Having a brand is not just for big corporations and well-known products. Big businesses, small businesses, law firms, entrepreneurs and anyone else wanting to make a name for themselves can do so by building a brand. The way you portray your business, your products and yourself; in other words your image, is your brand.
Thanks to social media everyone has the ability to connect with like-minded individuals all over the world. But if you want to exploit social media you need to have an effective strategy. It does not take an enormous amount of time each day. In fact with only 15 minutes per day, you can really make quite an impact. Like everything you hope to succeed with in life, it does take planning and forethought.
Here are suggestions on how you might be able to use social media to develop your brand, monitor quality, engage customers, expand upon ideas and connect with others within your industry.
1. Social media is most effective when you share knowledge with others.
Use social media as a way to showcase your expertise. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by answering the questions of others. Spend some time on the Q & A sections of LinkedIn, Yahoo Answers, Ask.com and others. When people ask questions that are pertinent to your industry and within your area of expertise, take the time to answer some of those questions. Social media does not have to be a “Mission Impossible” scenario. In other words, you do not have to be a secret agent to connect with people, many of who are looking to connect with you.
2. The most important aspect of social media is being SOCIAL!
You need to interact with your connections and show aspects of your personality that allow others to get to know you. You do not need to, nor should you, share all aspects of your life, but do not be afraid to share pieces of yourself that help paint the image you want to present.
3. Social media is a fantastic resource for information.
You can use it to get your followers’ opinions on current trends in the market, survey to see what new products and services your followers would like to see you offer and ask how you can improve or add to existing offerings. You no longer have to guess what your target market is after. With social media, you can simply ask. You have your very own sounding board right at your fingertips.
4. Follow your brand online.
One of the best ways to build relationships with potential consumers is by answering the questions and concerns of others within your target market. Regularly search to see what others are saying about your brand while paying close attention to questions and concerns your consumers may have. Do not try to “sell” them on your brand but answer their questions in a timely and professional manner. Use this opportunity to make a positive impact on potential consumers especially on those who express concerns about your brand.
5. Providing information is how you get noticed.
The information you share through social media outlets will make the biggest impact on your readers if it is both informative and educational. When someone reads your post and says, “Wow, I did not know that!” then they are more likely to share it with others they feel would benefit from what it is you have to share.
6. Social media is strategic like the game of chess.
You need to determine your moves ahead of time, while always thinking 2 steps ahead. When you choose to use social media, you need to have a purpose. Set goals as to what you want to accomplish and play the game to get there.
7. Blogging is also social media.
You may not think of blogging as social media, but it is. Having a blog of your own is an excellent way to show expertise and build credibility. If you have a lot of information to share such as news, tips, and pointers or any general information pertaining to your industry, start a blog or guest write for an established blog. We are always willing to review guest contributions for publication here at IPWatchdog.com!
8. Use social media as a way to steer good news about your brand.
No matter what the news is; if you get an award, your company or products are recognized, or you are nominated to be a part of a contest within your industry (such as nomination into the top 100 legal blogs on the Internet by the ABA Journal, under the IP Law category perhaps! Hint, Hint), use social media as a way of spreading the news.
9. Never loose site of your brand when participating in social media.
Whether you are blogging, are on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, checking in on Foursquare or posting a YouTube video, always remember to maintain brand consistency, keeping in mind the look (color, logos, fonts and graphics) and feel of your message.
10. Social media works best when used in conjunction with real world networking.
Once contact is made, be sure to engage your connections offline as well. Go to networking events where you know others in your industry will be. Pick up the phone and call those connections you want to get to know better and if they are in your local geographical area, invite them for lunch or coffee. When you travel to other states, let your connections in those states know you’ll be coming to town and try to get together as well.
11. With social media there is no “Take-2″ or do-over.
Once you post something online, even if you delete it right away, you will never know how many people have seen it. Be sure to take care with what you say and how you say it. It can take a lifetime to establish a brand but only seconds to destroy it!
12. Facebook just isn’t for family and friends.
Facebook is so often overlooked as a great business tool because of the sheer social aspect of it. I often hear people say that Facebook is where you go to play ‘Ville games or to reconnect with old friends. And it is, but because it is so widely accepted as THE place to go, why not tap into that resource. There are plenty of professionals on Facebook, such as myself. And yes, we love to play the online games! But unless your target market is really limited, you will guaranteed be able to connect with people on Facebook you would not have otherwise been able to reach.
13. Never stop looking to make connections.
The more people you connect with and engage, the more likely those connections will develop into mutually beneficial business relationships. For each connection you make your potential to reach others increases dramatically. For example in LinkedIn, even with only 200 connections, you could potentially reach more than a million others. Never stop making connections.
14. Unlock the power of social media.
When you lock your Twitter account, not allowing others to direct message you, you are defeating the purpose of social media. By deliberately making it more difficult for people to connect with you, you will inevitably miss opportunities for business. Unless you are a celebrity or a politician, you should unlock your account, proving to others that you are not “unreachable.”