Social Media for Business: Get Going

Once a business has decided to get started using social media as part of their marketing, networking, and customer service plan, then it’s time to get set-up and get going.

We start by collecting the necessary information to create an online presence for the company and the individuals involved. We use this information to establish their social media profiles.

Here is some of the information that is needed to establish useful social media profiles;

  • Usernames – secure your business name early, choose something memorable
  • Passwords – think about security, include numbers and letters
  • Logos and Images – think about brand recognition and visibility
  • Education and Employment details – by sharing history you help build your credibility
  • Specialties and expertise – these can often be key words for search engines
  • Website links – any time possible include a link back to your website or blog
  • Mobile connection – use your phone as a means to connect and respond while on the go

Once profiles are established, it time to start using them!

  1. Connect – Search for classmates, coworkers, clients, family, and friends. Facebook is a great place to find out about personal life changes and updates. Twitter is a great place to find people that you don’t know who share similar interests. LinkedIn is a great source of professional information and updates on people that you network with and refer.
  2. Post – Share topics related to your interests/business and the interests of your target market. Topics related to a current event or holiday can be highly effective on Twitter.
  3. Invite – Create online invitations to events that you are hosting, and share links to events that you are attending. Events on LinkedIn and Facebook allow attendees to see who else is attending and comment on the event before, during, and after. Twitter hash tags and location applications can also be useful in event promotion.
  4. Pictures/Videos – A picture is worth a thousand words, and people are much more likely to view images than read text, so share pictures and videos of you and your company in action. A Facebook business page is a great place to share (appropriate) photos of the company Holiday party.
  5. Consistency – Post often in order to stay top of mind and remain current, consider posting at least weekly. Also, always respond to comments and questions as soon as possible.
  6. Integration– Include social media widgets and sharing icons on your website, blog, and newsletter. If you make it easy for a current or potential client to share your blog or newsletter and connect with you online, then the chances of it happening are higher.

For more information about social media and to get help using social media in your business (including tutorials), contact Kathrine Farris at Office Solutions ME.

Social Media for Business: Get Set

Who? What? When? Where? How?

Once you’ve decided to get started, how do you proceed? What’s the plan for using social media in your business?

  1. Who? Who will be responsible for accessing and maintaining your social media profiles? Will it be one person or a team of many? Ideally, the owner or CEO of a company needs to be involved, and the person or people that interact with the customers should at least have some input.
  2. What? What will your content be? What topics will your business focus on sharing and promoting? Some areas of focus can include; an upcoming event, sharing information, or a product or service.
  3. When? When are the best times of the day/week to update your status, how often will you post new content, and how much time will you spend? This requires some knowledge and research of your target market, to determine when your efforts will be most effective.
  4. Where? Where will you share your message? Some of your choices include; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Foursquare, Pinerest, Digg,and Flickr?
  5. How? How will you measure your success and return on investment? Some measurable goals include; increased website traffic, user comments, newsletter subscriptions, and increased followers. Although, you may never know the full reach of social media in helping to build your brand and encouraging referrals.

At the end of the day, Social Media Networking is about building relationships, branding, and awareness. Here are a few ways to accomplish this;

  • Having conversations – Search for other users that have similar interests or are having meaningful conversations (based on your focus) and join in. Or start a conversation with a status update or posting to a group.
  • Answering Questions – Use social media to give advice in your areas of expertise and build your credibility as an expert, but be careful not to self promote too often
  • Asking Questions – Use social media to ask for advice, and then respond to the advise that is given, letting others know the outcome
  • Meeting People – Online introductions can easily become real face to face interactions. Facebook Maine and Maine TweetUp are two groups that help facilitate this very phenomenon.

For more information about social media and to get help using social media in your business, contact Kathrine Farris at Office Solutions ME.

Social Media for Business: Get Ready

Why should I use social media for my business? How can I use social media for my business?

When approached by a business owner that has never used social media, the following questions are a great place to start;

  1. What is your reason for using social media? Here are some great reasons;
    1. Brand Building – using Facebook Business pages, Twitter, and YouTube, a business can share their image and their story with anyone and everyone
    2. Relationship Building – using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, a business (and its staff) can start conversations with current and potential clients or persons of influence, this will strengthen relationships
    3. Sharing Expertise – LinkedIn Answers & Groups, a Blog, Facebook, and Twitter are all great places to share your knowledge and position you or your business as the expert in your field
  2. What are your goals? Here are some great goals;
    1. Increase website traffic – by including links back to your website or blog in your posts and updates, you will increase your traffic
    2. Increase Sales – by build relationships & sharing your expertise, people will begin to trust you and come to you when they need to buy
    3. Increase followers – by be interesting, authentic, and transparent, you will attract people who have similar interests or need your help
  3. Who is your target market? Here are some things to consider when thinking about your target;
    1. Businesses vs. Consumers – Twitter and Facebook business pages allow you to connect with people that you haven’t met yet, where LinkedIn and Facebook personal pages require some level of acknowledgement
    2. Professionals vs. Families – LinkedIn allows professionals to share, review, and recommend each other based on specialties and experience, while Facebook is about sharing your personal life with ‘friends’
    3. Local vs. International – LinkedIn and Facebook have groups that allow users to talk with other users about a similar interest regardless of geographic location, however the premise of some groups are the location itself (for example; Maine Entrepreneurs, Facebook Maine, etc…)

These questions help to determine the social media sites and services that are most appropriate the business, and they get the business owner thinking about social media as another networking avenue to be incorporated it into their marketing plan.

For more information about social media and to get help using social media in your business, contact Kathrine Farris at Office Solutions ME.

5 Best Features of LinkedIn

LinkedInLinkedIn is designed for business networking and sharing. This makes LinkedIn a very different type of Social Media platform from sites like Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn allows professionals to connect and interact on a professional level.

Some of the best features of LinkedIn include;

  1. Resume – LinkedIn is a great way to show off your experience and education! Not to mention any awards you may have received or associations that you may belong to.
  2. Recommendations – LinkedIn allows people to post public recommendations for you and your services. These recommendations are specific to a company or position and can be of great value to your profile.
  3. Groups – LinkedIn groups are a great way to associate you with others in your field or geographic area. Groups are also a great source of information and networking.
  4. Events – Linked In allows you to publicize events to your network and collect RSVPs. It also allows you to search for local events and events that others may be attending.
  5. Links – LinkedIn allows you to publicize links to websites and twitter accounts at the top of your profile. In addition, LinkedIn has applications that allow you to link to other sites, such as word press, drop box, Slide Share, and more.

For tips and suggestions on how to best use and establish a LinkedIn profile, contact Office Solutions ME for a personalized consultation and tutorial.

Also feel free to view my LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn profile of Kathrine Farris

Social Media for Maine Business

We have been using social media to help promote Maine events, educate about the usefulness of virtual assistants, share information, and meet people for over a year now and have found it to be quite successful! However, there are key elements to utilizing Social Media in the state of Maine… follow-up, consistency, quality, and meeting in person!

  1. Follow-up – Make sure you respond to inquiries, comments, and new connections in a timely manner. Don’t leave people hanging. (Smart phones are a huge help with this)
  2. Social MediaConsistency – Don’t give up. It’s about building awareness, and relationships that doesn’t happen in a month or two. (The definition of consistency can vary from site to site)
  3. Quality – Think of the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”… don’t post items that you wouldn’t read yourself, and consider reposting news and information that would help others.
  4. Off-Line Networking – Mainers (in general) still want to meet you! They still want to sit and have a cup of coffee, and get to know you as a person, before they will do business with you, or suggest that anyone else does.

The most value that we have gotten from Social Media is the opportunity to meet and connect with more people, more quickly. Social media is a great platform for sharing news and information. But, when our followers and connections recognize us at local networking events, it’s an invaluable advantage. With that being said, it’s helpful to use an avatar (picture) that actually looks like you!

If you would like to find out about local networking events, visit our Maine Networking Calendar!

If you would like more suggestions or help setting up your social media profiles, contact us!

If you have your own comments or suggestions for others, please post!

App of Month – TweetDeck

Our Smart Phone Application review for the Month of July:TweetDeck iPhone App

TweetDeck – TweetDeck is a social media application for Twitter

Why we like TweetDeck ?

  1. It allows the user to update and manage multiple social media sites and profiles simultaneously.
  2. It allows the user to arrange information from different profiles, topics, and sources into easily viewed columns.
  3. It makes it easy to add pictures and videos to your social media sites.
  4. It makes it easy to ReTweet or Reply in Twitter, follow, and also monitor what’s said about or to you or your business.
  5. It notifies us of how many new messages we have in column.

What’s it missing?

  1. The ability to delay posts.
  2. The ability to view (retweet, reply, etc…) to posts that are not in a column (i.e. when viewing someones profile)

Cost: Free

Need help learning how to use TweetDeck or any other Smart Phone Applications? Please Contact Office Solutions ME .

Twitter Basics

What is Twitter? 

Twitter is an online social media site. It’s a place to share information. It’s a way to find information. Twitter is a place to ‘meet’ and connect with people of similar interests and potential clients. It’s a way to ‘listen’ and ask what people think. And best of all, it’s FREE! 

Twitter

Twitter Home on the Web

 

A Tweet is a message typed and sent out on Twitter. Tweets are seen by everyone who is following you. Tweets can only be 140 characters, and should be shorter for easy ReTweeting. Tweets can be about anything you find interesting or informational.   

Tweeting on the Web

Tweeting on the Web

 

Followers are people on Twitter who see your Tweets, they have chosen to follow you. A list of your followers is on your profile. It is usually a good practice to follow people who follow you. 

Twitter Followers

Twitter Followers

 

Following someone on Twitter allows you to see their Tweets and Direct Message them. A list of who you are following is on your profile. 

Twitter Following

Twitter Following

 

A Direct Message is a Tweet that is only seen by the recipient. Someone has to be following you in order to Direct Message them. Direct messages are a great way to ask someone a specific question or personally thank them for following you. 

Twitter Direct Messages

Twitter Direct Messages

 

A ReTweet, is when you forward someone else’s Tweet to all of your followers. A ReTweet contains RT and original senders name (or handle) shown with an ‘@’ symbol (i.e. RT @OfficeSME). This is a great way to increase the number of people that see your Tweets. This is also a great way to share information that you find interesting with your followers. 

Twitter ReTweets

Twitter ReTweets

 

Hash tags help to organize Tweets of similar content. Hash Tags are shown as a number (#) sign followed by the topic (i.e. #Maine, #Cars, etc.). Hash Tags are helpful in getting Tweets to appear in search results.   

Twitter Hash Tags

Twitter Hash Tags

 

There are many different 2nd party sites that allow users to Tweet and organize Tweets and followers. Tweets include a ‘from’ line at the end, this indicates the platform used (i.e. web, Tweetdeck, etc.). Each site has its own advantages and disadvantages.   

Twitter Platforms

Twitter Platforms

 

You can organize who you are following into categories called lists. You can set up custom categories to organize your following. People that are following you can add you to a list that they have created. People can see the lists that you are added to. People can follow entire lists.  

Symbol/Abbreviation Recap
Because Tweets are limited to 140 characters, symbols and abbreviations are important. 

  • @ – Seen before a Twitter user name or handle
  • # – Hash Tag
  • RT – ReTweet
  • DM – Direct Message

Get started on Twitter, www.Twitter.com

  1. Choose a user name and password
  2. Create a profile that tells about you and/or your business
  3. Upload a picture or logo
  4. Start Tweeting and Following

Follow me on Twitter by going to http://www.Twitter.com/OfficeSME or search for @OfficeSME.
Happy Tweeting! 

Need a personal tutorial and/or help with set-up?