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14 Ways to Exploit the Power of Social Media for Business

Written by Renee C. Quinn
B.S. Pennsylvania State University
M.B.A. University of Phoenix
Posted: December 27, 2011 @ 6:47 pm
Connect: Twitter | LinkedIn | E-mail

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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.”


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Posted in: Brand Building, Business, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Renee Quinn, Social Media, Social Networking, Trademark Basics

About the Author

Renee C. Quinn acquired a Masters of Business Administration with her course work focusing on e-Commerce and e-Business, with an emphasis on marketing via the World Wide Web. Her particular career focus to date has been on business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing. She writes on various business and social media topics for IPWatchdog.com. You can follow Renee on Twitter at IPWatchdog_Too. Renee is available to consult with individuals and businesses on how to set up and effectively use social media and social networking tools to establish a successful marketing campaign. You can contact Renee via e-mail.

5 comments
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  1. Renee, this is a great article with a lot of good ideas. I have not tried Q&A with Yahoo answers or ask.com, but have been active with Avvo.com. Avvo has increased my web exposure although it is a lot of work to regularly answer questions. Not sure about LInkedIn or Facebook. I have never really gotten anything from either of these and to increase my activity at these sites seems to be questionable.
    Keep your articles coming. Best to you.

  2. Renee`-
    I need to update my Linked-In profile quite a lot, and I am wondering if you thought it might be a good idea to use a profile picture of me displaying one of my latest inventions/products? Likewise with Facebbok, as I have been frankly avoiding doing so for some time, and now that I actually Have a little time to spare, it is a good time to do so. The pictures wouldn’t reveal how it works in a mechanical sense, but just what it does. I have a Non-provisional application filed for the one I am thinking of, so I don’t think I need to worry about compromising patent rights, and would like to try and find some financing if at all possible.

  3. Steven,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. With my recent surgery I am quite behind on responses, but slowly catching up! That being said, I have not tried Avvo myself but will try to look into it in my spare time. Part of making social media work for you is to know which platforms to use. If your target market is not on FB or Twitter, then you should focus your energies on platforms like LinkedIn where your target market is more likely to be.

    I’m glad you enjoy my articles and as always, thank you for reading and supporting IPWatchdog.com.

    Renée

  4. Stan,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. As I am sure you are aware I am not the attorney in the IPWatchdog family. However, I do know that as long as you have “patent pending” status you are free to explore sharing your inventions with others. Frankly, it is the only way you will likely receive any kind of funding. My suggestion to you would be go ahead and use a photo of you with your product, but remember to maintain brand consistency. That does not mean you have to use the same photograph on everything, but the look and feel should be similar. If you are in a button down shirt and jeans in your Twitter photo, then you should wear a similar outfit in the photo on your FB and LinkedIn accounts as well. Again, does not have to be the same, but similar enough that when being seen on another platform people do not mistake you as someone else.

    Again, thank you so much for reading and commenting on so many of our posts. Your support of IPWatchdog.com is much appreciated. Feel free to contact me if you need assistance, and don’t forget to visit and “like” my Facebook page where I frequently posts pointers in my Social Media Thought of the Day! (The same goes for you Steven)

    Renée

  5. Thanks Renee`

    I am currently growing a beard which still looks a bit scruffy, but thanks for the great ideas! The tip about clothes is really good I tend to think, as in building a *brand*. Who would ever listen to Norm Abrams again if he started wearing 3-piece suits? Certainly not me… (This Old House)

    Great to see you back again!
    Stan~