Getting started with Social Networks

It seems to us, that almost every week, a new social network appears on the scene. They almost always claim to be the best, better, more SEO friendly than the last and easier to integrate. Whilst some of the claims may be true, many fall by the wayside, as they don’t have the two things that the established sites have – users and traffic.

For any social network (unless its a really niche network) users and traffic are essential. This makes it easier to market to the masses, whilst being able to hold a conversation with potential and current customers. That’s the whole idea of social networks, talking to people. If your your talking, and no one is listening, its time wasting. Imagine your personal Facebook profile, if you posted to it every day, with informative updates for your friends and no one answered, would you continue to do so? The answer is probably no, as you would see it as a waste of time. But if your friends old and new commented, and interacted with you, that is what encourages you to keep going. The same applies in business, you need people to interact with you, and if they aren’t, then something is wrong, and needs to be looked at.

Alot of the time, when we talk to people about social networks, their main issue’s are:

  • Lack of followers / fans etc
  • Lack of interaction from their current followers / fans
  • Not knowing what to post, and when to post it

When we then investigate, we find a Facebook page that was last posted to a year ago, and a twitter account that has been left to languish, due to lack of posting and knowledge on how to use the site.

Not every social network site, fits every business. Although we can say that 99% of the time, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page are pretty much essential. Yes there are others, but the main ones are Facebook and Twitter for the vast majority of people.

So, when we have our page and account, what do we do? The best way I can think to describe it, is like this:

Imagine your at a networking event, with other business owners. You’ve never been there before, and unsure what to do. So we have the following options and outcomes.
– Stand in the corner, and hope people come talk to you. Maybe one of two will, but most will just walk past you.
– You walk up to everyone individually and say ‘Hi, I’m Bob and I sell windows, buy from me today and get a 10% discount’. Some people will ignore you, others will say their not in the market for windows, some may say I’ll remember you for next time (maybe they will, maybe they won’t).
– Introduce you self along the lines of ‘Hi, I’m Bob, I’m in window sales, what do you do?’. Guaranteed, 99% of the time, the person will respond with what they do. You then answer, them a start a conversation. You then talk a bit more, and just before the end of the conversation, you say ‘if in the market for new windows, let me know, and I can sort you out a 10% discount’. The other person then goes away, knowing who Bob is, and what type of person he is. They also now know that Bob who they had a conversation with can give them a 10% discount on windows.

The same scenarios apply to social networks. Stand in the corner (create accounts and then do nothing with them) and very few people will come and talk to you.
Introduce yourself and just talk about your products and offers and nothing else, may interest some people, but not everyone.
Strike up a conversation and get people interested, and they will remember you. It doesn’t have to be all business, there are many other things you can talk about. Us Brits love talking about the weather. Taken a funny / interesting pic that you would post on your personal account, could this also be posted on your business page? Bob the window sales man could have found a site talking about the benefits of the windows he installs, so why not share it? Don’t be afraid to share links to other sites (unless they are your direct competition). Or, if you found a blog article with funny or interesting pictures to cheer up a gloomy Monday morning, share this.

The movie ‘Field Of Dreams’ said – If you build it they will come. This doesn’t apply to social networks, it should be more – If you use it wisely, they will come.

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