Social Media Plan - Using LinkedIn and Facebook for Business
by Jo Shaer, on September 23, 2013
A Social Media Plan for growing your visibility and building good connections
Know, Like and Trust is the lynchpin of any effective networking, whether you're online or in the real world. If someone knows you, likes you and trusts you, they are far more likely to employ you or refer you to a contact.
But you don't build Know, Like and Trust by bumbling into a breakfast meeting and storming the individual conversations. There is an etiquette to be observed. And good manners need to be observed online too.
So, if you see someone that you think could prove a useful contact on LinkedIn, it's a good idea to get a mutual connection to introduce you. Don't just spam them with the default LinkedIn invitation to connect. If they don't know you, they are likely to ignore it. It's like being cold called.
We also have LinkedIn's new rules coming into play. In the past, the advice was to connect with everyone to get to the magic 500+ connections marker. This gave you the most visibility in searches on LinkedIn. However, they are now advising that users should not connect with people that they don't know. At one of my LinkedIn workshops, an offline advertiser called me out on this. "But I want to connect with everyone and I want them to ask me to connect with them! The more people I can connect with, the more I get seen!"
This is true. But if you give a little bit of your stardust to someone by connecting, you are also giving the impression that you are approving of them as a potential business partner to other users. If you connect with just anyone, the power of Know, Like and Trust within LinkedIn starts to become diminished. Especially as some of LinkedIn's paid accounts use the facility where potential employers are able to contact connections for references. Too many people saying that they don't know someone well enough to give a reference and LinkedIn's house of cards starts tumbling down.
It's the same with Facebook. If you agree to add someone as a friend that you have never met, you are letting a stranger into your personal online world. And giving them access to all your real friends... as well as your day to day activities. A survey by the Legal & General revealed that there were as many as 66 strangers in the average Facebook user's Friends list.
We have a responsibility in the online world to help to keep each other safe from spammers and scammers.
A Social Media Plan for turning fans into customers
And, on the subject of Facebook, we come to the eternal complaint of the business owner. Why isn't my Facebook Business page working for me? Normally because you don't have a proper plan for your social media efforts.
People put up random status updates on an irregular basis and expect other users to engage with them.
But are you only connecting with people on diverse and mundane subjects that have no relevance to your business? It's all very well building know, like and trust... but you also have to give them a reason to recognise you as an expert in your industry.
You need to think outside the box. Produce status updates that are interesting but which can work an angle that leads back to the products or services that you offer.
It's no good putting up status updates that only say 'We're fab and you should use us'. Think about the advertisements you see on television. They try to appeal to different emotions and then work their product into our psyche. They are not always 'obvious' in what they are doing. Building brand awareness is good. But it needs to be a good mix of different types of message. From the subliminal to the 'in your face'.
On Facebook, they have given you custom tabs below the main cover image where you can send people to get more information about what you do. It can be a place to buy a product through an online shop. It can bring your website right into Facebook. It can be a place to sign up and receive discount vouchers. Or show everything you have on Sale. Or somewhere to sign up for a regular newsletter.
These tabs are all about lead generation. Getting fans to a place on Facebook where they can become customers.
To find out more about improving your Facebook page, enter our competition to win a Free Facebook Page critique.
LinkedIn have watched Facebook's success. And that platform is becoming more and more similar. We now have a newsfeed where individuals can post relevant content to show that they are leaders in their field. Or to make it obvious that they are up for a joint venture. And we also have proper Company pages where status updates can be posted for followers to like, share and comment on.
They also have product sections where companies can highlight their offerings and existing customers can leave recommendations. You need to make sure that you fill these out too. Another way to turn followers into customers.
And it's another place that you now need to have a plan for your social media. You could post the same status updates simultaneously or schedule them to post at different times on your Facebook business page and your LinkedIn company page using Hootsuite. This builds brand awareness but you can also have a link to the relevant part of LinkedIn or Facebook where users can find out more about that specific service...
Hootsuite is also great for regular posting to Twitter - both automatically and manually. It allows you to monitor what is happening across all your social media profiles.
Google+ is not dead - it's growing slowly but surely as Google start to make it indispensible to local business owners.
Pinterest and YouTube allow you to post images and videos that give your business brand awareness and keyword searchability.
But if you don't have a coherent plan behind all this posting, it just becomes like throwing something against a wall and hoping it will stick.
Find out more about building a social media plan for your businessIf you want to make sure that your time on Facebook is as effective for generating leads as your weekly breakfast meeting, you have to work out a proper social media plan.