Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn; these are the kings of the social media world. I’m willing to bet the ranch that you have heard of them. Most probably, you are registered to one or two, or maybe even all three of these social networking sites. They are a great way to keep in touch with friends and to perhaps meet some new ones. Now if I were to ask you to write a list of how social media has both changed and improved your life, you might end up having to write all night long. We know they’re great; you only have to look at the amount of time the average person spends on his or her social media sites per week to get the gist of what they mean to our society. But I want to take the time to look at what social networking can do for businesses. I want to know what value they bring to the business world and how they have changed the way in which we do business. I also want to look at what can best be done to take one’s business to the next level using social networking sites. This will be an ongoing series of articles, so if we don’t get to it all here, don’t fret, we’ll be back and ready to give you some more great content in the near future.
Social networking is a cheap, easy way to get your business’s name out there; call it the penny stock exchange of online marketing. You can inform potential clients and/or users of your business’s product or service with the expenditure of very little time and close to no money.
Facebook is the cream of the crop of social networking sites. Not only do folks log on to look at the online lives of their friends and relatives, but lately, many have started playing online games on Facebook as well. My only reason for mentioning this is to remind that Facebook isn’t just a one trick pony. Many people use it for many different purposes. So, what about in the business domain? How do folks looking to improve their businesses use Facebook? The answer, as stated above, is: online marketing. I would advise those creating a Facebook account for their business to not select the “Create Facebook Account for my Business” setting. Why? Because the Facebook Business Account is limited in functionality. It is much better to go with a personal one, even if you are just planning to promote your company name. Okay, so you have all that stuff figured out, and you don’t know what to do next. Listed below are eight steps that are fairly easy to take care of:
1. Vanity URL. In the summer of 2009, the Vanity URL feature was added; yet one more thing to add to the list of Facebook’s set of valuable features. This is a URL that directly leads someone to your page – making it easier for others to find your profile. For instance, Networtech has the following Vanity URL: www.facebook.com/networtech.
2. Search Feature. Use key terms in the Facebook search engine to look for individuals and businesses in your industry that you believe would make good connections. Search on a regular basis, as new profiles are added close to daily.
3. Friend Requests. Be Proactive. Send friend requests out to people you think would make great connections. It wouldn’t hurt, when reaching out to the person or business that you believe would make a great connection, to include a message sharing the reason why you are getting a hold of them. It is one of those things that might bring about a bit of anxiety, but it is worth it in the long run. I, myself, have made hundreds of long-lasting connections this way, and my business is benefiting as a result.
4. Join Networking Groups. Many folks make fun of networking groups, taking them to be places where only “takers” gather. I couldn’t disagree more. I believe they are the greatest way to make a connection – a connection that could potentially galvanize your business, particularly if it is in a very inert state at the moment. There is nothing like face to face human interaction, and these networking groups give you a whole bunch of that good stuff. Again, it is nerve-wracking going to an unfamilar place and been people you know nothing about, but once you take the initiative, and once you’re actually at the event, you will be happy in regards to the decision you made. Go back often , whenever there is another one in town, because the more regularly your appearance is made, the greater the impression that you are serious about doing business.
5. Start a Discussion on the Discussion Boards: This is obvious. You need to take initiative! People aren’t going to be enthusiastic about whatever you’re selling unless you are. And the best way to show your enthusiasm is to actually make the effort to write about your business. If you’re a good writer, and an engaging one, people will be attracted to your page. They will want to converse with you, and learn from you, and grow from speaking with you. But make sure you take time and think about what it is that you want to talk about. You can’t speak in the “lol” format of the instant messenger age. It’s tacky and unprofessional. You are your own brand and you need to sell the image to others that you are the most professional businessman out there.
6. Create Groups: Create groups and make people feel special by including them in it. People like to feel appreciated, and nothing is a better token of appreciation than an invitation to join something that you think is important. It says, “Hey, this is very important to me, and I want to invite someone whom I admire to join in on the fun.” Of course, there are some folks out there who will decline your invitation, for various reasons. It doesn’t mean you should give up after the first refusal to join. In fact, the savvy, ambitious businessmen use this to step up their game. You can do this. It is so worth it.
7. Take Note of Upcoming Events: You don’t want to miss the biggest event around. You want to make sure you attend and you get your business’s name out to as many folks that are there as possible. Some may not like the fact that you’re “selling” in such a public forum, but others will actual see great value in your product or service (whichever it is) and perhaps be your very next customer. Grant Cardone’s book on sales would be a good one to read before you attend one of these. He is the god of sales, and the better equipped you are with the most successful techniques, the better off you will be. You can watch some of Mr. Cardone’s videos on Youtube and see how he approaches people. He goes out there and makes things happen. You can too!
8. Be Active and Keep Up With the Latest Trends: You absolutely have to remain current! You need to make sure that you are familiar with the latest social landscape; what is popular, what’s not, what is bad, what is good, and so on. If you don’t, you may not be aware that your product is indeed similar to something that is wholly undesirable. It is not the most exciting thing to do; research like this is never fun, but it’s required if you want to succeed and excel in the business world.
There you have it; those are your 8 simple, yet effective tips to getting your name out there. Success won’t come overnight, but with persistence, a commitment to the methodology, intellectual perseverance, and most importantly, honesty with yourself, you will get to where you want to be. Books on sales and marketing are everywhere; pick a few of them up; it’ll be the best investment of your time. Remember this as well: Facebook is just one social networking site. We could have gone over the others, but I believe that this is enough advice for now. I hope you enjoyed it! And I am looking forward to your feedback.