Social Media Marketing for 2016
A reader contacted me recently to discuss using social media marketing to build her business. She says that she is an introvert and that she doesn’t feel comfortable spending so much time on the various social media sites in order to build her business quickly. Being an introvert myself, I feel like this is a topic that deserves further discussion.
Being an early adopter of social media, my motto from day one was to “get in, get out, and get back to work”. When Facebook opened its doors to the general public in 2008 (prior to this it was intended only for college students who had an email address issued by the institution they were attending) we were all faced with the dilemma of deciding how much information was enough and how to best connect with other people so as to promote our businesses.
Twitter came to life soon after, and this further complicated the issue in that we only had one hundred and forty characters in which to grab someone’s attention. In some ways this was a relief, as we could quickly announce where we were or what we were having for lunch and at least feel like we were a part of the conversation. Over time this gave way to being able to post pictures via a third part application such as Instagram, so that our followers could at least have a visual of what we were sharing through our carefully chosen words.
Fast forward to 2016, and social media has now gone through an even more sophisticated incarnation. Think of it as a way to syndicate your content in cyberspace. For example, the post you are reading here will already have made its way from an offline publication I write for monthly, to a half dozen social media sites before it ever hits the electronic format you are reading here on my blog.
Thinking of it in this way allows you the time to carefully put together your message in a way that will tell the story of who you are, what you have to offer, what’s new in your industry, and how it will benefit your target audience long before you hit “send” or “reply” on your computer. Add to this the ability for you to start and continue a dialog with your market and you have the perfect storm for no cost advertising and reputation building. When you think of social media in this way it changes your perspective quite a bit, I would imagine.
Get started by reviewing your profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other sites you wish to get involved with to promote and grow your business. Start slowly, making sure to have a picture that adequately represents you (actually looks like you!), and that your information is clear, concise, and up to date. Assume that people who connect with you will want to reach out and do so through your website, the telephone, and even in person.
Now spend some time lurking on each site to get an idea of what people are posting. Attempt to be an objective as possible when deciding if what you are observing is beneficial to business connection and growth or just downright silly. Make some notes about posts that make you want to know more about someone and their business. Ask questions like:
- Would an image or a video be helpful here?
- How can I best share my business values?
- What do I want people to do after they connect with me?
Now jump in and make some posts and updates to your main profiles. Start slowly, giving some detailed information about something directly related to your business or your personal values. For example, you may wish to mention that you are at your Rotary Club meeting and listening to a speaker on a specific topic. Over time this will become more fun, as the people you are with are most likely also on social media and will like it when you include them in your posts and updates. This is an example of how we all help each other using social media marketing.
Make a well thought out plan, choose the sites you will engage with, and do some research into the demographics of where your target audience hangs out. This will make a huge difference in your bottom line as you refine your social media marketing strategy more and more over time.
As you can see, spending time on social media can be a worthwhile venture. Set up your profiles, observe what others are doing, and then get started right away to share your message and your business with prospects near and far. What other questions do you have about social media marketing?