It might surprise you to know that tweeting about interactions with a Starbucks barista is not conducive to winning new clients. Social media isn’t just a public forum for your private thoughts. It’s also a powerful, global networking tool — although depending on your brand, you might still be able to get away with posting a cat picture or two. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what social media networking means, why you should treat these sites as dedicated marketing tools, and how to get started. By the end, you’ll be a social media wizard (but with fewer emojis)!
Social media is a marketing tool, not a vehicle for procrastination
Social media is what keeps you endlessly scrolling through timelines while on the toilet (don’t deny it). It’s also a broad term used to label websites that let you connect with other people online.
These platforms are a more immersive way of communicating than a traditional forum or similar medium.
As you know, on most social media sites you can share statuses or updates, and add media, tag other users, and much more. Then, you can receive replies from friends and sometimes strangers. Of course, some platforms deal mainly in images and video instead, with minimal text content.
Whatever the format, social media is key for conversing with people online.
However, it’s also great for bolstering a business, through:
Reaching new customers
Penetrative or viral posts can help you get in front of those outside of your “bubble,” in a way that’s more far-reaching than simple networking.
At the very least, you can use your social media accounts to curate a “lookbook” of goals and ideals that customers can browse at will.
In short, social media is not just a brain dump. From this point on, you’ll want to consider it as a primary marketing tool.
You only need to speak to a handful of users
There are a lot of people on social media, but targeting them all is a bad idea. This is because:
- Not everyone is interested in your services.
- There is such an array of cultures and languages that marketing to them all will likely end in disaster.
- The sheer cost and effort of promoting to the world is immense.
Instead, consider creating a dedicated “client profile.” This involves deciding exactly who your ideal client is and figuring out what they want. This type of profile is perfect for giving you focus when narrowing your audience down.
Identify your ideal client, and talk to them on social media. You’ll meet qualified leads right off the bat.
It seems counterintuitive, but reducing your audience and targeting your ideal clients is the key to prolonged success. Doing this means that your leads will be “qualified” right off the bat, which makes it more likely that they’ll want to open their wallets down the line.
Social media networking: How to find and talk to actual people on social media
As you might have guessed, “social media networking” is a general term that covers a vast number of activities, but different platforms require distinct techniques if you want to succeed. Here’s our take on how to smash each platform.
Everyone knows Facebook. It’s been with us for well over a decade, and it’s become part and parcel of daily life for billions of users. In basic terms, you set up a profile, write short updates, and post them for your friends and followers to see.
Previously, we wrote an entire post on using Facebook to bolster your client base, so that should be your first port of call. There are other tips you’ll want to consider as well, since haphazard posting is simply not going to get the job done.
Twitter is another of the “big three” platforms, and has also been around for 10 years or so. It was originally designed as a text messaging service, which explains the long-standing character limit on status updates.
This platform is arguably easier to grasp than Facebook.
There’s one type of profile, and one way to communicate — through character-limited tweets that are sometimes marked with hashtags. Keeping with this minimalist trend, there’s also one primary method of creating ads.
A sticking point for many newbies is how to actually communicate on Twitter. This can be tough at first, but if you think of Twitter as a kind of party, you should grasp the concept quickly. Food brands usually get it right, and Wendy’s is a prime example of what it takes to win on Twitter:
Again, we’ve written a number of handy guides on boosting your Twitter game. You may want to start with "Twitter for people who hate Twitter," as it walks you through the basics, before moving onto something more in-depth.
Finally, we have one of the most popular social media platforms around — which is remarkable given that it only launched in 2010. The Facebook-owned Instagram is a media-heavy site — your main form of communication is through images and short videos.
Unlike other platforms, Instagram encourages the use of multiple hashtags. There are also a number of ways to promote your business, which are (not surprisingly) all centered around media. Clothing always seems to do well on the platform, with brands like Nike, Victoria’s Secret and Adidas winning a huge amount of followers:
At this point, you won’t be surprised to learn that we’ve covered how to win business on Instagram in the past. We’ve also looked at using Instagram as part of a consulting practice. This might not completely align with your area of expertise, but nonetheless contains some simple-to-grasp tips for success that you can use.
Conclusion: Win business with social media networking
Social media is many things to different people: a shoulder to cry on, a food documentation archive, or a repository for memes. However, it can also be the ticket to winning you fresh business, bolstering your authority, and offering your calling card to new audiences.
Of course, having fun on the internet should also be a goal, so we’re not suggesting that you keep things stuffy. However, striking the right balance and remembering that social media is an effective networking outlet is the key to prolonged and world-dominating success!