In case you missed yesterday's post, I talked about getting your small business involved in social media through blogging. If you are going to do one thing with regards to social media, that is where I feel you will get your most bang for your buck. Once you start blogging and assert that social media is not dumb and a waste of time, you may want to get more involved with social media.
This is the point where business owners get curious about sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. What are the best social media outlets for your business. That's really up to you and your clients to decide. You can look for networks that are favored by your industry, you can look at what your clients are using, you can look at what networks may be the most appropriate for your business.
Here's a breakdown of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn:
Twitter: I have said this before but when I first signed up for Twitter, it seemed ridiculous to me. I just didn't get it. I really think that Twitter doesn't make sense until you start expanding your network with people who are really using it. The main complaint that I get from small business owners about Twitter revolves around this same lack of understanding that I had.
What's great about Twitter is that it gives you access to a whole group of people that you would typically not have access to. It's a great opportunity to meet new people, run across great ideas and share your own great ideas.
I will avoid getting on a soap box about how to best use Twitter or any other social networking platform for that matter. I am certainly not a social media expert but I do use it on a daily basis. What I will do is share how I use Twitter so that it works for me.
The first thing I do with Twitter is use it to update my followers on information that is relevant to small business owners. Typically I do this by sharing other people's content that I run across on a daily basis. The second thing I do is use to expand the reach of my own information that I create. Beyond content, I use Twitter as a connection tool. I am not so much of a conversationalist on Twitter itself but I do try to set up 1-2 calls/meetings a week with people that I connect with on Twitter.
The connection aspect has been a great way to find mentors as well as create synergies with people to move my business forward. One word of caution about Twitter, be careful what you say, you don't want to have this happen to you.
Facebook: For me Facebook is more of a friendship site. I don't link my Twitter account to it and I don't really pursue a lot of business there. However, that doesn't mean that you can't or shouldn't use Facebook for business.
I have made great professional connections through Facebook. I have also seen business owners really use the fan page function of Facebook to get communicate and share with their clientele on a regular basis.
Alex Mandossian has done a great job with this through his Productivity Strategies platform. They post content regularly and seem to have created an active and engaged following through their fan page. You can certainly pick up some tips for how Alex has structured his page to get ideas for your own business.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the more buttoned up and professional of the major social networking sites. LinkedIn provides a lot of unique features for its users.
One of my favorite features is the ability to recommend people in your network. This is a great way to share with others the great things that people in your network are doing. I also enjoy the question and answer feature that allows you to weigh in on questions that other LinkedIn users have about various topics. You can also integrate Slide Share into your profile which is a great tool for my graphic and web design business. As a business owner there is plenty to like about LinkedIn.
Those are the 3 main sites that I use regularly. It's up to you determine what networks are best for you and how much time and effort you want to put into using them. To get past the social media is dumb and a waste of time issue that a lot if us business owners have, it takes jumping in and giving them a try so that we can see how to make these networks work effectively for our business.