The internet and all things digital now dominates our working life. We all have smart phones, laptops, ipads and email is our primary form of communication. The invent of Social Media has allowed us extend our communication beyond our address book and connect with new people, in business we hope these people may be interested in what we are offering.
Linkedin in currently has in excess of 225 million users, twitter 500 million registered users who posted 340 million tweets, facebook has 1.2 billion users, in theory all these people are available to be contacted, to “network” with. So how can you optimise social media to gain valuable new connections and clients. How do you find that needle in the haystack?
Strategic Social Networking is the answer. Ask yourself these questions
- Who is my target audience? Be specific, Age, Gender, Job Description, Interests?
- Where do they live? Do you work regionally i.e. 30 mile radius from home?
- Which social media platforms to they utilise most and which is the best to promote your business. Linkedin is very business focused where Facebook is more leisure orientated.
- What would you be able to share with this audience to promote your knowledge, expertise and services
Next use the search facilities in each of the platforms to find your target audience. Linkedin allows you to search on the professional details of its users and Twitter the profiles and tweets but with Facebook you can only search on Pages rather than individuals.
Once you have isolated your audience then look to connect with them. Linkedin will allow you to connect to people that you have something in common i.e. same school, college, university, work place, group or if you have their email address or have done business together. Failing that ask for referrals from your first level connections or pay for Inmails. Typically 50% of your requests to connect should be accepted. You can follow anyone on twitter and they get notification that you are but on average only 25% will follow you back. Facebook is different you need to ask people to Like your page or give them some incentive to do so such as competitions or vouchers.
If you are connected you then are able to direct message and start a more meaningful dialogue and take the networking offline and get face to face meetings. In the meantime you should nurture your audiences with a consistent, relevant stream of content that sits either on your blog or website or share that of others.
Also always be on the look out for relevant contacts on-line, tweets, discussions within groups and even if you are introduced to someone at a networking meeting, keep their card and then invite them connect.
Your connections, followers and fans are valuable to you. Nurture them, talk to them and convert them from prospects to customers.
As always if you are struggling to integrate your social media with other marketing activities then please contact us.