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Anyone in their late thirties or early forties will undoubtedly remember singing along, as a teenager, to Bros – an early British boy-band. Bros’ signature song, When will I be famous, was perhaps an early indication of how teenagers today strive to become a celebrity, recognised only by appearance over any talent or substance.
This approach, however, does not work in business. People want to know what you can do for them; you’re not just accepted on your outward persona.
If you have a product or service to sell, you will also strive to be "famous", to be well-known within your business network. Appearing as an expert in your field is often more effective than traditional forms of advertising and can mean new clients seek you out without you needing to lift a finger or spend a huge budget on marketing. But how do you get that kind of positive exposure?
One option is social media. A PR machine that’s always working 24/7, 365 days per year, it can be a very low-cost but effective way to positively infiltrate your market and show you have some authority/knowledge in your industry or sector.
The phrase "content is king" is definitely appropriate with social network marketing; the content you put online will determine if you achieve the stardom you strive for, or, if you end up on the scrapheap with the other wannabes.
Although social media can be both potent and low-cost, it can be addictively time-consuming. To combat this, and to ensure your focus is on productive, not speculative, work - hire someone to manage your social media for you. Social media marketing is easy, but it is also takes time to understand the relevant platforms and to gain experience of how trends and connections work. Relationships are not instant; a good marketer knows how to build an effective strategy using the zillions of social networking tools out there in cyberspace.
Most of my working week is spent doing social media work for clients. The rest of the time I’m a Life Coach and Business Coach for SMEs and Start-Ups. I personally find the constant evolution of social media exciting; you’re creating something dynamic that has the capacity to bring profitable results for the client.
Whether watching TV, reading a newspaper or driving down the street, there are constant adverts all around us. This information is sub-consciously retained within our brains and over time we begin to have an emotional response to particular brands. Social media is an extension of these traditional methods – your connections learn to trust your brand and company. When the time comes and they have a need for your product or service, you will already be at the forefront of their mind.
Here are some guidelines for those interested in Social Media;
1. Set up a management tool, so you can track who is talking about your brand.
2. Make sure all the networking tools and platforms are ‘talking’ to each other.
3. Remember to cross-refer your contacts, i.e. just because you are connected to someone on LinkedIn doesn’t mean you’re following them on Twitter. Don’t miss a sales or PR opportunity.
4. Ensure you are consistent. Post something every 2 – 3 days to keep your content fresh and your brand visible.
5. Ensure the words that you use are keyword searchable; don’t waffle on about something irrelevant – be direct, punchy and get your point across concisely.
6. Take advantage of image opportunities - get a good profile picture taken and post it everywhere. People like to see who they are talking to.
The choice of tools that are effective within social media are all names you will have heard of before;
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Bebo, Digg, Del.icious, StumbleUpon – and the list is continually growing.
In one of my previous articles I spoke about perception and how others read situations. Some people take what they see or read literally, or at face value. I’ve even read of individuals creating a false life or persona for themselves on social sites to appear interesting, fun and entertaining. However, word to the wise – if you mislead someone, you generally always get caught out!’.
Employers may not overtly admit it, but nowadays they often screen potential employees for jobs by checking their social networking profiles. Whether this is correct protocol or not, I feel we should never underestimate the power of social media or how ingrained it has become in our daily lives.
If you’re interested in employing a professional to carry out your social media for you, ask for a recommendation. Good, effective social media networkers are like gold dust. Alternatively, why not learn the skills yourself?
Some people offer bespoke training; I do, along with many others. Take the time to understand social media or ask someone to explain it to you. There are so many features, advantages and benefits that social media can bring.
Louise Wightman is a Social Media Consultant and registered Coach. Her business is Approach The Coach based in Glasgow. You can reach her by email on email@example.com