“Do I really need to be on social media?”
Spoiler alert… “Yes!” Yes, you do need to be on social media.
When I talk to oldsters (I can say that… I’m 60), their feelings about social media are generally like this: LinkedIn is just for job-hunting… Facebook is for looking at pictures of friends & family… and they don’t have any idea what Twitter is about.
Allow me to simplify and make the case for all three of them. Social media platforms are marketing channels through which you can communicate to clients and prospective clients. By doing so on a regular basis, social media allows you to build and maintain a level of awareness in the markets you serve, develop connections and engage with those buyers, and position yourself as a Subject Matter Expert or Thought Leader.
Let’s do a quick review of each of the platforms…
LinkedIn (467 million users)
LinkedIn is the social media platform purpose-built for B2B connecting… with clients, prospects, vendors, potential partners and so on. After your website, it’s the #1 place that potential buyers will go to do their due diligence on you and your firm.
While there are several paid levels of LinkedIn, even the free version can be a very effective marketing channel for you, but only if you commit some time (not a lot, but some) to taking advantage of it:
- Make sure you have complete profiles – yours and your firm’s.
- Regularly send out invitations to connect with others. And accept those that are sent to you.
- Join the groups that make sense for you to join… some in your industry and some in the industries/markets you serve.
- Post a few times each week to your personal profile, your company profile and to the appropriate groups (a key to success: the more connections you have and the more groups you belong to – the more people will see your posts).
- If you’re blogging or writing articles, be sure to replicate those long-form posts on your personal profile.
- Browse through your main feed and the group feeds every day or so… and where appropriate, engage with posts – “liking” them, commenting on them or sharing them.
Note: Though I wouldn’t recommend this, if you want to focus on just one platform, LinkedIn is the one. No question!
Twitter (336 million users)
If LinkedIn is a publishing platform, then Twitter is a communications platform… an easy way to share information in quick-read tidbits (no more than 280 characters) quickly, easily and at no cost. To be successful here:
- Complete your profile.
- Regularly follow other “tweeters”… they’ll likely follow you back.
- Tweet frequently.
- More so than LinkedIn, this platform is better suited for you to show a little more of your personality and humor.
- Use hashtags smartly; a hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the ‘pound sign’ (#), used within a Tweet to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it. Whenever a user adds a hashtag to their post, it’s able to be indexed by the social network and becomes searchable/discoverable by other users.
Note: hashtags are now being used within the LinkedIn platform, too.
Facebook (2.25 billion users… yes, billion!)
While many marketers and businesspeople (including me) believe Facebook is better suited for B2C businesses (and personal use), there is no denying the sheer size and scope of Facebook. Surely some of those 2+ billion people are your clients and potential clients – even if they are surfing Facebook for their personal use. To help your firm be successful using the Facebook platform:
- Create a company page (to do this, you must first have a personal page).
- Complete your company profile.
- Like LinkedIn and Twitter, post regularly; and while all platforms allow for the inclusion of visuals, Facebook is best at it.
Social media rules & guidelines
Here are a few guidelines to follow as you begin to take advantage of social media marketing:
- Block off a little time every week to connect/follow others, but remember, it’s a quantity and quality process; don’t reach out to everyone & anyone – just to build up your numbers… reach out to those whose business you can help and who can help your business.
- Post frequently; rule of thumb: for every 5 posts – 1 should link to your content/website and 4 should link to other content on the internet. Much more than that and your posts might be looked at as too salesy or self-serving.
- You can post the same content on all three platforms, but edit them so they’re a little different on each.
- You can post something more than one time; for example… on a Monday morning, then again on a Thursday afternoon.
- Use a software platform like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule out your posts (on all three platforms) ahead of time.
- And continuously measure the metrics to track your success over time; key metrics include connections/followers, likes/thumbs-up, comments and shares/retweets.
While jumping into social media with both feet might seem a little daunting, the fact is… it’s no more difficult to use than any other platform you use every day, like Microsoft Word or MailChimp. Get in, play around and start connecting with others and posting a little. As you get more comfortable doing that… more connections, more posts and a higher level of engagement will come.
Good luck and good marketing.