After leading a lively discussion on the subject earlier this week, I thought I’d share some advice on the key points to remember if you are going to use Social Media to grow your business.

  1. Choose your platform wisely. Just like any other type of media you need to use the one that your customers use. LinkedIn is for businesses, Facebook is where you go to catch up with your friends and Twitter can be either depending on who you choose to follow.
  2. Commit and engage. Like anything else in life, you get out what you put in. Take some time to get involved and the rewards will come.
  3. Use automatic update linking wisely! I personally think it is OK for your LinkedIn and Facebook updates to automatically get posted to Twitter, but NOT vice versa. Twitter works differently from the other two and your Twitter posts just look either daft, or plain annoying in another platform.
  4. Answer customer questions, complaints and compliments(!) promptly. If you are using a public platform to engage with your customers, then make the most of it. You can sort out a problem quickly and in a friendly manner and turn a complaint into a compliment – all in the public eye. If you don’t respond or are unhelpful, think how many people will find out…
  5. Use it regularly. It doesn’t need to take up loads of your time if you are focused. Remember that this is part of your marketing and it deserves a little investment – just like taking a couple of hours every week for real life networking.
  6. Don’t bombard people! Think about the media and how your customers use it. Again, think about a real life social situation – you don’t want to be that person that everyone avoids because they go on and on and on about themselves! I reckon (and this is purely personal) that for Facebook business pages a couple of updates a week are plenty. LinkedIn is similar. Twitter is very different and you need to be on it 5-10 times a day to really make the most of it.
  7. Add some personality. This is social networking after all! People buy from people. They speak to people, not companies. Without boring everyone with constant tweeting about what you had for lunch, do come across as a real person (and as yourself, don’t fake it). On Facebook and Twitter mix the business advice and useful material with questions and fun stuff.
  8. DON’T SELL! Would you walk in to a party and say, “hello, I’m Julie, do you want to buy a widget?” (please say you wouldn’t!). No, you would chat politely, ask some questions, talk about what you do as well as other things, and only actually offer to sell something if it was appropriate, or if you were asked. Well, this is exactly the same.
  9. Keep your profile, biography and website links up to date and always add a picture. It’s hard to relate to a blank box!
  10. Remember your manners. Help people, answer their questions and always, always say thank you to someone who has helped you.
Using Social Networking for Business
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