We have seen, heard, and read the power of social media – for social good and connecting with friends, family, and clients – and for social bad: criminal element preying on open data.
There is so much information out on the internet related to social media – the in and outs; the how-to’s, and catchy buzzwords. And to go with all this information are a myriad of tools. Put all of this together and to the uninitiated it can be quite overwhelming. Like everything else in America, businesses have turned “Social Media” into a big raging machine – a building wave – a crescendo of cacophony that is just nonstop – 24/7, 365 – unending. However, it will crash, or using a stock market term – “self adjust”. In the mean time stop listening to the overblown pontificators talking about the latest widget and how it will make you rich. The hype is out of control. Here’s what you need to know about social media – plain and simple.
- Social media is a tool – a means to an end. The end being whatever goals you set to achieve using social media.
- Listen. Yeah, yeah I know, every so-called social media “expert” says listen, but what does that mean? What it means is find out where your potential clients are hanging their virtual hats and what are they saying/talking about as it relates to your services and products.
- Act. Use social media to converse, interact with potential customers, colleagues, and clients. Share your expertise, knowledge, skills; market your services and products in a meaningful way. Build relationships with like-minded individuals.
- You don’t have to use every social media network ever known. If you find in Step 2 that potential clients are hanging out and chatting in LinkedIn and Facebook groups, then don’t also focus your energy on Twitter and YouTube. However, your brand should be listed, posted, represented etc. in as many networks as possible, but what isn’t possible is for you to divide your time and develop meaningful relationships in every social network. Fish where the fish are and monitor the other networks for potential “nibbles.”
- Grow in the social media space at your own pace. You will not become socially known to others in your niche overnight. Don’t be discouraged that only a few friends and family members engage with you initially. Becoming “known” in your niche takes time. Don’t be suckered into following everyone that follows you. Be strategic in your relationship building. You have to curate your brand and nurture relationships; share what makes you, you and the connections will come. Don’t get worked up over the number of followers, likes, circles, etc.
- You need a website. A website is the place where you can call home for your business. It has to reflect and communicate your brand. Have content that explains who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and most importantly, why you are different than your competitors. The design is important but there is no need to be too over the top. Make your website practical and useful for visitors.
Don’t be intimidated and don’t sucked into the hyped-up social media frenzy. It is not rocket science. You can do this.