new to social mediaAre you still afraid of social media? You cannot get physically hurt by diving in, so what’s holding you back? Social media can be the most effective way to build your network, your brand, and your business.

If you are new to social marketing, don’t panic. Everybody was a rookie once, and nobody broke their leg by trying. The key is to focus on just a couple of platforms or networks, and then expand after you get more familiar with the social world.

My key social media networks are Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. I dabble in others, but these three are my focus. The more platforms you use, the more time you invest, so get efficient on one first, and then learn another.

 

Come On In, The Water’s Fine

You can’t learn unless you try. I used to read obsessively about social media, but I didn’t really understand all of it, until I dove into Twitter and started using Facebook Pages. By watching, listening, and then doing, things all came together.

Here are some brief descriptions and some tips to get you started. Once you start, you then learn, and tweak along the way.

Twitter – sometimes called a microblog, because you can only post 140 characters at a time. The idea, as with all social networks, is to connect with people and to share information or experiences. People like to share articles, blogs, reports, news, photos, and funny stories, etc. Obviously you will want to share your own content, too.

Find people to start following, local people, famous people, people in your industry (many will follow you back), and at first, just listen to what they are saying. When you are ready, start tweeting. Just do it, and be yourself. Nobody will break your leg if you say something wrong.

Link Shorteners – used to shrink a long, rambling URL (website address) into a shorter one that can fit better into a Twitter post (called a Tweet). When you only have 140 characters, sharing a link to a story can take up the whole box. Link shorteners to the rescue!

There are many services out there, like goo.gl and TinyURL. I use a service at Bitly.com, and also the link shortener in Hootsuite. They take a long url, with loads of coded characters and numbers – you know the ones, and shortens them to 12 or 13 characters.

Example

The long link for this blog post is:

http://marketingdonewrite.ca/2013/01/27/how-to-not-break-your-leg-with-social-media/

The shortened Bit.ly link is:

http://bit.ly/WhNzOw

Besides shortening your link, Bit.ly and Hootsuite can give you analytics to track how many people click or share your links so you can analyze what types of articles, or stories, people like to read.

Facebook – the largest social network with over one billion users, mostly people like you and me. I’ll assume you have a personal Facebook account, but if you don’t, get one. The best way to tap into that huge audience is to promote your business by creating a Facebook Page. It’s like having a mini-website where you can really engage with your audience.

You have to have a personal account to create a Page, and I would recommend keeping your personal friends and family on your own personal account, and keep your business posts on your business Page. You don’t really want your customers to know what you had for dinner, or that you are playing Farmville.

The 3-1-1 Rule

There are some suggested rules, etiquette and expected behaviour in the social media sandbox, and you’ll want to make sure you promote your business professionally. You need to show that you are an expert in your field, a leader, and not just promoting your stuff.

The basic guideline for posting to any social platform is the three-one-one rule… 3-1-1

If you are going to post information five times in a day (as an example),

  • Three of them should be adding value, sharing something
  • One should be something about you, or something that shows you are a person
  • One can be about your company, an offer, a promotion, etc.

If you post a sales pitch five times a day, people will stop following you and never come back.

The Entrepreneur Gets Engaged

You’ve probably heard this before, but social media is about engaging people and having conversations. Just be friendly and authentic.

Nobody wants to hear from somebody that sounds like a corporation. People buy from people, but people want to be helped. They want to find solutions. They don’t want a hard sales pitch.

Give them something entertaining, enlightening, or educational.

Help is Everywhere

There are oodles of learning resources to get more tips. Do a search for things like Facebook 101, Getting Started with Twitter, or Social Media Bootcamp. But remember, don’t just read them, get busy and apply what you learn.

Dive into social media, kick your flippers, and have fun.

I promise, you won’t break your leg ;)

Cheers,

Bonnie
The Socialite

PS  – If you need some direction, just fill in the form below…

 

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