Whether you are a business owner, service professional or book author, effectively utilizing social media can get you in front of your target audiences.
First, though, it is important to understand what NOT to do when using social media to connect with prospective clients or customers.
Share information — do NOT sell!
In other words, you do NOT want to tweet “Buy my novel on Amazon” and include the link. Instead you might tweet “My novel deals with a mother’s separation anxiety from her teenage son” and then include the link to Amazon.
Or, if you are a dentist, you do NOT want to tweet “My dental practice promises you the whitest teeth.” Instead you could tweet a link to a blog post (not necessarily written by you but not written by a dentist in your same geographical area) that talks about how people with white teeth feel about themselves.
Or, if you are the head of a software company, you do NOT want to tweet “Our software will solve your database problems.” Instead you could tweet “We were pleased to set up a client database that allowed easy access to prospective clients of an engineering firm.”
Okay, now that you understand the important distinction between sharing information and selling, let’s talk about targeting your prospective clients or customers.
Here are a few examples of where you can find your target audiences:
You can do a search on groups to find interest groups that might be interested in your products or services.
When you join these groups, you will remember NOT to sell. Instead you will add insightful comments to discussion threads, and you can include a link to your website at the end of your comment. (Note: For LinkedIn you must put http:// in front of a URL to make it a hot link.)
Search for groups or Pages (formerly fan pages) on which you can follow the same strategy as on LinkedIn.
Tip: You can start your own group on LinkedIn and/or Facebook. Again, your goal is to share information that demonstrates your expertise and encourages your target audiences to trust your products or services because of the information you share.
Search by topic to find people tweeting about your products and services, then follow these people. These people may follow you back (especially if they check out your Twitter profile and see that your tweets share good information).
You can create your own informative content to share by blogging about your topic.
This is an excellent way to make your target audiences aware of areas that should concern them. For example, perhaps you have a home repair business. You could blog about topics such as furnace problems, water heater issues, and roof repair. People reading your blog posts may become aware of potential problems in their own homes.
One of the newer social media sites, Pinterest is excellent if you have a business with lots of engaging photos. Perhaps you have a clothing boutique with one-of-a-kind dresses. You can “pin” individual photos of these dresses onto Pinterest to attract potential clientele.
Want to demonstrate your expertise by writing a book? Write an ebook, convert it to the different ebook formats or use a service to do this, sell it on ebook platforms such as Kindle and Nook, and then give free copies to your target audiences.
Of course, you then can use your social media participation to post announcements about your ebook. Again, though, word your announcement so that you are offering information and NOT selling your business.
The question of time commitment is important when you are considering social media participation to promote a business or book.
If you are worried about the time commitment to participate on social media, start with only one site. Then, as you become more comfortable with participating, begin to expand your involvement to other sites.
Do, though, set a time period commitment so that you regulate how much time you spend daily on these activities. If you are not good at staying focused on a time limit, set an alarm to remind you when it is time to return to your work.
Additional tip: An added advantage of participating on social media is that you may learn information that you can use. Shared information can be very valuable – and it can be information that you may otherwise not have learned.