I don’t need to tell you how important social media is for your business — there’s just way too much data out there to convince you and I don’t have to repeat myself.
But sadly, entrepreneurs don’t really use social media to its real potential. Facebook becomes the “idle joe’s channel”. Twitter becomes a way to quickly parse through some interesting content (whatever tickles you) or it also becomes a way to express your opinions on celebs or a chance for you to jump at trending news.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn is as passive as television is — you keep yourself abreast of who gets promoted where or what some of your professional contacts are up to.
Agreed that that’s how social media evolved, but there’s just so much more social media is capable of.
Here are a few important ways to use social media to help grow your business or provide some value to you:
Use social to bring in relevant traffic
You know this already, but it’s important. So, we’ll let it sink in. Use a combination of all your social accounts — putting up the kind of format that each network demands (meaning that images do well on Pinterest and Instagram; your blog posts get traction on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook) — to get some traffic back to your own website.
When a few members of your social networks click on those posts or other content you share, they come back to visit you.
Plus, you can also use tools like Snip.ly to get traffic to specific calls to action (using which you can send traffic to either pages of your website, landing pages with offers, or wherever you please).
Your social media accounts can be at work 24 x 7, with timed and regular updates going out throughout the day (hint: use Buffer or Hootsuite).
Small talk is profitable
All of that content on Social media isn’t meant to be consumed (like you’d with a newspaper or a magazine). You are supposed to consume content, yes. But you also supposed to dig a little deeper while casting the net ever so wide to find out who those real people are behind all the content.
Mentions, interactions, small talk, conversations that flow back and forth, acquaintances, friendships, and professional relationships — these bring value to your social presence (apart from the obvious traffic, which is again people).
Maintain those micro-interactions, acquaintances, friendships, and whatever happens on your social networks. This is your new-age ability to get as personal as you can get with a global network of existing customers, potential customers, evangelists, investors, vendors, and even future hires.
Influence. One Update at a time
Most followers and fans on your social networks are passive — meaning that they just sit there and let your content stream through their feeds. While you might have liked it if your social following was more active, but then, you ask for a lot.
Your social following has low attention span. This doesn’t mean “no attention” at all.
Social followers and fans might be passive (or active), but they are listening. They are tuned in. They see their tweets, log into LinkedIn, drift on Pinterest, and scroll through their Instagram feeds. Of course, they check their Facebook accounts too.
As they listen and while they stay tuned in, you have your chance to influence them. As a business or a brand, you are an influencer. You are supposed to be good at what you do, and you’ll do great when you are voice that your social following wants to hear when it comes to the topic that your business relates to.
See how each of these companies (each in a different industry) influence their respective social following with content, authority, and love.
Real-time networking: Go deep & wide
While you are on social media, don’t lose the opportunity of getting to know people. Go out there and click on those who follow you, talk to you, share your content, and mention you. Find out who they really are by clicking on their social handles and getting to really know them.
Handles are fine, but what are their names?
What’s their business? What do they do? What are they good at?
What do they write about? Why do they write about what they write about?
What kind of things are “they” passionate about? What tickles them?
Find out as much information as you possibly can, and then get in touch with them — not for a crappy link. Not because you want something from them, and certainly not because you want them to buy from you.
Do it because the world needs to listen to you, because you mean well for them, and because you care.
Social media isn’t the newspaper; it’s not a magazine. It’s an opportunity for you to connect.
The question is: are you connecting enough? Are you giving the world a tickle?