The goal for any business person jumping into social media marketing is not to add friends and swap stories and pictures, but rather, to make new business connections.
As soon as you start networking, you increase your chances of reaching new customers. However, be prepared to work at it. Here I’ll give you some simple but effective tips for the three big ones, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, to help you reach new customers, promote your business and drive traffic to your website.
1. Complete your profile
Your profile information may be indexed by search engines. LinkedIn profiles receive a pretty high rank in Google. So instead of using the default URL, customise your own by using your company’s name or use keyword-rich terms that describe your web design business.
2. Use the search feature
One of the most effective things you can do is to use the search feature.
Search for web design groups and join them. Search for the people that are important to your industry (influencers) and ask to connect with them. Search for your competition to keep tabs on what they are up to.
3. Join design groups
Join as many design groups as you can and start commenting and posting. There’s a section just for answering questions. Use it to make yourself indispensible. Post helpful answers or pose interesting questions and over time you’ll develop a reputation for knowing your stuff.
4. Use apps and features
Use Creative Portfolio Display (opens in new tab) to showcase your portfolio. Go to the LinkedIn Applications (opens in new tab) page for more ideas.
5. Facilitate introductions
You can ask people you already know to introduce you to someone you’d like to know. This increases your credibility and improves your chances of getting connected to influencers.
6. Show recommendations
Ask people you’ve done business with to recommend your services or products.
Twitter is a powerful micro-blogging platform. If you know how the community works, you can leverage your marketing power.
7. Complete your profile
Fill in all the fields (both required and optional) and include your website URL. You can also personalise your Twitter page to match your company’s branding. Be creative.
8. Understand the dynamics of Twitter
Twitter is a social tool, not a classifieds site. These are some tips that will help you to get followers:
- Don’t spam others about your specials
- Follow other users
- Be active in the community (tweet and post comments about others’ tweets often)
- Only post useful and relevant information
- Don’t tweet every 5 minutes. It becomes annoying
- Engage in conversations. Retweet (reply to others’ tweets) often
- Don’t promote your company directly. Just be helpful. Tweet useful information, such as great web design tips
- Don’t overuse hashtags
9. Build your followers base
There are many things that you can do to build your followers base:
- Every time you post on your blog, invite people to follow you on Twitter
- Search for Twitter users whose followers base you would love to have for yourself. See who is following them and follow those users. They will follow you back
- See who is following your friends and follow them
- There are Twitter directories like Twellow to find members who are likely to follow you
- Use Twitter’s search feature to find profiles that interest you. Use Twitter’s RSS feed to be notified every time a tweet containing a certain keyword is made
10. Balance your followers/following ratio
Try to have a balance between people you follow and people that follow you. If a lot of people follow you and you don’t follow them, they will stop following you. If you are following plenty of people but just a few are following you, you’ll be seen as a spammer.
These are some ideas to keep both numbers balanced:
- Grow slow. Instead of instantly adding 200 new friends, add maybe 50 and wait for them to follow you back. Then follow another 50
- Use tools like Friend or Follow where you can check who is following you whom you are not following. It also allows you to see who is not following you back. It’s a great way to balance your ratio in just a few minutes
11. Make it worthwhile to follow you
Tweet interesting stuff. If your post is not something you would be interested in, chances are that your followers will feel the same way.
Like other social media tools, Facebook takes time and effort to master the features and understand the community. Facebook is about connecting with people rather than selling your business.
12. Put together a killer profile page
Create a profile page that will look attractive to your customers or business contacts. A simple and effective page is the most powerful. You should provide enough information to pique the interest of your target market, and your profile page should be created with this goal in mind. Take full advantage of all the new Timeline features.
13. Create a killer cover photo
Use your design skills to create a cover photo that promotes you and your brand. Be creative and stay within Facebook guidelines. This is the first image that people see so make it fun or cool or interesting.
14. Share videos and images
Facebook puts emphasis on visual content and people are more likely to share videos and images than static posts or links. Take advantage of this and post your best design work. Post more visual content such as infographics, charts, photos, etc.
15. Pin to the top
Pin important posts to stay at the top of your timeline. You can pin one post at a time for up to seven days. Remember to update your anchor pin every seven days. You can also highlight posts to give specific items more real estate on your timeline.
16. Hone your About section
Create a keyword rich About section with a hyperlink to your website.
17. Promote your blog
If you have a personal company or business blog, you can import it into your Facebook notes. Each of your blog postings will then appear in your news feed and that of your contacts. This is a fantastic way to keep your business contacts up to date with your blog.
18. Use interest lists
Create interest lists in your niche, and include your brand in them to increase exposure.
19. Utilise milestones
Fill in Milestones to update fans on your accomplishments. Milestones are where you can tell your story. This is a great opportunity to add important design moments in your company.
20. Check Insights
Pay attention to your metrics on Insights. You can use this information to figure out when the best time to post is and see what content gets the most interactions.
Clearly, social media marketing takes time and effort. Spark conversations, share information, be helpful. Doing these things can lead to new connections for your business.