It’s simple… because your competition is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It may have been only three years ago that he asked the same questions: “Why do I need a website?” and now he has a website and is expanding his business. Social media is just one way you offer your vendors and customers to stay in constant contact with you and your business. Even if you don’t update your business Facebook daily, it could make a big difference if you only update it weekly.
More and more companies are looking at business Facebook and Twitter accounts the same way they look at the Better Business Bureau and Dun & Bradstreet. Just on Facebook and Twitter accounts, they can look and see what your business has been up to over the last year, what kind of other businesses follow you, and what you’re writing about.
Customizing your Twitter and Facebook accounts will really set your business apart from the rest. Offer a unique look, post fun and exciting photos of business events. If you still have questions about this “social network,” let me ask you a question… how much would you pay to send your business updates to an existing customer or prospect and have it posted directly to the person’s computer? or mobile?” Some might say hundreds per month while others might say thousands, but the truth is with social media it’s free!
How should I update on social networks?
These days, everyone, no matter what kind of business or job they’re in, needs to have a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page (personal, business, or both). The basics are easy: just go to their website, set up your account, and fill out the basic profile. Voila, you’re on social media! Once you’ve done that, you can refine the details for your particular needs. On LinkedIn, you can list not only the jobs you’ve held, but also the organizations you’ve volunteered for. You can join groups with common interests to interact. You can include your company in the list so that potential clients and employees know the details of your company. With Facebook, you can have a personal page about yourself and share details about what you’ve done. When you’re in business, that can also include client recommendations, information about work you’ve recently done, and even promotional videos. There will be a time when you want to separate your business life from your social life and that is when you can set up a Facebook business fan page. Many businesses are finding that this is a great way to post information to people every day. Restaurants, for example, will post “daily specials” on Facebook. What better way to see if your favorite restaurant has your favorite meal at a reduced price that day! Major companies will run a promotion on Facebook to provide additional help to their sales force. Music groups use Facebook to promote shows, concerts, and their latest music. You name the type of business and you can do a search on Facebook and they will probably be there.
Where does Twitter fit in here? Twitter is limited to 140 characters, but that forces you to provide only the important parts of your message. There’s a lot of information in a tweet like “Sale through this Friday, buy one pair of shoes and get the second for half price. Sammy’s Shoes, (555) 555-1234. Full shoe repair services too! Only 139 characters long.” , you have promoted your business and told your followers about your weekly deal Twitter has become the foundation of the food truck movement, with some trucks having thousands of followers, all of whom find out where the trucks are on a daily basis via tweets. So when Freddie’s Fusion Salad Truck tweets that they’ll be at the Downtown Mall on Friday at 11 a.m., their fans can immediately plan to join them on the spot. You can give everyone the big news right away And don’t forget the social part is easy: -What’s simpler than tweeting “it’s a baby” straight from the delivery room!
What should I do when I’m ready for more advanced social networking?
Once you’ve mastered the basic sites, the sky is the limit. For a business, the nested step is to set up accounts on YouTube for videos and Flickr, Photobucket, or some of the other photo-sharing sites. Many businesses, both large and small, have realized for several years how simple it is to record a video to promote a product or service and post it on YouTube. With basic programs like iMovie and Windows Movie Maker, it’s easy to make a video about your business. Just remember, you’re doing something to promote your company and your services or products—-keep it short and simple. Once you’ve done that and posted it, you can link it back to your Facebook account and get even more views.
Probably the easiest of all is setting up a photo gallery. These days, you don’t even need a camera, just use your cell phone. Most camera phones can easily download your photos, so you can have your assistant take a full set of “before and after” photos of little “Fluffy” while they fix it up. Post them in a photo gallery with your company name and you’re on your way. Once you’ve done that, you can update it whenever you want, either by adding a new photo album or just leaving it as a master collection. The best part is that you can do this anytime you have your phone nearby. Of course, if you don’t already have a camera phone, you can pick up an inexpensive digital camera for your business to take the photos. There are many options for less than $100.00. Again, it’s a small investment for a good promotion.
Now is the time to take the next step. There comes a time when it makes sense to turn to a professional for help. Many designers now create business and fan pages on Facebook, creating custom images and sites designed specifically for the dimensions of a Facebook page. If you want your customers to see that you’re really serious about the way you present your business, you might want to consider having someone take it to the next level for you.
How can I keep up with all this?
The great thing about social media is that you only need to spend as much time as you can. Promoting your business can be as easy as a weekly tweet or a monthly Facebook post. Of course, the key to any type of advertising is consistency, so the more you post or tweet (within reason, of course, no one wants endless tweets about anything), the more people will remember and follow you. Again, look at food trucks as an example: they’ll tweet about their daily location, one about their daily special, and maybe a few about cool stuff that day. A major food truck has more than 90,000 followers. That’s a lot of people to reach just by posting a 140 character tweet! Sometimes a professional can help you with that too; there are people who specialize in helping you build a following. With social media, a small outlay can often pay big dividends. And you know you’re doing it right when your followers start retweeting your tweets to their friends—–then you’re definitely in the world of free word of mouth advertising.
Where do I start?
That’s easy—–set up a Twitter and Facebook account. You will be part of the social network. You’ll also be surprised how many of your friends and business acquaintances say, “Glad to see you here!”