I was recently asked to contribute social networking tips for business professionals as a sidebar for a women’s publication. The issue won’t hit the stands until March 2015, but it’s a great time to share some of my tips here!
Do complete your profile. LinkedIn is THE professional medium. In order to build credibility, it’s essential to include a photo (preferably a headshot). Be sure the photo is recent (within three years) and avoid shots that lack professionalism like those that include your dog or your kids. Also include a strong, accurate headline as well as an engaging summary.
Do participate in groups. Join not only professional networking groups, but also groups that include your target audience. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, it makes sense to join a local group of young professionals, as many first-time home buyers are in that demographic.
Don’t use the default message to connect with others.Once you’ve found someone you want to add to your network, remember that first impressions are lasting impressions. Be sure to personalize your connection message and tell them how you know them or why you want to connect.
Don’t send mass messages. LinkedIn’s message system is a great tool, but I find many people use it to spam 50 contacts at a time. If you send a message to more than one contact, be sure to de-select the option to “allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses.”
Do respond to your followers. Leaving remarks or questions unanswered sends the message that you don’t care about your audience.
Don’t bulk tweet. Avoid bulk tweeting. Depending on the patience of your followers, if you’re posting more than two or three times in a row, you may flood their Twitter feed and cause them to tune out.
Don’t use Auto Direct Messages (Auto-DM’s).Generic automated messages such as, “Thanks for following me… please follow me on Facebook” are impersonal as well as a waste of time and opportunity to connect with someone one-on-one. Instead, when someone follows you on Twitter, use personalized DM’s to transition a follower to a business friend.
Don’t send tweets to other platforms and vice versa.Be conscious of updating multiple accounts using the same content tools. What makes Twitter so unique and popular is its 140-character limit.
Do use pictures – and be sure to humanize your brand! It’s well known that sites like Instagram and Pinterest are gaining traction. We crave the visual element. Include the human element whenever you can. We relate to people, not logo’s. Incorporate you and your team, and what’s going on in the business, whenever you can.
Do embrace advertising. As many page owners know, Facebook’s organic reach has declined significantly since December of last year. Simply put, the fans who ‘like’ the page are rarely seeing the content. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to embrace some of the low-cost advertising options offered by the platform.
Don’t use your personal page as your business page.While more people may see your posts, you will turn off your personal friends and family who want to hear from YOU, not your business.
Don’t just sell.Sharing relevant, helpful content is key. What do people want to see? What do they consider important? If you own a wedding planning business, you’ll need content that speaks to engaged women. And remember, it’s only relevant if the audience agrees!