As a top article on the Allee Creative blog when it was first written in 2012, we have updated the post with additional ideas for 2019.
A few years back, there was an Inc. magazine article that I read about the right (and wrong) ways to introduce yourself when you meet someone new. The piece reminded me of the advice that I give to business owners and companies looking to get into social media:
“Picture yourself at a cocktail party. If you’re going to be ‘that guy’ that broadcasts about yourself, your position and how much money you make, no one is going to talk to you. If you ask questions and let others in and give them the chance to lead the conversation, you’ll most likely make a new friend.”
Getting started or “introducing” your business to others by using social media is really no different than what you would do when you meet someone new. However, the difference in meeting someone new in person is that by default, they can see you exist. When you introduce your business on social media (especially if it’s a new business to begin with) your audience doesn’t even know you’re there yet.
So before I talk about the type of content to produce, I offer you the following list of suggestions to consider before jumping on the proverbial social media bandwagon:
- Know where your audience hangs out. Are they the Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook crowd? Wherever they are, that’s where you need to be, too.
- Update your information before publishing. This means your avatar, profile picture, company description, links, cover photos and the like should all be set before making it known that you exist on a channel.
- Promote to those you know first. Share your page, handle, URL, etc. with those in your closet networks and ask them to spread the word. Pro tip: Add these same links to your email signature and cross promote in other marketing materials throughout the year.
- Get ready for the long haul. When you start, you’re making a commitment to keep it going. Having a presence on social media is not a one-and-done effort. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Once you have your initial social media channels set up, it’s time to think about what to say (content calendars are perfect for this and a rock-solid distribution strategy will also help). No matter the context or channel by which you’re making your introductions, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
Keep it short.
There’s a reason you can only text or tweet 280 characters. Your customers and clients want short and snappy information. Just as you don’t want to sift through drawn-out introductions, information and text, neither does your audience. Keep your social media updates and posts short and sweet. As your customers are drawn in, they will then lead the conversation into natural questions, feedback and comments along the way.
Focus on others.
It’s all about your customers–whether we’re talking sales, services or social media channels. Keep your social media interactions focused on what your customers want. What interests them? What are their pain points? How can you help?
Ask questions and respond when they answer. Social media listening is just as important (if not more so) as your initial content. Leave push marketing out of it. Show genuine interest in your audience and they will do the same for you. Connections come from listening.
Think about your audience using each social media channel you’re a part of. Those who are on Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Instagram vs. LinkedIn choose those channels for different reasons. What might be cool on Twitter won’t always work across the board. Likewise, just as it’s not necessary to blurt out your job title during a casual night out with friends, it’s also not necessary to be authoritative and stiff online. Keep it relevant. Keep it breezy. Keep it conversational.
Social media is meant to be fun and entertaining. Yes, it can be a great tool for business, but keep it light and natural. Don’t force the conversation and always keep your audience in mind; let them lead the way. You may end up with a whole new circle of friends and business leads you would have otherwise never have met!