Contributing writer and columnist, Business Insider
If you’re not on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, you’re socially --- and, more importantly, professionally -- the equivalent of a broken link.
Social media haters who say time spent on these sites is a complete waste simply aren’t thinking about how to use networking platforms to their utmost professional potential. If you’ve got an online presence, chances are good that your customers and prospective employees do, too.
If you’re smart, you aren’t just wasting your time coming up with contrived “clever” facts for “25 Things About Me” lists or, oversharing in your status update with statements like “Angie added gestational diabetes to the many reasons [her] body hates pregnancy.”
Retire your MySpace and Friendster accounts and for another month or so, ignore the tool-y Tumblr, Yammer, Plaxo, and ping.fm invites. Today, focus on how finessing your social networking portfolio, can actually make you money. Here are five ways to consider using your social media accounts.
You’re a small business and you want to get the word out about something new and innovative going on in your business. Well, your profile is your free ad. Use all the applications – especially the video option. Build your friends network on Facebook into the thousands and disseminate information – all without being intrusive. The more cleverly you word your updates, the more your audience will be intrigued to check things out. Use your Twitter account for that additional lure. You’ve got 140 characters to sell everyone following you. Keep your profile public and you’ve got millions of eyeballs theoretically looking at your targeted update.
This is your way to reach out to a large base of people and non-aggressively hammer into their subconscious what your company is. By posting info, keeping your status updated with the latest and greatest of your company’s professional endeavors, your friends/followers needing a service you provide will instinctively think about you and your company.
3.Exposure, exposure, exposure.
The more frequently you update your profile, the more free exposure your company has to its friends and followers. Newsfeeds and updates keep your company’s community current via linked email updates and for the many who compulsively and curiously scroll the site’s newsfeeds. Be diligent in continually growing your network of friends and followers. Transfer in new business contacts you meet in real life into your virtual life. Social networks are your online business cards.
LinkedIn isn’t the only site to show off your company’s impressive chops, but it’s a good starter. Facebook and to an extent Twitter all have a “by association” credibility that validates you and your company’s reputation like the LinkedIn testimonial. The kinds of people you are linked to, the pages you are a fan of, your photos, your updates, and the people who vouch for you by commenting on your wall says a lot about you. These exchanges are all out in the open for everyone to see. (There is no privacy.) Make thoughtful use of these opportunities to speak out. Remember, references can make or break you. You Google a potential new client or hire, so think about what happens when someone checks out your Facebook, Twitter feed andLinkedIn.
Check out the competition. Join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to find holes in the market. The access you have through navigating these groups is a huge asset – you’ve got carte blanche to see what people want and don’t want–- getting to the heart and pulse of a customer. What better way to keep track of what is going on in the world than being connected and linked to your global consumer audience via a friendly platform?
At the end of each day, if you put the right kind of time in, each friendship and partnership is potential business. Social media can be a golden opportunity to showcase and sell your company to a large audience, or, it can be a total time waster.