Getting the most out of Social Media

The Internet has taken over so many aspects of our lives that it’s hard for some to think of how we got along before its emergence. Of the many paradigms our society has explored with this amazing and versatile resource, social media may prove to be the most vital tool at your disposal. You’ve probably been thinking of new and different ways to use social media to build or enhance your experience with your clients and contacts.

Here are some tips for using three of the most popular social media platforms effectively – some basics that may help shape your own participation, or you can pass along to social media newcomers. This is, by no means, a complete list, but it may give you a leg up, as well as provoke some brainstorming of your own.

Twitter: Perhaps the most popular and widely-read of the social media formats. Twitter is used by celebrities, politicians, world leaders, and everyday people. But only using Twitter to get eyes on your website or tell them about your services is a little short-sighted. The philosophy of Twitter is interaction between people, so the person tweeting for your company may not be you, but they should be a trustworthy employee who knows your business, and can communicate well (meaning listening to the needs of subscribers as well as answering questions), because Twitter is a tool that lets you tap into the very zeitgeist itself! Pretty heady stuff, right? That’s why it’s important to have your Twitter presence cultivate a character, to literally be your voice in the wider world.

Facebook: While there are many individuals who use both Twitter and Facebook, there are those who favor one or the other.  If you’re wondering if you should be present on both platforms, the answer is: Yes! Where the “Twittersphere” allows you to engage anyone who takes part, Facebook is more community-oriented. This allows potential business contacts to see their friends interactions with you, whether they are posting on your business page, “checking in,” or just sharing information that you’ve posted. One aspect you will find particularly helpful are Facebook’s analytics, through which you can determine how much and how often the people who have “liked” you are truly interacting with your posts. These numbers can prove invaluable in telling you whether to stay the course or try something different.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a growing social network which doesn’t get the same attention as Facebook or Twitter, possibly because it’s designed for professionals. Clearly, it’s that difference that gives it an edge that should pique your interest. More than just posting interesting articles, it’s about building relationships with other professionals. There are also a number of interest groups you may want to explore, but don’t fall into the trap of only participating in those groups related to your business; you have a better chance of developing relationships with a wider variety of professionals if you spend time in groups that explore your own personal interests, not unlike the social clubs (fraternal orders, country clubs) that were once so prevalent. The Internet, and tools like LinkedIn, allow us to expand our community beyond our normal geographic limits, to the entire country or even the wider world.

Staying Topical: Part of your presence in any social network should include interesting and topical articles and news items; if you are a doing things on your own, or have an assistant with other pressing duties, finding interesting items can feel like a full-time job. This is doubled when you factor that many people working in financial fields must have all items, even social media posts, approved by compliance departments. A subscription to a service like our own MarketingLibrary.net can help alleviate that problem. We offer as many as 15 new social media messages per week. Subscribers with participating Broker/Dealers have the added advantage of their compliance department possessing the ability to review and/or approve the messages ahead of time. That’s saved time you can spend building relationships with individuals on the various social media platforms.

Every kind of business can take advantage of social media, but moving forward without an idea of how these platforms are best utilized can be as perilous as doing nothing with them at all. In time, building your social media profile can help you build on your business as well as give your potential clients and contacts an immersive and friendly way to approach you.

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