Social Media: how can it work for you?


Alice

In response to Chantal’s post Is Social Media a Waste of Time?, I felt a need to highlight certain elements of social networking that would make the experience more positive, manageable, worthwhile and rewarding.

One good reason to social network is to increase your or your business’s online visibility. Nowadays, if you can’t be found on the web, you practically don’t exist. Therefore the need to maintain this level of exposure, especially since social networking knows no boundaries, makes it all the more vital to keep ahead of your competitors.

Use Google Alerts and Twitter Search to keep an eye on what people are saying about you (also called monitoring, commonplace on Twitter) and also to be aware of what your competitors are doing. This means you don’t have to stalk them (heaven forbid), but use this knowledge to your advantage: congratulate them on their achievements, note any developments they are making, find a niche they’re not pursuing which you can.

Work out a marketing strategy before you start. What are you goals? – more traffic to your website; more emails requesting information; more activity in your e-shopping cart, more requests to speak at events… then you can measure these conversions and adapt your methods for better results.

Use social media as a method for marketing research: discussions (Twitter, LinkedIn Q&A, Facebook business pages), polls and surveys (GoDaddy, blogs, LinkedIn groups, Survey Monkey), questions (Twitter, LinkedIn Q&A), finding knowledge through keywords (YouTube, Twitter, blogging networks) – the list goes on.

It’s so important to engage with your followers on social networking. Take an interest in what others are doing: interact positively, retweet and share, listen and provide valuable information. Write your entries in easy to understand language (no jargon, text speak or confusing acronyms), and certainly include links to relevant resources to back you up or show respect to other experts.

And one last point: consistent activity in small bursts is far more effective than a massive marathon and then nothing for a few weeks. Social networking, especially Twitter, works on the concept of ‘now’, so a maintained presence works better than an occasional show.

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