The initial wave has passed, but, the next wave looks to be even bigger. In spite of all the media coverage and headlines most small businesses are just now starting to get involved in social media. Perhaps many thought it would be a passing fad, or maybe it all seemed "too new" or "too difficult", but now they are starting to feel left behind. These people and businesses are now playing catch-up, and trying to make up for lost time. Those new to social media ask many of the same questions ....
Which social media sites will be most useful to my business?
How do I get others to follow my business once I'm on them?
How many sites should I join, and how much time must I devote to them?
How will participation in social media improve my business?
All valid questions, I would recommend taking time to look around, ask questions of others who have been involved with social websites, and see what other companies are doing. Once you have familiarized yourself with what is available try these basic steps to get started ...
Set up profiles on Facebook and Twitter. They are the biggest, most used, and best of the social networks. Facebook discourages using a personal profile for business use ... so set up a business page, if you or someone you know can do this that's great, if not most, if not all social media consultants can help you with this easily and at low cost. Fill in as much pertinent information as possible, and upload a photo.
Once your profiles are set up start posting to them ... include updates on products or services you offer, jobs or projects you are doing that are of particular interest, thoughts and comments on your industry in general, sales or promotions you are offering. Don't be afraid of giving advice or letting loose with a few "trade secrets"... these are the kind of posts that earn a potential clients trust AND establish you as a knowledgeable professional ... and thats why you want to be active in social media!
Interact with the people and businesses that visit your page, answer their questions, start conversations, and become friends as often as possible. You want people to get to know you for who you are. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with letting a little of your personal life leak onto your business page, just don't overdo it. Over a period of time you may begin to get invited to social media get together's, or industry specific events in your area ... I STRONGLY recommend you go to these! It's a great way to meet new people, get referrals, and learn more about new trends in social media.