My latest client this week was RayDuell.com and together we began to work on his Social Media Network. Ray has just stepped into self-employment as a Sole Trader. He’s built the website, designed the business card and now the time is right for him to use his Social Network to spread the news and let the world know that he’s here and ready to help your business.
Social Media Networking is one of those phrases.. you know the ones… a phrase that everyone says and then nods their heads in agreement but what does it really mean and how can Social Media Networking actually work for you?
I’ve put together my Top 6 Tips for you if you’re new to Social Media Networking to help you out.
1. What is Social Media Networking?
The quickest way to answer this is to tell you what it’s not! Social Media Networking is not to be confused with Social Media Marketing. It’s great having a marketing plan and strategy but if you don’t have a network to share it with or to share it for you on your behalf then this part of your marketing strategy will fail! Your Social Media Network is the network that you’ve built up either with friends, associates, accomplices what ever you want to call them!
2. Plan, plan, plan
What do you want to achieve? What is the purpose of your networking? What size network are you looking for? Are you targeting quantity or quality for your network? How will your network support your products and future marketing strategies? All these are questions for you to ask before you begin to choose which network to work with and cultivate. If you begin your networks before planning then you may find that you’re using time, energy and resources in a way that might not be productive for you.
3. It’s who you know
You’ll be surprised how many connections you have in your life without actually realising it. The first thing I did with Ray was start with a blank piece of paper and put his name in a circle in the middle. I then put a larger circle around, wrote his closest connections, his family and friends in the circle and asked him what connections they had. The initial answer was none, as none of his family or friends worked in the hospitality industry. When I asked him to write down the connections that they might have the creative juices really began to flow and the number of potential connections and contacts grew. So the old adage it’s not what you know it’s who you know could really help to grow your network.
4. Separate personal and professional networks
If you are one of the people who hasn’t got a Facebook page yet then how did you manage that?? Part of your networking strategy should consider how you want your company to be portrayed and for this reason you need a Facebook page. This can be managed by you and you can keep the content on your page business related and you don’t have to worry about the personal photo’s or comments that can populate many peoples’ personal pages. If you have a personal blog consider the content of your blog, is it relevant to and does it support your business? You may want to consider adding more categories to separate the personal to the professional content or even creating a new blog solely for your business.
5. Keep your content relevant and DON’T SELL to your Network
There are many rules that I’ve been taught by effective networkers and two that really stick in my mind are: keep your content relevant and don’t sell! If your company is a Food Safety company then populate your page, blogs, tweets what ever your using with content about food safety. As far as selling is concerned then it’s a big no no for your network. Remember, your network is there to spread the word for you, bang the jungle drums etc. Direct selling can be a massive turn off so populate your network with hints and tips, relevant content, things that you’ve learnt and want to pass on.. leave the selling for your Social Media Marketing plan.
6. Use the tools that are provided
I used to always skip past tutorials, help pages etc as I just wanted to get my hands dirty and get started. One thing that I’ve realised on every site that I’ve become a member is the wealth of learning that is available for free! Take your time to watch the tutorial videos, I’ve learnt so much about functionality on different sites, how they can link together and also picked up some neat tricks and tips about things that I’d never have considered. Also spend time in Forums, if you get stuck or have a question then go to the forum for that site as you’re probably not the first person to have come across this. (If you post on the forums you might even find your network growing!)
I hope these tips have helped you on your way. Please use the buttons below to share them and also if you’ve got your own tips then add them to the comments box below and let’s see how many we make together!