Social Networking 101

Anyone with a business needs to network, connect and grow the business. You are no exception. I’m active on social media, and think you should be, too.
7 Reasons You Should Consider Social Networking

  1. It increases the ability of people to find you.
  2. It’s an easy way to establish your name locally, nationally and internationally.
  3. You can share your expertise with many, many people.
  4. It expands your referral network beyond family and friends.
  5. It allows you and your business to be accessible 24-7.
  6. It can be a customer relations tool for your service and products.
  7. It advertises you directly to your target audience.

Think of social networking sites like a meeting. You wouldn’t arrive at a meeting and begin shouting at the top of your lungs, “I need clients! Hire me and buy my products!” Instead, you’d begin introducing yourself to the people at the party, discovering their interests and desires. When the time is appropriate, you’d tell them about yourself and your business.

How do I network via social media? I post updates on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You’re reading my blog (and I write and/or edit others’ blogs, too, like this one by client Sharon Dillard), and upload images, links, articles, events, client testimonials, and video/audio in a way that works together across all the sites.

However, these sites are not places for businesses to post profane or obscene messages, speak negatively about the competition, or post political content. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online. Even if you would say it in person, still don’t say it online. Remember, you’re not just you, you’re representing your business, your brand, and your products. Be respectful and polite, even in the face of other people’s negativity.

Facebook is the largest social networking site online, home to 850 million active users who create status updates about what they’re doing or thinking, share pictures, videos, messages, and links, play games, and run apps. Over 20% of all page views on the web are on Facebook, and 57% of users are female. Both individuals and businesses use Facebook.

If you haven’t already, please “like” my Facebook page and suggest to your customers and friends to like it, too.

LinkedInSome refer to LinkedIn as the business version of Facebook. At over 100 million users, LinkedIn focuses on the kind of networking that helps people get jobs, find employees and promote their expertise through discussions and groups. A personal profile on LinkedIn is like your résumé. Businesses can have pared down versions of profiles, too.

Here’s my profile on LinkedIn.
TwitterTwitter is a micro-posting service. Tweets, as Twitter posts are called, are, essentially the same as status updates or links on Facebook. Tweets are limited to 140 characters. You can follow anyone and anyone can follow you.

Here’s my Twitter link.

Google +Google+ is the new kid on the block. Google+ offers a series of tools to help you stay connected with people via Circles. Within Circles, you can have different levels of connection. Google + also integrates with other Google services like Gmail and picture sharing application Picasa.

Here’s my Google+ account.
So join in the fun (social networking really is fun), and like, follow or connect with me. And if you need some help getting your own social networking up and running, let me know. I’m happy to help.

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