By David Gass, Earn.com Expert Advisor
Everyone is doing it – and it’s no wonder. One of the easiest ways to spread the word about your business is to use social media. But where do you start? What’s the best way to build your profile? The list of social media platforms can be overwhelming, and new ones pop up every day. Ben Fisher, co-founder of imSMB, offers this advice:
Determine your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to increase sales? Drive customers to your storefront or website? Analyze your competitors and track what they’re doing?
Secure your identities. It’s important to secure your online identity. Start by selecting a persona for yourself and then register that persona on as many social websites as you can. Hint: If you can’t obtain your company name, use something like @MyCompanyFans. Then contact the provider and see how you can claim your persona.
Next, register your company name as well as the names of your products and services. At a minimum, you should sign up on Twitter, create a Facebook fan page from your personal Facebook profile and then create a Facebook group, and register at LinkedIn. Use a tool like Knowem? which not only helps you determine if your personas are available, but also registers them for you.
Here’s a quick look at the major social media platforms.
Facebook is now the largest social network. Its profiles and fan pages can take your brand awareness to a whole new level. Your Facebook fans and friends can easily share news about your business with their friends, who then share it with their friends, and so on. For statistics junkies, Facebook provides an analytics tool that allows you to view weekly reports detailing your new fans, numbers of interactions, and types of actions taken on your pages.
Twitter is a great way to keep track of who is talking about your company and to find people who should know about you. The volume of information on Twitter can become overwhelming quickly, so create a plan to connect with people of influence and your customers. Reply to all non-spam direct messages (DMs) as fast as you can. Also, use tools that will auto-tweet for you as well as help maintain your following-to-follower ratio. Check out Cotweet.com andHootsuite.com. Both are free tools to help manage all of your social profiles in one neat package.
LinkedIn is an online networking tool that’s especially valuable for business-to-business companies. Connect with your existing colleagues and contacts, make new ones, and find out what projects people are working on and how they can help you. You can form or join groups on LinkedIn, ask and answer questions, and put yourself in front of a valuable audience of potential partners and customers.
New social media sites are cropping up all the time, vying for your attention and the attention of your customers. Try not to be like a kid in a candy store. Find out where your customers are talking about your brand and competitors, and interact there. Mashable.com is a great place to keep tabs on new and emerging social media sites and tools.
David Gass is the Founder of Business Credit Services, Inc. (BCS) and is an Earn.com Expert Advisor.