What You Can’t Do With Social Media
It usually takes only a brief look at the social media accounts of people who claim to need social media activity for business, but who aren’t having any success with it, to see why so many business don’t get much traction despite all their social media efforts. Basically they’re doing it all wrong. So many businesses commit all the worst social media mistakes of all without realizing that they’re actively sabotaging their online presence. So let’s set out to begin with what you cannot do with social media. You cannot sell directly! This means posting direct ads for whatever it is you sell in your Facebook stream or on Twitter, or worse, actually telling people they should buy. If you’re trying to do that then you’re making the biggest social media mistake of all. You won’t sell a thing and you’ll be actively driving people away. Stop it now! You can do the following things with social media:
- Build Your Brand
Let’s tackle them in that order. If you’re failing to use social media to learn how to do business better, and to make more money, then you’re missing the point.
Learning without Social Media Mistakes
The biggest mistake that keeps you from learning on Social Media is spending all your time on the wrong Channels. If it’s knowledge you’re after, Twitter and Quora are the best learning tools of all. It’s not at all hard to learn with social media. First, you need to locate the people you want to learn from. Let’s say you’d like to learn some new business tips. You could spend three weeks trawling aimlessly through Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.
But if you have a plan it probably won’t take you three weeks to find some really great people to learn from on Twitter. If you have no idea who you should follow or learn from, try going to Amazon and do a search for your niche. You should have at least a handful of authors who will be sharing information that’s targeting to you.
When we do client demonstrations, or set up accounts for them, it usually takes about half an hour to hook them up with great people they can network with and learn from–all from doing carefully-worded Twitter searches. You can tell almost at a glance if you’ll learn from someone on Twitter; do they have a significant following? Are their most recent Tweets of interest to you, with links that you’d love to click on? All you need to do is click follow to receive a stream of enlightening information.
What’s even better about Twitter is that if you do it with a little care, you can usually ask questions directly of you chosen expert. What’s even better than that? Not only will they probably give you an answer, but many others who network with them will weigh-in too. What could be better? OR: you can sign up with one of the applications that measure the reach of individual social media accounts. Klout comes to mind here, but there are more, such as Hootesuite, and PeerIndex. It’s easy to identify who you should be following using an application such as Klout, and you can select whether to follow them just on certain platforms, or to see what they do across all the major social media sites.
How to Network with Social Media
Nothing is easier than networking with social media. It’s what social media is for, after all. But it’s also very easy to do it wrong. So what social media mistakes could cause you to be unfollowed or shunned? There are countless people getting unfollowed on Twitter because they’re boring, or because they irritate the heck out of the very people they should be forging a relationship with. I’ve said it before elsewhere, but it bears repetition: People follow you because they want to gain something from the relationship, so make sure they get that. Try and put yourself in their shoes. Ask what you’d be looking for if you hooked up withe someone like yourself. Add Value to the conversation! If you follow someone to learn, don’t make a nuisance of yourself. Be respectful of their views and their time. If you don’t like what they say–move on. Don’t make a scene.
Building Your Brand with Social Media
All of the points you just read in How to Network with Social Media also apply here. Monitor your success (or failure) at every turn. But don’t try to plan or strategize your social media activity too much. Allow for the unexpected. Bring serendipity into the equation. Wherever an opportunity to help out comes along, grab it. Because helping out and adding value are simply the best ways to build your brand via social media. Finally, are you measuring your social media activity for effectiveness? This is a huge failure and one of the worst social media mistakes if you’re not. How can you know if you’re making progress? Search Engine Watch has a great list of tools so you can measure your social media activity and reach. Simple questions to ask are:
- Can you point to instances where you’ve had a mutually beneficial engagement?
- Is your follower list growing?
- Do you regularly find new people to follow or engage with?
You don’t need to spend a great deal of time on social media to make it worthwhile, but you do need to be attentive to the quality of your time on social media.
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