One of the biggest myths in business is, “Build it and they will come.” I’m sometimes shocked at the naiveté of brilliant minds who fail to recognize the importance of marketing. For example, you can be the best lawyer in the world, but that doesn’t mean you will start the most successful law firm unless you also dedicate time and talent to marketing.
In my experience as a business owner, I’ve found social media to be the most critical component a successful marketing plan. It’s a very cost-effective way to assert yourself as an expert, increase your online presence, and attract new visitors to your website—all of which leads to referrals and business development.
In my experience coaching business owners, I have found that many talented people neither feel current nor confident with regard to social media. Additionally, some feel uncomfortable about the seemingly narcissistic nature of self-promotion via the internet. My strong advice is, quite simply, to get over it…
Social media success is well within reach. It’s not rocket science and you’ll be surprised how much you can do yourself, and easily. Don’t pay for expensive consultants—there are plenty of people who are available to help at a reasonable cost. Consider outsourcing your social media to a savvy student intern or college student looking for some part-time work.
Remember, there is a way to share your knowledge, information and resources without coming across as an arrogant ass. Simply balance self-promotion with supporting the social media campaigns of other professionals. This is also a great a way to network and build relationships for cross-referral.
Keep in mind that building a social media campaign is a process that requires dedication and patience. Devote a few hours to social media per week and tackle one project at a time until you have a well developed system in place.
The following are a list of effective social media venues:
Google: Websites are ranked by Google. The higher your google ranking, the earlier your page will come up during searches. The more sites that link back to your site the higher your google ranking. So, include links to your website everywhere you can (i.e. your directory listings, etc.)
Make sure your business is listed with Google Maps and fill out as much information as possible about your business.
Create a Google+ account, connect with friends and share articles of interest.
Use “search terms” in your website (i.e. “Cleveland dentist”), blogs and articles to increase your site’s search engine optimization and promote hits to your site.
Consider purchasing a Google ad campaign. You can set a modest budget that can grow along with your business.
Blogging: Blogging gives you more searchable content for people to find your site. Connect a blog to your website using WordPress or similar software. Write short articles on areas of expertise (400-700 words with key search words in the title.) Offer to be a “guest blogger” for other sites as another way to get people to link back to your site. Ideally, you should post 2-3 blogs per week to gain a following, but even once a month is helpful. Your blogs can be automatically posted to Facebook & Twitter by choosing these settings.
LinkedIn: Create a profile featuring your business and invite your contacts to connect. Enter your Twitter handle so your LinkedIn updates will automatically post to your twitter feed.
Twitter: Create a handle that is your name or the name of your company. If you follow others, they will often follow you. However, there is a limit to the number of people you can follow that is in proportion to your number of followers. Ideally, you want to have more people following you than you follow, which takes time.
Balance your updates between retweeting, direct tweets, and posting unique content (like links to your blog postings.) Tweet at least every few days as some people choose to unfollow people who are not active at least weekly.
Tweepi is a useful site to manage and develop your Twitter following.
Facebook: Make sure to create a business page that is separate from your personal profile. Once you get 100 fans, it starts to become easier to build from there. Encouraging fans to like, share or comment on posts will help you gain more fans.
YouTube: Create a YouTube channel for your business. Create video content on your areas of expertise can be created easily by taping with Skype or smart phone. Videos should be under 2.5 minutes and include your contact information.
Best of luck! And, just keep Tweeting!
The Psychology of Success, Free Webinar via PsychCentral