Thursday, September 19, 2013

Social Media and your business–Part 2


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Social Media and your business – Part 1
In the first part of this series I spoke about how social media is a conversation. In simple terms, ‘listening’ and ‘speaking’. In the next few parts I’ll cover some specific locations where you can ‘listen’ and ‘speak’ using social media.

The very first place that I think any business or professional should be considering is Linkedin. You should think of this as business to business marketing.
If you haven’t already got a Linkedin profile then you should create one. If you already have a Linkedin profile then you need to make sure that it is completely filled out and current. You can also create a business profile and have your employees connect their profile to that business but I don’t see that as a priority.
Once you have your Linkedin profile up to date then you should find a few Linkedin groups to join. These are groups based around a specific interest in which people ask and answer questions. When you join a group take some time to ‘listen’ to what others are saying and asking. When you are ready dive in and contribute. The way to get the most benefit is to offer help to others. Make suggestions, propose some good resources, share your experience and more.
Once you have joined and group and decided that it is worthwhile, contribute and keep contributing. The secret with social media is to be consistent with your contributions. If you don’t find the group of interest then move on.
The next step should then be to start connecting with others you know who are already on Linkedin. Spend a few minutes everyday working through the Linkedin directory and connection suggestions to find people you know. When you do connect make sure you don’t use the generic Linkedin connection greeting, personalize it so people know it comes from you.
After a while you should start asking your connections for testimonials and referrals. Testimonials are typically just a paragraph about how you have helped the person. Have a few pre-canned testimonials ready to offer because most people’s response to a request for a testimonial is – ‘What would you like me to say? Do you have any suggestions’. As the boy scouts say, Be Prepared.
Now, as you make new contacts and meet people through face to face networking or business ensure you connect with them in Linkedin as a matter of course. If you do some work for them ask for a Linkedin testimonial at the conclusion of the job, again as a matter of course. Using social media successfully in business means you need a system and then leverage that system. Don’t just do things randomly, create a process for every new contact you meet to get them into Linkedin, provide a testimonial and so on.
Likewise, don’t be shy in giving others testimonials if they deserve it. Don’t be shy at introducing one contact to another in Linkedin. As with the groups philosophy, always be looking to help others. By doing so you’ll get much more in return.
There is of course so much more you can do with Linkedin but hopefully there are some starting points. Firstly create an account, ensure it is complete and current, join and contribute to relevant groups and start building your contacts from inside and outside Linkedin. If you send me a connection invite to my Linkedin account
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ciaops
giving me a reason to connect with you (i.e. doing more than just using the generic greeting), perhaps like mentioning how much you liked this blog post, then there’s a good chance that I’ll accept the invitation.
Remember, consider Linkedin as you business to business opportunity. Create a system around it and continue to work at it regularly.
In the next part I’ll talk about what I consider to be a business to consumer social media strategy.
Social Media and your business – Part 3

If you need some help with your social media strategy or would like me to speak about social media at your business or association please don’t hesitate to contact me (director@ciaops.com).