As an entrepreneur you constantly hear about how important it is to engage in social media. You already know about the obvious sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, but it’s hard trying to keep up with all the social networking sites that seem to pop up every day.
It’s even more challenging trying to sift through websites to find out which ones are actually useful for your business. So what is a busy entrepreneur to do?
First, don’t worry about trying to be everywhere at once. Find out where you are most likely to bump into your target audience, and focus your energy on those sites. Ask your customers which sites they frequent, observe the content and tone of those websites to make sure they’re a great fit for your brand, and then join in on the conversation.
It makes no sense to waste your time and energy positioning your brand in front of the wrong audience. Identify the social networking sites that are most appealing to your audience, and go there.
Second, think about where you can add the most value. Don’t think of social networking sites as another place for you to add your link, and try to sell your products. Social networking is about exchanging dialogue, information, and resources with those you connect with.
Before you join a social networking site, think about how you can add the most value, and look for opportunities to contribute in a meaningful way. If you don’t have video content, then you probably don’t need to be on Vimeo. If you don’t have pictures, then you probably shouldn’t be on Flickr.
Look for social networks that are natural extensions of your brand, so that you can join the conversation in an authentic way.
Third, don’t just hit and run. Setting up your profile page is not enough. In order to make social networking work for you, you need to be a genuine part of the community. Share your thoughts, stories, blog posts, photos, etc… And, comment on other people’s stories, thoughts, and photos.
Instead of just trying to find leads to generate sales focus on making genuine connections. Don’t forget to use your voice to make your presence known within the social network. Provide helpful information, resources and dialogue on a regular basis to establish yourself as a trusted thought leader.
If you focus on sparking quality conversations and are consistent over time, you will build a loyal following on your social networking sites. Remember to stay patient, and keep making genuine connections one person at a time.
One powerful resource that will help you explore the many social networking tools available to you– is the Conversation Prism. This comprehensive diagram categorizes the most popular social networking sites, so that you can familiarize yourself with what’s available, and easily decide which one to explore next.
Use the tips and resources mentioned above– to help you better understand how to use social media for your business. Find your audience, join the conversation, and stay consistent. Let the power of social media help you build and grow your business.