SOCIAL MEDIA / NOV. 25, 2013
version 2, draft 2

“Like me, please!” - Is Social Media for Business Promotion a Waste of Time?

You’ve got your website running. You’ve taken your first few orders or attracted your initial clients. However, you still need to get your new business ‘out there’. You’ve distributed flyers and advertised in the local paper. But you need more clients, more customers.

What’s next?

I knowI’ll create some Social Media accounts for my business – that’ll be sure to spread the word!

You set up Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. You start a blog and share every post on Google+. You spend hours endlessly ‘self-promoting’ and even schedule time into your working week to make sure you’re ‘raising your Social Media profile’.

Only, no one seems to notice. You tweet repeatedly about your business, but those who follow you don’t retweet, comment or even ‘favourite’ anything. Worse still, some of them even ‘unfollow’ you!

You relentlessly churn out self-promotional blog posts but get no followers. You post endlessly on your business’s Facebook page and end up begging friends to hit the ‘like’ button – even paying strangers to do so – but none of it brings any business your way.

Eventually you stop tweeting and posting and your Social Media profile flat-lines. Who cares anyway? It was a waste of time!

Is Social Media really a waste of time, or just misused by the masses?

In order to start utilising Social Media in a way that doesn’t suck away your time and depress you, start thinking about the reason it was created in the first place. Facebook and Twitter weren’t built as ‘marketing tools’ – they were just ways for people to connect online. Then someone thought. “Hey, I could use Twitter to get more customers.” From that point on, there was no looking back.

I have a Twitter account that I use for my fiction writing – and have lost count of how many self-published authors spam me; in addition to a ‘thanks for following me, now buy my book’ message, they bombard me on a daily basis. It’s about then that I hit the ‘unfollow’ button. The people I love to follow on Twitter are those who ‘add value’. They post interesting comments; they retweet something thought-provoking or useful; and they interact with others.

Make Social Media mean something.

Instead of using your Facebook, Twitter accounts, or your blog, to constantly self-promote; how about using them to actually help your audience? If you run a sportswear online catalogue – how about posting useful articles about keeping fit and healthy on your blog and Facebook, and tweeting these out? These articles should speak directly to those you want to attract and offer them real advice, not just a thinly disguised sales-pitch. Think about the interests of your target market and build your posts around them.

Don’t focus on getting a thousand ‘likes’ for your Facebook page – instead focus on getting ‘shares’ of the interesting comments and links you post. Make around eighty percent of your posts about subjects outside your business. And remember, once something is published on Social Media, it is out there for the world to see forever. With this in mind, post wisely. Even if you delete it, it’s still out there!

Let’s face it, the world is full of self-promoters.

Sometimes we think that getting up on our soap-box and announcing how great we are is the only way to get noticed. Like when you shout at people, this method might get you a response initially, but it doesn’t take long before potential, and actual, customers get put off by your hard-sell. Instead, adopt a ‘long-haul’ approach. Plan your Social Media strategy. Research and write (or hire someone to do it for you), interesting, informative content to share on Social Media, and keep an eye out for fascinating snippets of information from others in your field that you can retweet or share.

Far from being a waste of time, Social Media can be a useful tool for your business. Rather than using the entire suite of Social Media at our disposal, badly – it’s far better to master two or three. Social Media is about building relationships. If you come across as sincere, you will be seen as an ‘expert’ in your field. You will earn your audience’s respect and trust.

In other words, for best results, use Social Media as it was intended. Only then, will it bring new customers your way.

 

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