The most successful brands you can think of each have a loyal following that trust and like them best in their industry. Those brands know how to build strong relationships. Your clients and followers do not only want to know you products and services, but even more, they want to hear your voice and understand your message. You need to know your audience and build relationships with them. On social media, this is done by posting content that has value, is relevant, and/or creative original content. What value does your company offer?
2. It isn't all about you:
Posting content about yourself, your company, your sales pitch, and events is not why people are on social media. Your posts need to be useful, interesting, and entertaining, maybe teaching your follower something in your industry or something trending. When you do this, you build trust, make yourself a trusted advisor, become a thought leader, and build loyalists with your current followers. When you know your followers needs, you can tailor your content toward them. This builds loyalty. Don't push them away talking about you and your company. Nurture and grow your pages all year long.
3. Work your network like you're at a trade show:
Develop yourself a strategy and set up goals. Find fan pages and groups your audience and clients may already be in on those social media platforms and join them. Be active in these groups and fan pages. Pick the right social media platform to work on and build from there. Pick someone good with social media, a team at your company, or a social media management company to be in charge of your social media. Listen to what your followers are telling you in their responses to your posts. Share, like, and comment on other followers content when it is good.
4. Ask questions, and make referrals/endorsement:
When you're in a group, ask a question, answer a question, and post your content into these groups. Always read the rules of the group as they may be looking for certain industries to join, and may have rules on what you can post and how often. But look for an active group that responds to questions and answers. If it is not an active group, find another one and leave that one. On Facebook you can give a review. This is a good place to review a company, a colleague, or a friend that has done something good for you or your company. On LinkedIn you can give a recommendation or endorse someone. I prefer recommendations, but this require some writing. With endorsements, you can pick from a list that the person has already listed for you.
5. Have a purpose and build trust:
People will buy your products and services if they know you, like you, and trust you. It never hurts to build some loyalty as well. Give them a voice and message to listen to. Having a purpose will help build all of this for you. Your business and personal page need to be consistent. You need to either find great content or write great content to reach your followers. Telling people what day it is, ("It's Pizza Day," "It's Ice cream Day," etc.) or other such posts will not get you followers or build any kind of trust. Posting content on what is going on in your industry, things that are trending, teaching people about things that could be related to your industry or services are great. Once in a while a fun post is great to add to your game plan for posting. Keep your ears open to understanding what they want to hear from you, which may have little to do with your products and services.
6. Point out your relevant skills:
Pointing out your relevant skills is not usually done in a post, unless it is a blog you wrote, and then it should not be the subject of the blog, just a statement in the blog. Depending on what site you're on, it could be in the "About Me" section or your summary section (usually in your profile section somewhere). Here is a place you can point out what you can do for me and add your relevant skills. On LinkedIn your summary is the best place to let someone know what you can do for them. If you're posting great content, people will read your summary and about you sections. Most important here is not sounding boring or confusing. Many of us struggle with this at networking events, but you have the time to tailor it as your write it. Do not make claims that are not true. People can read right through bull shit. This is not your whole life. This is two or three important things you want to emphasize about you, your company, or your products or services. Know who your audience is when writing this. What are you solving for the people who will be reading this? Use these section well!
7. Distinguish yourself:
Here is an opportunity to become visible and known. Make sure your profile is well written and describe how you can help the people who will be reading your profile. Here is where you can help further market your company so when they see your future ads, they already recognize you. Let people know when you are starting a new marketing campaign, so they will be looking for your ads. Then, follow up after your ads have finished to get a reaction to the marketing you did. People buy from people they trust and know. Does your company have a niche or do you have a cause you and your company support? Use these things to better distinguish yourself in your profile. What are the main features and benefits you and your company offer?
8. Post 2 times a week minimum:
We are not all “Pepsi” who can post 7 days a week, 7 times a day. If you're a small business, start out posting twice a week. You can always add more days as you build. Make sure you have or created great content. Try having a good photo with each post. Better yet, include a video and share other content with people. Spend the time to find good, interesting content and mix the content up. Track how well each post does. Did you get any likes, shares, or comments? Respond to them. Find or create more content on posts that got the best results.
9. Add connections:
Most social media sites have a limit on how many people you can ask to connect with. To find this out, read the policies of that social media page. Here are some things to consider. I rarely, if ever, connect with someone who is asking me to connect with them if they do not have a picture. I always check their profile and see how active they are. If they have not posted anything in a month, why connect? If their profile is well written, I look for any reason why I should connect with them. If I cannot find a reason, I might take the time to ask them how they know me, any of my connections, or why they want to connect with me.
When requesting to connect, I always try to write something personal to them and use their name. If you recently met them, remind them of when you met and ask them to accept your request to connect. Get use to asking in advance when you meet them if you can invite them to connect.
10. Head shot:
Always use a quality photo in the same decade of your current age. Phones can take a good picture, but there is no replacement for a professional head shot. You should look like you would at work or like the job you are looking for. Refrain from couple pictures, or pictures that are not you, even if you think your being humorous.
There is much more, but this is a start!
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