A lot of people are on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and more, but what a lot of people don’t know is that these can all be very valuable business tools. The point of social media is to be, well, social. You have to actively and regularly participate in the conversations and make sure to contribute your expertise as well. So what does that have to do with your business? Well, it’s building a network of relationships, and let’s face it, people tend to do business with people they know. Think of social media as a virtual game of golf with a potential client, business partner or someone who might even have something valuable to help YOU.
Perhaps you are on Facebook and are wondering how the heck this can apply to you. Consider the obvious; your Facebook friends are low hanging fruit! They already care about you and most likely care about what’s going on in your life. So among the personal posts, post something about your business that is current, like a sale, a new or finished product you’re proud of, or even just what you have going on in the office. This keeps you top of mind for the product or services you offer and chances are your friends either need your help, or know someone who needs your help. It’s only a matter of time, really.
Another great social media tool that can benefit your business is Twitter. By tweeting with likeminded people, you can not only gain valuable insight into your line of work, but also foster relationships with people you may have never even met! The great thing about Twitter is that you can connect with people in your community or people across the globe, and have equal potential to create mutually beneficial relationships. However, the key here is to not SELL yourself or your business, you just need to be interactive and bring value to your followers. Your business will naturally be conveyed not only through small talk, but by offering up your expertise to a tweeter in need or by providing helpful information specific to your expertise. It might take some time to get used to and along the way the Twitter etiquette you pick up will be very helpful to your efforts.
Now here’s the clincher: If you don’t remember anything I just said about using Twitter effectively, please remember this: The best way to gain a valuable following is to grow your network organically. Just be genuine and contribute to the conversation, don’t be a tweeting ad because nobody cares about what you’re selling if they don’t care about you first.
So, if the big picture is to build your business through relationships, then the supporting factor is to make sure your brand is evident, even without talking about it. What I mean is to take advantage of available options like customizing your page with your business logo, colors or style, like the Liquis page has done here. Another huge consideration is to put effort into the bio and informational sections on your social media sites. Be as specific as humanly possible, but also concise. Let people know the name of your company, your title, what you do, and some other unique things about you that give people and idea of how they can relate to you on a personal level. Charlotte, owner of The Media Push, is a great example of this.
Whether you’re Facebooking, Tweeting or utilizing any of the other numerous social media sites to connect with likeminded people and potential business opportunities, don’t forget to keep your professional image in mind. There’s a fine line between too personal, conversational and selling. Keep it conversational and your network of industry colleagues and potential customers will grow famously and most importantly, valuably.