Last week I talked about how to sell yourself to potential clients through the use of email, telephone conversations and proving to them that you could complete the work to their requirements.
This week I want to go into more detail about using social media to sell yourself and promote your services.
Where do I start?
Some of the questions that we're asked all of the time is 'Where do I start with social media?', 'Which tools should I use?' and 'What am I supposed to put on there?'
What you have to remember with each social media tool is that they are all very different. They have different purposes and ways of working effectively and so you only need to choose those that are relevant to you and your company.
For example, if your company has no videos at all there's just no point creating a YouTube page as it will just be an empty, unused space. The same goes for companies that have no visual imagery. Why bother setting up a Pinterest or Instagram account when you have nothing to upload?
The most commonly used social media apps that will suit almost any business and purpose are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and so these are the three that we're going to cover today.
Gaining Followers and Generating Awareness - The Basics
Stop! Before you go any further you need to have a plan. There is absolutely no point getting yourself set up on various social media sites without having a plan detailing your purpose and desired outcome.
When it comes to social media you must have recordable goals that you can aim for and measure the results of. You can't aimlessly post any old rubbish. You must have a plan and stick to it.
Creating a plan is simple. All you need to do is decide on a few things before you get started.
Answering the above and similar questions will help you to build a clear outline of what results you want to get from your social media campaign. These results will then be measurable so that you can repeat what works and improve what doesn't.
Let's Get Social...
Twitter is a fantastic social media tool for all businesses and professionals, regardless of your trade. There is a place for everyone and everything on Twitter. You just need to learn how to market yourself effectively.
The trick with Twitter is to post very short content snippets that are engaging and relevant. The most popular and effective tweets include images, links, videos and other interactive content to give the user something to do. If you post an interesting snippet or quote they will want to find out more and it's your job to make sure that they can whether via a link back to your website, a video giving more detail about the subject or a photograph that tells more than the words alone.
When using Twitter you will find yourself using these two symbols ‘@’ and '#' more and more often. The '@’ symbol is a way of directly talking to other Twitter users which is a great way to connect with potential clients in your target market. The '#' (hashtag) symbol is used on a variety of social media sites and is primarily used to connect with current trends. There are several online tools that will allow you to find out what hashtags are trending at the moment so that you can use any relevant to you in order to reach a wider audience.
For businesses it's great when your tweets are re-tweeted or your company is mentioned in someone else's tweet. This pushes you out to that users network and will encourage more people to follow you.
Twitter is centred around engagement. The more you engage with other users, whether through; content, re-tweets, direct messages, favourites or mentions the faster your following and brand awareness will grow.
Facebook is still the number one social media site on the planet. It was one of the first and the most valuable for businesses. This is because of it's ability to offer Business Pages for companies and professional individuals.
Your Facebook page represents you and your company. It's a place where you can upload anything from; your business logo, branding and office images to your about us information, special offers and much more.
Follow these simple steps to make the most out of your Facebook Page:
1. Create a Facebook Page (a little obvious I know but you have to start somewhere)
2. Fill your page with relevant information and images of your company (don't forget to include your about us and contact information)
3. Post relevant, up-to-date content including any special offers or competitions etc. (special offers and competitions are a great way to get people to follow your page as they'll always want to know the latest deals)
4. Like/follow other pages who may then return the favour (this is usually other businesses in your area or who you may be able to trade with)
5. Join local and relevant groups and use these to advertise your business, product and service etc. (there are hundreds of local and national groups on Facebook that allow you to advertise for free. Simply find those that are relevant to you and get posting)
6. Like other people’s content (by liking other people's content - if it's relevant - they will start paying attention to your content which they will in turn like)
Just remember to continuously put the time and effort into updating your Facebook page and engaging with other users. If you don't have the time to do this yourself you can delegate it to an employee or virtual assistant. As you watch your social media presence develop, over time, you’ll undoubtedly see your social following grow.
LinkedIn is very often forgotten about. A lot of people don't understand it and don't realise it's potential.
You will find that LinkedIn is a very different type of social media tool and in a way the concept behind it is much simpler than the likes of Facebook and Twitter. In a nutshell LinkedIn is your online résumé. Once you've signed up to LinkedIn you can:
1. Create a personal profile to list your skills, qualifications & experience
2. Create a company profile to list all of your services, products, testimonials and media coverage
When used effectively, LinkedIn has the power to put you and your company in front of other business owners/professionals who can use your services. LinkedIn is the perfect environment for B2B companies to expand their client base and also to build a mailing list from the connections that they build.
One of the key points to remember about social media is that you must put the time and effort into each site to build your content and engage with other members. To make life easier for you, use the HootSuite tool to multi-manage all of your social tools which will save you a great deal of time whilst allowing you to track your results.
Quick Tip: If you put links to your social media sites on your website and in email footers, you increase the chances of clients and potential clients liking and following your pages.
Good Luck and Happy Socialising!