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May 8, 2017
You know plenty of people who waste valuable time on social media. Maybe you have far more important things to do and have decided to ignore social media completely. That would be a big mistake if you want your business to grow and prosper.
These six tips will help you understand how social media can actually help your business.
1. Prescreening people
Use social media to prescreen almost anyone, including a potential employee or a prospective subcontractor. Look them up on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to find out about their experience, who they are as a person, their work ethic, whom they have worked with, and projects they have worked on. All of this can be done in less than 15 minutes.
Realize that they are also checking out your social media profiles and your website and determining whether or not they want to contact you.
The new professional law is, “If you can’t be found, you don’t exist.” Take the time to update at least your LinkedIn profile so it is current and reflects your experience.
2. All social media platforms are search engines
Google, Bing, Yahoo and every other search engine learn who you are and what you know based on your LinkedIn profile. If you are strategic and intentional about your social media activity and setting your profiles up correctly, you will be able to boost your SEO (search engine optimization) and generate more business.
Your search engine ranking is influenced by your SMO (social media optimization). Search engines don’t just care about your website they want to know that you are relevant in today’s business market. When you engage on social media, you are demonstrating that you are relevant.
3. Stop stalking, start talking
When you have mastered online (professional) stalking, start talking. Social media is a critical form of communication, just like a phone call, text or handwritten note. It gives you direct access to people whom you otherwise would not be able to meet due to gatekeepers or geography. In order to call or text someone, you have to have a contact number, but with social media you can use a job title, name, company or even a skill to find a person.
4. Communicate with people and for technology
Google “How to use social media for business” and you’ll get over 31 million responses. Each one will offer a “do this” or a “don’t do that” best practice. By the end of the third article, you’ll feel overwhelmed by a never-ending task list for using social media.
When you share an article or video on social media, make sure that you explain why you are sharing it. The “why” makes it personal. The “why” invites a viewer to click through and read your post. It tells the person that you want to engage with them. The goal of all of your interactions on social media is either to start or continue a conversation.
This “why” is not a sales pitch; when done correctly it ends up positioning you as the expert without being a self-proclaimed expert. It is a conversational reason for sharing this piece of content and the conversation you would like to have.
5. Don’t fear the bad review
Some companies don’t engage on social media because they fear a bad review. Well, get over it. The conversation is going on online whether you are there or not.
The owner of a construction company that I worked with called me in a panic one morning. Someone had written a scathing review of his company on a site from which he regularly generated leads. The writer was not a client; it was a woman who had asked that he come out and give her a quote. She got quotes from multiple contractors on the same day and had confused one of the other contractors with this one.
I wrote a response to the woman’s review, addressing her concerns and suggesting that perhaps she had confused him with another contractor. I cited specific processes the company has in place to prevent unprofessional practices. To this day, he has generated more business from the way he handled that negative review than he has from any other marketing.
6. Build a strategy that aligns with your goals
Social media should be helping you accomplish your goals. Develop a social media strategy by looking at your business goals and assess where and how social media can help you.
Numbers never lie, but they also don’t tell the truth. You’ve been told to track your likes, follows, fans and shares, but those are easy to skew. Share a cute cat video, and your likes and shares will be off the charts.
Is having 10 billion fans truly important? Okay, yes, getting more likes, shares and comments will move you closer to the top of the news feed, but is that attached to any of your actual business goals? For example, you want to build a better relationship with local media so that when they cover a story about your industry or a job you’re working on, they contact you first. If that is a goal, then a fan count of 10 billion is irrelevant. Realistically, you need to build relationships with local news sources.
Let’s say that you are going to be hiring two project managers this year. You don’t want to post the job publicly and have to screen the hundreds or thousands of possible applicants. The solution? Find a handful of qualified candidates and invite them to an interview all without the public posting process.
Social media is a communication tool for building professional relationships. With an intentional social media strategy, you can build multiple relationships in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take to turn your fans, followers and connections into paying clients.
Mixing brand development, strategy and implementation, Mel DePaoli works with her clients to build brands worthy of going viral. As founder of Omicle LLC, she is a sought-after speaker and author of three books on culture-driven brands.