Tech Tip – How to Get Started With Social Media

Many of my clients are asking about which Social Media sites to use. With Social Networking being all the buzz, it is important to understand why you want to bother with Social Media. Simply, it is because people will do business with people they like. It is easy to create connections with clients, leads as well as family and friends who can “suggest” you to their extended group of friends. That is what Social Media Marketing is all about.

Not so long ago, I was scheduling in morning and lunchtime meetings at local Chambers of Commerce and BNI groups. These get-togethers are well organized and run professionally, to be sure, but the time commitments and expense can really take a toll on your productivity.

Think of making sure you have your good clothes on, leave a half hour or more before hand to drive to the restaurant where the meeting is being held, check in, find your seat, get your food, listen to the official opening remarks, wait for every person in the room to give their “elevator speech” or testimonial about another member, give my 1 minute scorcher, wrap up, network, give out business cards, and drive back to the office. Whew, I was doing that a few times a week and only meeting with people in my area.

Now with Social Networking, I’m able to connect up with lots of people nationwide easily, always put my best foot forward, and my “friends” keep me in their minds with very little effort on my part… and no rubber chicken. And I can leave the monkey suit in the closet.

Here are some basic instructions for choosing which Social Media Sites you use:

  1. First, figure out what sites are your clients on. You can do this by looking at emails sent you by prospects, friends and clients inviting you to join a certain Social Media. If you are just getting started, I recommend starting with one or two and then adding more down the line. Look at one of these to start with: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Active Rain, or MySpace. If your niche market is on Twitter, don’t spend your time figuring out MySpace.
  2. Decide your objective with having the site before you set up your profile. Will you use this for business, or for personal use? How often will you be updating it? What kinds of posts will you make?
  3. Schedule time to update your Social Media 3-5 times each week. If you don’t use it, it won’t work for you. At first you may post things a few times a day, but after the novelty wears off, how are you going to make sure you keep using it. Schedule time to work on your Social Media marketing each week
  4. Be careful your posts reflect the image you want to portray. If a friend from college insists on posting stories about your younger days that you would rather not remember, monitor that. Also be careful when allowing assistants to post things to your social networking site. You want to make sure it is in your voice.
  5. Mix personal and professional posts. One of the main reasons Social Networking sites are as popular as they are is that people are craving connections with people. With internet putting us in front of computers more and more and away from personal contact, people are craving those personal connections with real people, so be real! Mix up personal posts about what you are doing in your personal life, with what is happening with your business. It will make you much more interesting and three-dimensional.
  6. Be mindful of speaking about the usual taboo subjects like religion and politics. You would be surprised how many business contacts you relate to in many other ways have deeply-held, strong and differing opinions on many divisive issues. If you really want to use your Social Networking site to talk about these things, consider setting up a separate account and steer your personal and professional contacts to the right place.
  7. Just do it! I think we all realize that this Social Media “thing” is out there to stay and needs to be part of our complete marketing campaign. A little bit at a time will go a long way.

Happy Networking!