Looking back on 2008, one of the best decisions I’ve made in regards to starting Melissa Dobson PR & Marketing, was to jump in and engage in social media. Initially skeptical, it didn’t take long for me to realize just how powerful some of the platforms can be for establishing a brand presence. Although informal and personal in nature, there are a few key things to keep in mind before engaging.
Contribute to the discussion by providing resources or links to relevant articles
Think of your target audience and what their needs are. The key here is to contribute and add value to the conversation, don’t simply tout your business or blog. You will establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry and establish trust and credibility. A book I read earlier this year and highly recommend that ingrained this approach in me is Michael Port’s “Book Yourself Solid.” Although written as a small business marketing system, some of the basic tenets of the book ring true in many situations. Michael recommends that you focus on giving first and building relationships long before you have a proposition.
Be mindful of keeping a balance between personal and business posts
The strength of social media platforms is in the human factor. Yes, we’ll want to hear about your latest business ventures and offerings, but we won’t care until we get to know you. Be yourself, talk about what’s on your mind, post pictures and videos that show your outside interests. In doing so, you’ll attract social media friends and possibly business from like-minded people who connect with you. And as Adam Urbanski teaches in his social media seminars for entrepreneurs, the key to success is to build relationships, educate and entertain. He also recommends that you create your own personality or flavor and connect. People engage with people that they know, like and trust. The way to establish yourself on networks like Twitter and Facebook is to share some of yourself and keep the business-oriented posts to a small ratio of your overall updates. This may seem counterproductive, but in my experience, it isn’t. I’ve seen well-intentioned people turn their followers off by only showing their business faces. If you’re uncomfortable with this approach, search for some of the people in your industry or a related industry that you admire and respect. Take a look at their social media interactions. Use your best judgment and carefully consider what you post because with each update, you’re establishing a brand identity.
Don’t forget to have fun
Social media is a fun way to engage with your friends, prospects and colleagues. For those of us who work from a home office, it creates a virtual community to tap into for ideas and feedback and is a great way to keep on top of the latest news in your industry and showcase your abilities.