The Entrepreneur’s Quick Start Guide to Diving into Social Media

The following is a guest article by Jamie Turner and Reshma Shah, Ph.D., authors of How to Make Money with Social Media.

Remember a good social media campaign is executed with long-term goals in mind, but we all have to start somewhere. As an entrepreneur short on time and money, try these short, quick hits to get your hands dirty before you move on to bigger things.

Step 1: Define your goals. Are you interested in driving traffic to your e-commerce site? Or are you interested in generating leads for your professional services business? Or perhaps you’re interested in only building awareness for your organization? Figure all that out and then you’re ready to move to Step 2.

Step 2: Get inside the mind of your customers and prospects. Don’t launch any social media campaign without first thinking through why your customers and prospects are interested in connecting with you. What’s in it for them? How is connecting with you in their best interest? What will they learn by connecting with you?

Step 3: Focus your initial energies on a handful of platforms. Start by putting a company profile on LinkedIn. Then create a Fan Page on Facebook. Follow that by creating a Twitter account. But do not do any of these things unless you will put some serious effort behind it. Don’t create a Twitter account and ignore it – that’s a waste of everybody’s time.

Step 4: Drive people to your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter channels. Remember, a social media channel is similar to a television channel, it’s your specific connection to your “viewers”. If you’re going to drive people to your channels, make sure they have a reason to go there. Will they be able to get helpful information or a white paper? Will they be able to participate in a sweepstakes or a promotion? Will they be directed to a blog post that helps them in some way?

Step 5: Repeat Step 4. We’re serious. Don’t move on until you’ve repeated Step 4 and spent a good amount of energy driving people to your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter channels.

Step 6: Upload content regularly. Now that you’ve driven an initial batch of people to your newly uploaded channels, you need to continuously update them with new and interesting information. Remember, your goal is to build a long-term relationship with your customers and prospects, so be sure to upload information that answers the “What’s in it for me?” question.

Step 7: Keep your initial channels running while you explore other platforms. Don’t move to other social networking channels until the first batch is running smoothly and you are continuously updating them. After that happens, you can shift gears and start exploring some of the other platforms that help you network. Remember, the key is to build (or rebuild) relationships with people before you start doing the hard sell. But when the relationship is established, you can say, “Did I mention that I sell insurance?” “Have you seen our new e-commerce site that sells premium coffee?”

Now you’ve planted your business-development seeds, begin the harvest!

Jamie Turner is Chief Content Officer for The 60 Second Marketer, an online magazine providing resources for marketers and entrepreneurs. For 20+ years, he has helped firms like AT+T, Cartoon Network, CNN, Motorola, and Coca-Cola grow sales and revenue through high-impact marketing. A frequent media guest and speaker, he was recently profiled in Advertising and Promotion, a leading marketing text. Reshma Shah, Ph.D., Asst. Professor of Marketing at Emory’s Goizueta Business School, has worked in procurement for IBM, litigation consulting for Price Waterhouse, strategic planning for Unilever, and account management for Leo Burnett.

Adapted from HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH SOCIAL MEDIA: An Insider’s Guide on Using New and Emerging Media to Grow Your Business by Jamie Turner and Reshma Shah, Ph.D. Copyright 2011. Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as FT Press. All rights reserved.

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