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Jump Start Your Business With Social Media
Sponsored by Verisign
By Brian Moran
As an adviser to business owners and entrepreneurs, I am often asked about the importance of social media. From my experience, it appears that many companies still don’t understand or appreciate the significant role that social media can play in helping a business achieve its goals. Here are five of the most common questions I encounter regarding social media and my answers:
- What is Social Media? In a nutshell, social media is a set of online tools that provides platforms for people to communicate and share content around the world. It has been a catalyst of change for how people communicate. Today, it’s just as easy to connect with someone online in India as it is in Indiana.
- Should My Business Use Social Media? Yes! In business, social media is a means to an end. Every business should have a strategic goal for 2016 (e.g. $500k in revenue). In addition, there should be an operational plan to achieve the strategic goal. I call the operational plan a “GPS plan” because, ideally, if you’ve entered your goals or objectives correctly, and follow the plan, you should never get lost on the way to achieving your goal. Social media needs to be part of your GPS plan. Every time you go on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., you should ask “How is this helping my company get closer to our strategic goal?”
Two Suggestions: Apply the 2/3 vs. 1/3 rule to social media messages. For every social media message you send out, do two things that support the people with whom you are engaging. For example, retweet a customer’s tweet or like a prospect’s Facebook post. Remember, social media is a dialogue, not a monologue. The second suggestion is to chart your progress. Set up an excel report that tracks your monthly tweets, followers and people you are following on Twitter. Do the same for Facebook (# of likes on your page), Instagram, and any other social media account you are using for business. At the end of every month, review the work you have done in social media. Also, make note of any wins (e.g. new customers) or breakthroughs you’ve had in business via social media.
- What if My Company Doesn’t Have a Website? Small business owners using social media should direct the conversation with prospects somewhere. Used properly, social media is a means to an end. However, if you have a business presence on social media, don’t forget to register a .com or .net domain name. You can redirect your domain name to your social media page, allowing your social media page to act as a business website until you are ready to build your website. When a customer types in your web address, it will take them directly to your Facebook page or any other social media page. According to Verisign, having your own web address makes it easy to tell people where to find you online. And, if you want to create a website in the future, you already have a great web address that your customers know.
- Any Final Words of Wisdom Before I Take the Plunge? Yes, here are five things to remember as you go forward using social media in business.
- Have a GPS Plan for Social Media. How will it help you build your business and allow you to achieve your strategic goal?
- Start Slowly. Be committed to making social media an integral part of your business. From my experience, it’s how your customers and prospects prefer to communicate. Embrace it!
- Be Consistent. If you let two weeks pass between tweets, your customers and prospects may leave and not return. You may lose the dialogue that you had with them.
- Regularly Review and Update. Social Media is a work-in-progress. It is constantly evolving and changing. Be sure to set up monthly meetings to review your social platforms with your team.
- Track the Wins. Once you have success using social media, you won’t need blog posts like this one to convince you that it works.
The content of this article reflects my own views and opinions, and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Verisign.