Why bother with social media for networking?
Online networking has the same purpose as offline networking – to build relationships! And we build quality relationships by adding value to other people’s lives – both online and offline.
In the online business context we add value to others by sharing content, tips and ideas that may help our readers and followers to get a better result in their personal life or business, depending on our area of skill and expertise.
Have any doubts about how your prospects are using social media? Click here to watch this short video about the value of social networking that I shot more than 4 years ago and it is even more relevant today!
What social media platforms are best for you?
Popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, SlideShare (now owned by LinkedIn) etc. To decide which one or two (NOT ALL!) to focus your time, energy and money on, you will want to do some research to discover where your target market hangs out online and then focus your attention there.
Free or paid?
- While these platforms are free to use, some of them also have a premium version (e.g. LinkedIn), offering additional functionality.
- Some social media platforms also offer you the opportunity to advertise or promote your posts – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. If you know what you are doing and have verified that your target market is on that platform, then this form of advertising can be much more cost effective than Google Adwords.
- Free Facebook advertising course by LeadPages reveals exactly how to promote on Facebook
Why you want to focus on strategy before you focus on social networking tactics
Any tactic you put in place to attract new prospects or to invite existing clients to invest further in your products or services must reflect your overall marketing strategy to have any hope of success; the consistency of your message is very important.
Three goals of your website AND your social media strategy:
- Attract – you want to attract new contacts and followers to your social profiles. The most effective way of doing this is by being genuinely helpful and being willing to serve them.
- Connect – you want to create a genuine connection with your followers, gradually building their trust in you as you demonstrate your authority in your market, your willingness and your ability to help them solve their problems.
- Convert – and of course, you want to convert them to becoming customers and even raving fans of your business. This happens only AFTER you have made a genuine connection with them.
So, before devising your social media tactics, ask yourself if each tactic, each platform and each message or interaction truly supports your overall marketing strategy.
The exact steps you want to take to leverage your social presence to get your website found in Google
- Identity TWO social media streams where your target market hangs out.
- Fill out your profiles for those platforms fully – keyword optimise your job title, history and profile description or about section.
- Develop an editorial calender for posting. Add timely and topical posts as required.
- Share content that adds value to your followers.
- Link back to content on your own website whenever possible – good for SEO!
- Content does not have to be your own – you can curate.
Posting frequency for curators:
- Facebook – 2x per day
- Twitter = 5x per day
- LinkedIn – 1x per weekday to relevant groups and 1 per week as a post on your profile
- Google+ – up to 5 x per day
- Instagram – up to 5 x per day
- SlideShare – treat like LinkedIn
- YouTube – keep videos short ( under 2 minutes) for maximum watch-ability
Social Media Marketing Strategy Bottom Line
Online networking has the same purpose as offline networking:
- Build genuine relationships – get to know your followers, their pain points and their preferences.
- Share content that adds value to your followers – be helpful, not pushy.
- Take the conversation offline when you can – if they are in your local area, arrange to meet over a coffee to see how you can help each other. If you are going to the same conference, arrange to have lunch together at the conference.
Bonus tip: Be yourself and keep your online conversations real!