You’ve launched your social media profiles, you’re updating your status as often as you can – great – what next? In a previous post I listed some of the common mistakes businesses make with social media. The first mistake is of course not having a social media strategy to start with, the next is not reviewing the strategy and adapting or testing new approaches.
1. A social media strategy for business
Like many new businesses I launched my social media presence based on solid thinking. I’m keen to maintain distance between the personal and professional spheres, and chose LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging as my main communication channels. These have allowed me to interact with existing contacts, grow new networks and discuss topics related to marketing. In support of those three I have some secondary channels that I use to promote my blog posts, to test their usefulness as channels and explore the opportunities they present.
Last week I finally gave in and created a Facebook page for my marketing consultancy. I have resisted this move up until now – so what has changed?
2. Evaluate and adapt
After delivering against my social media strategy for a few months I have taken stock and reviewed the effectiveness of each channel. Where am I getting interaction, click throughs and conversation? Which subjects are proving interesting to my contacts, which headlines work and what are people retweeting? The statistics are useful to shape my future actions.
The biggest change I have made has been to finally launch a Facebook page for my business. This might seem like a strange move as on first sight Facebook does not seem the obvious place to promote a marketing consultancy. However, other service businesses report having some success on Facebook, and consequently I am happy to give it a try. If it doesn’t perform over time I will review it’s use as a platform and may retreat, and only time will tell. It’s essential to monitor what is working for other organisations (as well as your own) as their successes can indicate that a change in thinking is due for you too.
3. Personal and professional life is merging
In addition, I have found that it is not easy, or necessarily a smart idea to keep the personal and professional life so separate. Many of my LinkedIn contacts are friends rather than people I have worked with, and I like to think that many of the people I have worked with have gone on to become friends. The distinction therefore is not that neat.
Networking for business relies on people meeting and doing business with other people. Being personable and liked is essential for good networking, as networking guru Rob Brown explains. So, yes you will be doing business with me in my professional capacity, but it is still essentially the same me.
Another consideration is that friends can be a great source of business. Like many professional people many of my friends are also in professional roles. They themselves may not be potential clients, but they are likely to recommend me should an opportunity come up.
Don’t worry, I won’t be posting my holiday photos on my business Facebook Page, but I’m relaxing the barrier between personal and professional social media.
4. The social media landscape doesn’t stand still
Finally, let’s not forget that the digital landscape is evolving at an ever increasing rate. The strategy we were happy with six months ago is likely to be out of date now. With a media landscape that is forever innovating, every business needs to review its social media strategy on a regular basis. Maybe it’s time for your business to also review those statistics and listen to what is working for your competitors.