Social media is an ideal way to quickly interact and connect with clients and potential clients. Social media, however, has the potential to suck you in, not let go and you’ll find you’ve wasted several hours on the social networking sites and have nothing productive to show for it.
Used correctly, social media is an ideal way to nurture relationships and grow your business is a more cost effective and far reaching manner than most other types of advertising or marketing will. Social media should be part of your overall marketing plan and here are five of the top platforms that many business owners use:
- Pinterest. This is an ideal site to use if you have a business that is very visual — think cake decorator or wedding planner, photographer or dog groomer. If you’re an accountant or a banker, you may not have images that are as visually appealing and Pinterest is all about the visuals.
- Facebook. This is the one social media site that practically everyone knows about and millions of people use daily. If you have a business, it may behoove you to have a business page. A Facebook business page is an ideal location for you to share company news and events, promote new products, monitor the conversations others are having about your business and research the hot topics in your industry.
- Google+. This is a platform that combines many of the nuances of Twitter and Facebook and allows you to connect with people and invite them into your Circles. You can easily connect with individuals outside of your Circles as well. While this is still a “new-ish” platform it is a Google product which means you can hashtag and use keywords to make your business posts more searchable.
- LinkedIn. Consider this the business network. It is not likely that you will find someone posting a picture of their breakfast on this site. This is a great place to build connections both within and outside of your industry and to connect with people who are connected to people you know. To effectively use this, congratulate followers on new jobs or anniversaries, share an update that a connection has written, join groups of interest and get involved in the conversations there.
- Twitter. This is a fast moving social network that allows you to follow people in an “open source” way — what this means is that you don’t have to have permission to follow them — they don’t have to follow you back though. To make effective use of this platform you will want to share and reshare the posts of those you follow, reply and comment on Tweets, thank individuals who have followed you and favorite those posts that really hit home.
As with anything, you need to determine where your target market is gathering and make use of that platform to reach them.