Another week and another post from me. Social Media is really my area of expertise, so for the foreseeable future from me, I am going to really try and connect with you all and focus my blog posts on this one area.
An area that covers a multitude of sins however, there is absolutely LOADS that falls under the Social Media hat, which actually links really well with today’s post – something I spend a lot of time talking to people about.
Where Do I Need To Be?
Before I get into the swing of this post, I want to say, whilst this will only take a few minutes to read, the actual process itself can take a lot longer (in some cases 4-6 weeks isn’t unreasonable) knowing where you need to be on social media platforms is actually a lot more involved that you would initially think (most people’s kneejerk reaction is “everywhere”)
Believe me, there is absolutely NO point in just signing up to all the sites (off the top of my head) Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, Bebo, MySpace, Foursquare, EBlogger, Google+, YouTube: Could you imagine trying to successfully manage all those accounts AND get the most out of them?!
There is a process each and every one of us should go through to decide which is right for us. Let me explain this to you by talking you through how I started using social media to promote my business.
My offline (family) business is in Print & Graphic design and I wanted raise our brand awareness, show people the services we offer, our expertise on problems people might be having with design issues or just generally understanding the importance of printed marketing materials for their business.
I started off by looking at where my market is by searching Google, Facebook, Twitter Search, YouTube and niche specific forums to discover and investigate my target audience, I was hanging out with people interested in print, who knew about print and more importantly who were buying print. LinkedIn also proved to be a great tool, as there were so many groups with active discussion boards in my niche, and there were a lot of geographically local groups I could join where people were connecting, offering services, talking about services.
I then studied what our competitors were doing – on their corporate websites and their social networks, this is a great tool as I got to see what was and wasn’t working for them. I was getting actively involved in the networks / circles they were a part of (because let’s face it, people in them were potential customers for me) and believe it or not, I even started to ask people questions (if you don’t ask you don’t get, right?!)
It was by doing these 2 simple tasks over a period of a few weeks, interacting with my target audience I was beginning to see EXACTLY what I needed to do in order to become a go-to person in the print and design area. The other really clear thing was that I didn’t need to be active on every single social networking site in existence.
By monitoring the above mentioned areas I started with you get a feel and quickly where your target market is most active. By a simple process of elimination with the Market research I’ve carried out I knew I needed to be active on:
Facebook: I needed to start a page, where I can upload content, showcase work, post of exclusive offers, run giveaway competitions and get my friends to help me with viral promotion. Invite questions, comments and post links to articles and blog posts related to print and design that other people would find of value
Twitter: For the sheer fact I could search in real-time incidentally enough Twitter is where I had my first ‘sale’ through social media marketing and I continue to this day in making connections and getting new clients just by conversing 140 characters at a time! Posting links, offering referrals, re-tweeting BEING HELPFUL!
LinkedIn: Because I can connect with industry professionals who can be of help to me, who have more expertise than me, who I can learn more from. And in turn I can build up a strong network of contacts with more detail than I can with twitter and Facebook. The power of the LinkedIn discussion boards is phenomenal. (I highly recommend you look at one in your subject area / niche – it’s like a load of experts in one place offering real inside information and opinions)
Now whilst I appreciate I’ve discussed an offline business here, I also carry out the exact same procedure with my online (this) business. There is so much expert help out there, and there are so many people who are in need of useful help and guidance that I am always carrying out on-going market research to make sure bizzebee are engaging with people in the best places online to carry on being of VALUE.
Whatever your niche / subject area, you can do exactly what I did above to make sure you connect with the right people on the right social networks! There may not be a ‘One Size Fits All’ strategy but believe me if you look hard enough you will find your unique way of sharing and connecting your content with your audience!
Our Bizzebee Hive is an excellent portal for those people who often sit there wondering “where do I need to be?” There are MANY guides and training materials to help you understand your online marketing journey, have you had a chance to check it out yet?
Clair – aka Queen Bee 🙂