Social networks have forever changed the way we market ourselves and make money. When 100% of your leads have accounts in more than one social network, you stop wondering if your company should use social networks and start thinking how to profit from using them.
So, whether you think that Twitter, Facebook, Orkut or LinkedIn are a waste time, you can’t escape the reality that part of your job will be to promote yourself within the current social networks.
1. Create a company profile
Your company should have a profile in the main social networks and this profile should have the same name in every network. I recommend you use namechk, a tool that allows you to validate if a username is available within 162 social networks.
When it comes to Facebook, a lot of people create a personal profile for the business. This is a big mistake for two reasons: it prevents people from “liking” your company and you miss out on the visitor’s statistics offered by Facebook. So, make sure you create a “page” and not a Facebook profile.
2. Create a blog
You can create a free blog using wordpress.com. Although I do recommend that you install wordpress in your own domain (you do have your own domain, right?!). The blog is your operating base, the place in which all the visitors that you capture from social networks will land.
You don’t need to post something every day. If you’re writing something worthy, then you can afford the luxury of only writing a couple times a month. The most important thing is:
3. Offer valuable content
In social networks you can’t sell the same way you do on radio or TV. Nobody likes a sales pitch. The secret of viral marketing is offering something valuable for free: entertainment, industry-related news, “5 tips for promoting your business in social networks” 😉
Suddenly, there are aspects of your job that are obvious to you, but that would represent a major discovery for someone who’s not in your shoes every day. Give free advice and become what Chris Brogan calls a Trust Agent. A grateful person is a potential customer.
4. Keep track of the conversation
Facebook and Twitter interfaces are designed for you to invest time in their sites, not for working.
These apps allow you to monitor social networks in real time, so you can know who’s talking to you and about what, enabling you to participate in several conversations regarding topics that interest you (and surely, engaging people towards your website).
5. Be brief
People don’t read. They scan. Try to keep your tweets under 100 characters and your blog posts under 700. The shorter your tweets or blog posts are, the more likely people will read them.
Lastly, I recommend you read Social Media for Small Business, an in-depth guide on how to market yourself in social networks.