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Using Social Media for Business
When you're focused on your company, social media can seem like a distraction instead of a valuable tool. Knowing when and how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or any of the other myriad of social networks to help you achieve business goals can be daunting.
Here are some smart ways you as a businesswoman can start using social media to enhance your communications, marketing and networking efforts.
1. Join a professional social network.
The word "social" in social networks can be misleading that only personal interactions take place on these platforms. There are online networks such as LinkedIn for professionals, BizNik for sole proprietors, and numerous other business-oriented social networks like EFactor and StartupNation where you can connect with your peers, collaborate and do business.
2. Monitor social networks.
In general, people expect companies to be “listening” and monitoring social media and to respond when they make a comment, good or bad. At a minimum, use social media monitoring tools such as Hootsuite or MarketMeSuite to get a sense of what others are saying about you, your company, and topics related to what you do. In order to respond, you’ll need to set up a presence on the specific networks where you’re seeing the most communications relevant to your business.
3. Build a presence on a popular social network.
You may be wondering which social network beyond a professional one will help you market and grow your business. The short answer is pick a social network that your customers and prospects use on a regular basis and set up a presence as another communications channel where you can reach them and they can reach you. If you’re already monitoring social media, you may have minimal presences on social networks where people are talking about you. You don’t need to have a presence on every social network, but if you set something up, you’ll want to do it completely and based on the best practices for that particular network. Most people start with setting up a Facebook Page because of the potentially large reach. They might also have a familiarity with the network through their own personal Facebook profile.
4. Blog to build your brand.
While blogs aren’t the go-to online communications platform they once were since the advent of social networks, they are still valuable for publishing longer-form content that you might not post to Facebook or Twitter and the like. If you have a lot of information to share or need a way to publish timely and in depth content, blogging can be a useful way to promote yourself - and your business. You can also link to your blog content from social networks. Blogs can be standalone sites, but you may benefit more from integrating a blog into your existing site. Unless you’re making a living as a blogger, blogging should enhance your overall online communications but not be your sole focus. You should use an editorial calendar to keep your posts current and focused on topics that strengthen your brand and reputation.
How are you using social media for business?