In my an earlier post I talked about businesses making the mistake of ignoring the increasing use of mobile devices. Even those businesses who understand the need to build a presence online often get overwhelmed at the starting point. With so many social networks and new ones cropping up all the time, it’s easy to get stuck thinking about diving into the pool. Where do you start?
Testing the waters
Even if you’re a cannonball type person when it comes to swimming pools, the online pool is a bit different. Sticking your proverbial toe into the water is crucial. If you simply join all of the social networks out there and start posting frantically you probably aren’t going to see any connections being made. It’s important that you choose the network or networks that work the best for your business.
Are you a company that is highly visual, like a flower shop, a bakery, a photographer or a graphic artist? Pinterest and Instagram are all about the images. Love doing video? Facebook users love watching them. All about finding and sharing great ideas and content? Twitter users love that too.
By checking out and ‘lurking’ on some of the social networks you’ll get a feel for what types of content gets the most attention and whether your content fits the bill.
Create a pool of your own
While you’re deciding which of the social networks works for you, you should be focusing on creating quality content. On your website.
The best way to do this is to write a blog. Don’t believe those folks that say blogging is dead, it’s alive, kicking and more important than ever. [Tweet this!] Not only does a blog give you somewhere to share what you know and help others, it provides fresh content to your website. Something that has grown in value to Google as far as search engine ranking is concerned.
Feeling too overwhelmed by blogging? Do something to create fresh yet relevant content for your audience on your website. This could include adding photos of your office and what’s going on there each week, providing a calendar of community events or creating an online business newsletter that can be compiled and emailed regularly as well. And remember, blog posts don’t have to be long, they can be short, tips and tricks type as well. Your goal is to keep your visitors engaged and returning to your website.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a Facebook Page, Twitter or LinkedIn account can take the place of some sort of fresh content on your own site. You don’t want people to only follow you on social media, the point is to get them to end up on your website.
Dong a cannonball into the online world only serves to get you in over your head, flailing around trying to keep from drowning. By taking it slow and finding the right combination of fresh content on your website and the right social network(s) for your business will leave you refreshed and swimming along happily.
*thoughts of summer photo via Flickr Some rights reserved by luvmysl
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Thanks for the great tips about online practices, however is there an easy way of checking which social media sites will work best for me?
Other than the information I shared, the best way to determine what’s right for you is to try them out. While it’s easy to determine that businesses with highly visual products tend to be a fit for picture related sites like Instagram and Pinterest, it’s much harder to determine the best fit on many of the others. I’d suggest getting a feel for them yourself and going with the one(s) that you feel most comfortable with. Social media is about connections, so the more comfortable you are, the more likely you will be to connect with others.
Thanks Tina, I’ve given some a go and Facebook works well for me because I have a personal account, not so comfortable with Twitter, but recently created a LinkedIn account and I like that a lot. Comfort with the usage certainly seems to be highlighting strengths and weaknesses for me personally.