Social media has completely changed the face of the Internet. The social network has introduced a paradigm shift in how we interact with each other online. Services like Facebook act less as a website but more as an intranet all on its own, with many people simply getting all of their entertainment, like videos, pictures, and music, by using Facebook’s robust multimedia capabilities.
Facebook’s astounding one billion user base is approximately one-seventh of the entire global population, which gives it tremendous leverage when it comes to consumption of what the Internet has to offer. Twitter, meanwhile, has become the primary way through which Internet users get their news, subverting even online news outlets. It’s why corporations and institutions have themselves taken to Twitter for their PR and information dissemination needs.
As an entrepreneur, you need to get into this action. Social media is one of the most effective ways for you to reach out to your prospective audience, allowing you to cultivate and maintain an ongoing conversation with your most ardent followers.
That said, wading into the deep waters of social networking may be overwhelming for the uninitiated. That’s what we’re here for—to let you know the most important things before you begin to use social media.
1. Put out simple, yet quality, content.
Your experience with social media in the personal sphere might be a lot of informal communications. However, this should not be the case in your efforts as a representative of your business. Your tone should be friendly and conversational, sure, but you must maintain a professional attitude at all times.
Social media’s being online does not mean that standards of quality are lowered. Make sure that everything you say is something that you can take responsibility for and are proud of—social media has an incredibly wide reach, so double down on your quality control.
2. Be open and engaging.
Social media is, well, social. Its very nature encourages an atmosphere of interaction and conversation. Every post you make will give your readers and followers an opportunity to respond to you directly, so make sure to let them know you are listening.
Pick the best comments and call them out, directly addressing their concerns. Cultivate the notion that your business is one that is not above the people, and that your customers (potential or extant) are at the forefront of your concerns. Use this avenue to invite criticism as well, showing your audience that you are truly dedicated.
3. Build your brand and business visually.
Do you have a distinct color scheme? A memorable logo? Unique type of faces that you use in your marketing collaterals? Social media allows you to retain this brand identity throughout different platforms.
Twitter and Facebook both have custom avatars in which you can put your corporate logo. Facebook has a cover photo that you can utilize to create a distinctive image for your audience to remember, and Twitter’s background image functionality will let you use a modified version of this image as well. Branding is a sure-fire combination with Social Media. You can also use it for other marketing methods for high success.
4. Share content.
This is probably where social media is king. Because of its networked nature, one share with any person can lead to exponential growth, so even if you only have 300 followers, if they all pay it forward and share your stuff, then that can multiply many times over. When something you make goes viral, use that exposure to your advantage.
5. Focus on your niche.
Despite the expansive reach of social media and its ability to communicate with millions and millions of people, it’s extremely effective for smaller communities as well. If you are overly general, you might be lost in the crowd. But if you specialize in a certain area, your expertise may be considered valuable. Own your field, and those who are interested will come to you.
One key thing to always keep in mind is that social media is a dynamic platform, and the Internet changes constantly. Take these tips to heart and you’ll be fully equipped to start using social media for your business.
Vincent Sevilla is a marketing consultant for Affilorama.com, an affiliate marketing portal which offers affiliate marketing tools and free affiliate marketing lessons.