Social Media For The Entrepreneur
The Entrepreneur’s Website
Build it, and They Will Come . . .
Actually, no, they won’t. Why not? Well, how do they know you’re there?
Whether you’re a
- business site where you offer your pro services
- a non-prof where you’re trying to raise funds for a good cause
- or a niche specific blog where you’d like to build a sizable readership and offer ad space to PR firms
- building a website just isn’t enough.
No matter how pretty it is, how unique the content or how impressively high tech with the newest flash intro page, it’s still not enough.
Have you created:
- a landing page?
- a testimonials page?
- a conversion form?
- a blog – with newsletter sign up?
Are you cranking out a post a few times a week? Something educational or controversial or just your thoughts on your niche? Great content that you know people will gobble up because your clients do or because it’s a hot topic.
Just building it, even with the added work of a blog, will not make people come.
Again, how does anyone know you’re there?
In the offline world a major key to building a client base is networking and socializing. You let your friends, associates, vendors and even aunt Sally know you’ve started you’re own business. You attend conferences and seminars and join small business organizations. You meet people and share with them what you do, invite them over to your place of business.
Why would it be any different in the online world?
Your Web Presence
Now I know you haven’t been living under a rock. If you’ve gone so far as to put up a blog, you’ve probably created a Facebook Fanpage, a Linkedin profile and a Twitter account. If you have, great! Now, my question is, have you been using these social media platforms? I don’t mean just auto publishing your posts. I mean actually using these platforms.
For example, the Blogger X fanpage (totally fictional). The admin of the fanpage is BloggerX and the admin picture is a logo . On the wall, all I find is posts linking back to Blogger X’s site. No “BloggerX likes After Bedtime Blog”. No “BloggerX commented on . . .”. No engagement with anyone. Just an automated feed of Blogger X’s blog posts.
Same thing on Twitter. Fifty-Two tweets of “New Post! [shortlink] via @addthis”
Linkedin status updates? Not sure who BloggerX is updating on his recent posts, he has no connections.
Expanding your web presence beyond your website, isn’t enough.
You need to be personable. You need to be social. You need to network.
Your Social Media Presence
You network to bring people to your site. You entertain them, socialize with them and offer them a reason to stay on your site and visit again. Preferably repeatedly.
So where do you network online to find people to bring home?
Your potential clients, contributors and readers all head out to networking sites to socialize and find interesting content to consume.
A great place to start finding people who would be interested in your site’s service, cause and content are niche specific forums and groups found on networking sites.
Where to Network
If you’re looking to build a list of potential clients, the groups here are a great place to start. But don’t, DON’T, join groups and then spam the group’s board with your sales pitch or even links to your post. It’s not kosher nor is it a way to build a relationship. Instead, lend your expertise to the groups, answer questions, add your input. Be an active member. And while you’re there, building relationships, collect blog addresses, fanpage addresses and twitter handles.
If you’re looking to get the word out on your cause, find people who can relate to and sympathize with your cause, the groups on Facebook are an excellent place to start. Again, don’t join and spam. Engage and share, and while there, collect blog addresses, fanpage addresses and twitter handles.
These take some looking into to find, but once you’re within a niche and reading niche specific content and visiting niche specific sites, these networks will be easy to find.
As a blogger, who’s a mom, I originally searched Google for mom blogs to visit, by searching for “mom” and filtering my results by choosing Blogs. Slow going. But, while visiting a mom blog, I learned of theblogfrog and of the SITS girls. These two sites opened up a new world to me. Introduced me to other sites such as Social Moms, Mom Bloggers Club, Bloggy Moms, MommyTLC and BlogHer. Here I “met” other moms and engaged and added my two cents or my stories where I could relate. These sites were a gateway to other mom bloggers. I collected blog addresses, fanpage addresses and twitter handles as I went.
Now that you’ve connected twitter handles, follow. Similar to using a phone, you can chat on Twitter in real-time or answer @ mentions left for you as you would a voicemail. The added bonus is, the twitter stream is like an interactive magazine, you get an update on when new posts have been published by those you follow. Sometimes Hot off the Press!
You’re at an event, any kind of event, even a bachelors party, and someone walks up to you, wearing a paper bag over his face, offers to shake your hand, says “Hi, I work for XYZ Company”. You don’t know what the person looks like, he could be anyone hiding under that bag, why shake his hand? You don’t know the guy’s name, all you know is where he works. True, he’s trying to be social, but is he being personable?
Who is that Tweeter?
Too many times I see a witty remark retweeted in my stream, and I head on over to find out more about the original tweeter, and find that there’s a logo as a profile pic, no actual “about me info” and a link to their website that’s not a blog or a link to a twitter follow group. This, tells me nothing. NOTHING. So I move along, never to think about that tweeter with the witty remark again. That’s a connection lost. Don’t lose your opportunity of making a connection.
Facebook Fanpages with a Secret Admin
Every Facebook Fanpage needs an admin. Does that admin have to be known as Admin? Does Admin have a face? Admin visits my fanpage and likes it and leaves a comment and a link back to his page. Cool. He’s attempting to socialize. I, personally, have issues with socializing with people with no name and no face. Do I visit his fanpage? Eh, only if I have nothing better to do. And I’m not the only person who thinks like this.
A Comment! A Comment!
Everyone loves it when they see they have a new comment. It means there are people reading your content, visiting your site, willing to interact with you. Do you know how much it sucks to see that there’s a generic gravatar near that comment, a company name where the person’s name should be and a link back to the company website? This person isn’t really trying to interact with me. They’re just trying to lead me back to their website. I may follow strangers online, but never strange strangers with no name or face.
So how do you be personable when socializing?
Create a profile on this following sites. This way, when you comment on someone’s blog, once you signin with your email address, your contact info and a picture will appear. Almost all give you the option to add your social media profile links and a link to your site. Do so. Check out this post for an example of why. Then head over to these sites and fill in every field you can and add your picture, not your logo.
- Google – You probably already have a Google account so just head over to Google’s Main page, you’ll find your name in the top right hand corner, go to View Profile and the edit your profile. And add your picture.
- Blogger – While you’re on the Google site and editing your profile, add a Blogger account to your profile and update the user profile. No need to add a blog; when you’re given that option, you can click on the Blogger logo and it will take you to your profile page where you can add your info and a picture.
- ComLuv Network – Create an account, signup with the same email address you’re using for Gravatar and it should link to your Gravatar account. ComLuv gives you the added ability to leave a link to your most recent post on sites where ComLuv is enabled. Also, if possible, add the comluv plugin to your site. Give your reader the same ability to link their recent post. It’s also a quick way for you to visit your reader’s most recent post.
Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook Profiles
Create a real profile. A profile that has your picture, info about yourself, links to your blog and in Linkedin’s case, your professional history.
Niche Specific Networking Sites
Again, create a real profile. The mom networking sites, give you the option of adding your picture, a link to your site, your twitter info and these sites offer a blog page. This doesn’t mean you need to create posts specifically for the networking site. Nor do you copy and paste a whole post from your site (cause then what’s the point of visiting you). Every time you write a new post for your blog, add an excerpt to your networking site’s blog page. On most sites it comes up in a Member’s Posts section, or something similar. This is added exposure. But, this isn’t a one way street. Make the time to visit other blog pages on the site. Engage. Socialize.
Now go out there and be social and personable while you network!
Comment on posts, “like” fanpages and comment on Facebook posts, take a few polls, engage in twitter conversations and answer Linkedin Qs or comment on forum topics, sharing your knowledge, your experience . . . heck, ask a question yourself, start a topic discussion. It’s socializing, it’s being personable, it’s building relationships.
And if you’re a networking maven and have networking sites to share, please add to the comments section. I’m really only familiar with Mom specific Networking sites and Photography/Imaging groups on Linkedin, so I’d appreciate the suggestions.