The social media guide for busy business owners
If you're like most entrepreneurs, you've already got a lot on your plate. And yet, you often hear about companies who have doubled their customer base in only a few months, by making use of social media. So, is there any chance to get noticeable results by investing 10 or 15 minutes of your precious daily time into social media?
The answer is a sound yes! Read on to discover what you should do to reap all the benefits that arise from making use of the top social media platforms.
But first, what is the purpose of social media? We like to focus our attention on "media", because that's how we get to convert strangers into leads, and then leads into customers. However, by doing this, we tend to forget about the "social" part. And yet, this is the key role of any social media site; it allows you to interact with your potential customers before trying to sell them your merchandise.
As a conclusion, if you thought that you can convince people to purchase your products or services by sending them tweets with your offers, you'd better change your mind. Yes, billions of people use social media sites, but the main objective of your social media strategy should be to find ways to increase engagement.
Basically, you want to use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to engage with your targeted audience. This means that you should start discussions on topics that interest them, and not necessarily you.
Your social media strategy should have some clear objectives from the very beginning. What do you hope to achieve in exchange for your time? What opportunities do exist? And who are the people that can help you achieve success online?
LinkedIn makes it really easy to identify these people, for example. So, start your social media journey by joining several industry related groups. Then, become friends with the group members by sharing useful, industry-related information. This will help you build trust and will (hopefully) make some of the group members interested in finding out more about you.
However, LinkedIn is not the only social media site that can be really helpful. There are several dozens of social media platforms that have a lot of potential. Fortunately, you don't need to visit them all, one at a time. There are several useful social listening tools, which will provide all the needed information in a centralized dashboard. And believe it or not, many of them are free to use.
So yes, you'd need hours to log into dozens of social media sites each day, and then look at all the posts, trying to find one where you can be of help, and thus gain people's trust. However, you can achieve similar results in less than 15 minutes, by using a social listening application.
Of course, once that you've installed the software, don't forget that you're supposed to "listen" more than "promote" - that's what the tool was built for, in the first place. You should only get involved in the conversation when you can add a lot of value to it. And when you do that, be yourself. Don't try to impress anyone by using pompous words, for example. Let the real you shine through the conversation. Act like a real person, not like a salesman!
If you have created valuable content that solves real problems, be sure to share it with your virtual friends and followers. In fact, creating bite-sized content a few times per week, and then sharing it with your audience, is the most effective way of growing your network. Don't forget to share other people's content as well, but only if it's got the highest quality.