There are a lot of great tools available to help run your businesses smoothly. Many of them are free. The challenge around looking at tools isn’t that they are too hard to use, because many applications are very easy to quickly learn. The challenge is knowing how to use it in a way that adds value to your business. I want to talk to you about the Social Media tools you can use in your business that are extremely valuable and can increase your ROI if used appropriate or waste your time if used without Intent.
This could include Facebook, Empire Avenue, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, WordPress, etc. There are thousands to choose from. Every time I turn around someone is inviting me to something new. “Where to start, which ones to use, how much time to spend on it, and how do I evaluate the ROI of my use,” are all really important questions for social media. It is scary to think how much time is actually wasted on these programs when people do not use them with Intent. Here are my top appropriate uses and the ways people waste time with these tools.
- Start where your clients are. Find out which 2 programs are the most used by your clients. Ask your best clients because you want more of them.
- Only focus on one or two programs. It is not necessary to be on every social media application. Do not accept every invitation. It is OK to be focused and intentional on one or two platforms instead of spread thin and not very engaging on six or seven.
- Even if you are not going to actively use LinkedIN I believe it is important to have a professional profile on this platform. I have actually received training engagements through the connects I have made on this platform and I do not use it for my social media activities.
- Create a blog. You can do this, even if you are not a prolific writer. It gets easier and you can start by having a WordPress website that has a blog you post once a month to. I do recommend you post more often than that if you can, but if you cannot then start with something you feel comfortable with that is at least once a month.
- Define how much time you will spend doing your social media marketing and when you will do it. Don’t worry; the world will continue to exist if you are not present for a few hours or a few days online. Be very diligent to stick to your focus or you will not see the ROI you hoped for.
- Use some sort of analytics to help measure the success of your efforts. Some applications have built-in analytics (Empire Avenue, HootSuite, Twitter)and there are lots of third party (outside the program) software applications that can easily be used to measure (like Google Analytics and Klout). You can simply start by keeping track of how many followers you have or how many ‘likes’ you get. This is an indication of influence and ‘influence is the currency of your success online’.
- Don’t just click on to your favourite social media program every time you receive an email that says someone loves you. Either turn off your email so you don’t see these messages or turn off your notification on the program so you don’t get the messages at all. Then you will only see messages when you have scheduled time to do your social media marketing.
- Don’t follow every breadcrumb trail. A single link can take you off course and away from your goal very quickly. Remember what you planned on doing when you got online. I usually plan on reading 3 or 4 good articles and posting them to Facebook. I retweet (RT) several of my favourite twitter people, ‘like’ some great quotes and re-quote some great people. Then I add one of my own links and I’m done. I use Tory Johnson‘s rule of 80% or more giving and sharing of other people’s information and no more than 20% of my own content. It helps build trust and value for your followers.
- Don’t try out every program, application, and game. To use any one of them successfully takes time to learn and even more time to commit to creating and maintaining a valuable presence on that platform. Be consistent and present on one or two applications and leave the rest for your personal time, if that is what you really enjoy doing.
I focus mainly on Twitter and Facebook. I use HootSuite to post to Twitter and to keep track of all my lists. I have recently started using Empire Avenue to increase my influence online and I evaluate my influence using Klout. I have an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn and I have fun on Pinterest in my personal time. There are lots of other programs that catch my attention but I know I cannot fit them into my marketing program so I have learned to keep focused on my marketing goals. It has made my marketing time more valuable and intent filled. It has also given me new clients, which is the ROI we all want to see from our marketing efforts.