The big duo in social media is Facebook and Twitter. But how do you parlay your personal Facebook account where you store your vacation picks - and make this an industry changing social media play?
First - you need a second Facebook account - with your business name, not your personal one. Second - fill it out with the base business info and categorize yourself properly. Then you want to create a page or Fan page. This is the address you will use when you link your Facebook logo on your website and is accessible by even people who are not registered with Facebook.
So - you can't use your vacation pictures so what are you putting on the page to make it compelling. Start with pictures of your business or service in action. People's comfort levels are extremely high when they can see the business up the street on Facebook. Showing your recent promotion, car wash or charity event will get you some social media juice.
So what is happening with the Twitter account at the same time? Your Twitter feed will be used to help drive traffic to both your Facebook postings and your website.
So post photos of your recent charity event - and then copy the link to the photo album and paste this into your Twitter feed with a brief description of the event. Most importantly - and underline and hit this with a yellow highlighter - use the relevant #hash tags. What is critical about using these is it gets your tweet streaming into other people's feeds that are following similar topics. I use the Twitter App - Tweetdeck - (free to download) and using the search terms I follow any tweets about Newmarket, York Region and local marketing and communications trends. By using the hash tag #Newmarket - hundreds of people who have that as one of their search terms for following local trends will now see your tweet.
So you do this - where is all the business. Slow down Chester - you need to build your audience and the people that follow you - and trust me - this could take a while. That doesn't mean it is not worth doing - but do not look at Twitter and Facebook as a quick solution to getting new customers. They are just a tool like newspaper advertising or buying a yellow pages ad. The upside is all it costs is sweat equity. The downside is like a garden - it requires constant attention, weeding, watering and looking out for pests.
Explaining the metaphor a bit more - weeding- finding relevant results on the Twitter Feed - in amongst all the spam, retweets - geographic confusions (Newmarket, England, New Zealand, Ireland all trend with Newmarket as a search term.) . Watering is putting relevant tweets up about your business or about the community. If you spot an announcement about the Santa Claus parade taking place at the weekend - you look like a good corporate citizen spreading the word about the parade. Re-Tweeting other people's local tweets can get you juice - but don't just parrot anything you see - it has to make sense. Finally weeding - eliminating the spammers from your life. If you follow a person from an interesting post but all their subsequent posts are irrelevant and spam like - un-follow that person.
Back to Facebook - make sure you are promoting your Facebook page (and Twitter account) on your website, any printed material and at your place of business. If you are a retailer - even have giveaways for people who Like your page - it is a way to get people to see your page - but more importantly it now has your Facebook posts showing up in their newsfeed. Then all that person's friends also see that information about your new sale that takes place this weekend. Get enough people doing this - and the relevance of social media starts to take shape.
There is a lot to cover but here is a great article form Brian Solis - with some tips on engaging a new audience.
Four C Communications provides complete social media integration along with good looking, simple to use websites. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to have us audit your site and offer up some free changes.
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Next week - using Facebook Ads to drive local business!