Social Media: All the rage – here’s how to engage

Well, you can’t really look anywhere on the internet right now without getting caught up in the Social Media explosion.  But with all the options out there, how do you decide where to dip your toe in the water?  With only so much time in the day, how do you know where to engage in Social Media?  And how do you know if it will have an impact on your bottom line and ultimately help you to grow your business?

Even the Internet Gurus are giving conflicting information on this one so I figured I might as well weigh in with my 2 cents worth.

First, Social Media is one of many tools that are in your marketing tool box.  So, just as with all the other tools that are at your finger tips, you must decide to use the ones that you are most comfortable with and the ones that are most likely to spread your information around like wild fire.

Social Media is a lot like networking in that you need to know what you want the outcome to be … before you can determine where you will put in your best time and effort and involvement.

Do you want to build better and stronger face to face relationships in your own backyard?  Then you might want to consider localized online networks such as Biznik or create your own on NING.

Do you want to spread your influence further around the internet and make Business contacts in other cities?  Then perhaps LinkedIN, Zoodango, or Biznik would better serve your needs.  And you can always go on NING and search for a group that suits your niche or expertise.

There is a certain amount of Social Networking fatigue that many are beginning to feel as they are overwhelmed with the choices.  It seems that with every new day there are more Social Networks popping up and people are inviting you to join them there.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Join the networks where your current clients are already hanging out.  This will give you greater visibility (as long as you participate) and will help to keep you “top of mind” with your target audience.  And it will help you to keep up on what is happening in their lives as well.
  • Join the networks where your future clients are hanging out.  For the same reasons as above, as long as you participate, you will begin to build awareness of yourself and your brand/product/service.  And, it gives you an easy way to learn more about your prospective clients through their visibility (no stalking allowed)
  • Wherever you join, put up a proper photo of yourself and represent your business in your profile in a professional manner.
  • Wherever you join, make sure you add value to the conversations that are taking place.  Social networks are typically highly intolerant of aggressive self promotion and mildly intolerant of mild self promotion.
  • Wherever you join, take time to build relationships … don’t be too eager.
  • Whatever you do – no spamming of any kind.  You will do more damage in one moment of spamming than you can even begin to imagine.  Just Don’t Do It.
  • Wherever you join, make a point to put it on your calendar as a marketing duty at least once a week (preferably twice a week) to show up at that site and manage your profile, your posts, etc.

You can have your profile put up on all the Social Media sites by various services on the internet.  But what good does that do you if you don’t show up in person (at the site) to add your personality to the discussion.  That’s why they are called SOCIAL sites.  It’s about the interaction.

Interesting thing about these three words: Introduction, interaction, transaction.  They all end in “action” and they are the natural route that new clients take to get to know you and your business/products/services.  They are introduced to you through your website, your blog, your profile on social sites, articles that you have written, your networking efforts.  Then they interact with you by commenting on your blog, downloading info from your website, leaving info for you at your Facebook site, or following you on Twitter.  And finally, they are ready to engage with you and do business which is the transaction stage of the process.

Engage to engage!

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