24 Jan Promote & Socialize Your Business
At this point you should already be in good shape with your design. You know your target market, have selected a designer that’s great for your needs, and are on track with timing (and budget)! Excellent. As your project starts to wrap up, and your designer is ready to send you final artwork, you can take this time to think of next steps. Promoting!
Whether you part of your project included promotional materials or not, you want to start thinking of a way to spread the word! All your hard work can’t just sit at home looking pretty. Social Media is a great way to reach a large following.
Often times clients will ask me do I really need a Facebook (or Twitter or Google+… you get the idea) account? The short answer is: the more places you are, the more opportunity there is for customers to find you. However, there’s always a longer answer…
Do I Really Need to Be EVERYWHERE?
No, you don’t NEED to be everywhere. Quality is always more important than quantity. So rather than being on every social media network just because it’s available, make sure you know where your customers are. THAT is where you need to be as well.
What Are My Social Media Options?
There are many social media networks, with more and more popping up every day it seems. Some are more popular than others, here’s a list of the “big 4”.
I remember refusing to join Facebook because it was “for college kids”. Boy has that changed! You can now create business pages that look professional. It’s also pretty much everywhere; you can integrate Facebook with your website, blog, 3rd party apps and is even used as a way to sign in to many portals.
For a less “social” and more business networking feel, there’s LinkedIn, which allows you to connect with people you know and see who you might have in common. Your colleagues and clients can write testimonials for you and endorse your skills. Great for keeping in touch with those movers and shakers.
Twitter is great for quick updates. Short and sweet is the key, as you only have 140 characters per post. Many companies use Twitter to track what people are saying about them and sharing news and resources.
The thing I like best about Google+ is the circles feature. You can create groups (circles) based on pretty much anything. Local customers, out-of-state customers, friends, family, etc. When you post, you can choose who sees your update, everyone? Cool. Just want to send it to your local customers? Go for it! This way you’re able to send targeted messages that apply to those you need to see it.
In addition to the “big 4”, there are some others to take note such as Pinterest (post and share images, sites, and links in boards), Instagram (take cool photos and add fun filters), Foursquare (great if you have a location people can check-in to) and did you know MySpace is back? It just went through a big re-vamp.
Are There Alternatives to Social Media?
Yes! A very important thing to consider is having a blog. A place where you can share news and your services and products, provide tutorials, and post articles relevant to your industry. It’s great for SEO, as it keeps your site constantly updated and it’s also a great way to let your customers see that you know what you’re talking about! As long as you’re posting valuable content, of course.
Also consider having a newsletter, which works similarly to a blog, but is sent only to people who are signed up for it. There’s no reason why you can’t have both, so consider having a blog with public content and a newsletter with additional resources for your clients.
How Often Should I Update?
This is a tough one to answer because, again, it depends on who you’re targeting and what you’re posting about. Obviously you don’t want to spend your time posting a photo of your lunch, people won’t take that seriously (unless you’re a food critic!). You need to find a balance between professional, useful information, and some fun posts that show that you’re a human being! You don’t want to post so often that people get sick of seeing your name and photo every time they open their social media site, but not so sparingly that they forget about you.
There’s also some debate on when is the optimal time to post. There’s really no such thing as the right time or day. I might be more active in the mornings while someone else goes online in the evenings. The best way to figure this out is to do some testing, see when people most often respond to your posts. What sort of posts do you get the most comments on?
Remember That Social Media is About Building Connections
Don’t just post and forget about it. And don’t just constantly market and promote yourself. Share and comment! Answer someone’s questions (particularly if it’s directed at you, don’t ignore people who reach out to you), comment on their post, share someone else’s tips and tricks. Communicate and connect, you’ll gain more followers than if you’re perceive as a posting machine.
But Don’t Get Overwhelmed!
I know there’s a lot to keep up with when it comes to social media. There are several online services and apps that help streamline your social media efforts (I’ll provide some additional resources on this on the PDF version). You can also consider hiring a social media strategist to help you figure out what works best for you.
Give some thought to where your clients are and how they like to relate. Aim to at the very least be where they are, and always make sure you’re providing valuable content.
This wraps up the Design Your Business series, make sure to sign up to receive the FREE eBook PDF, coming next week!