This tutorial will address the three most popular sites: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s important to recognize, though, that there are literally hundreds of social networking sites — many for specific niches that could be valuable for your business. Find out where your clients and prospects spend their time and concentrate on building your presence there.
With over 600 million active users and more joining daily, Facebook has been ranked as the most widely used social networking site in the world. Facebook allows relatively lengthy status updates and comments, so interactions tend to be more conversational in tone. Postings do get buried, but it’s not unusual for people to comment on a status update, photo or video a day or two after it was originally posted. Facebook search doesn’t include specific status updates or comments; it’s more about linking to people you know and the people they know than following specific conversations.
Power User Tips for Facebook:
Expand your reach by taking advantage of Facebook’s business pages, which allow anyone to view your postings without first getting approved as a friend. Think carefully about naming your business page — page names significantly impact SEO rankings and once you reach 200 fans, you can’t change them.
As your creative work evolves over time, remove outdated photos or videos that no longer reflect the quality or direction of your work.
Mine client and prospect status updates, comments and likes to learn more about what interests them. This information can help you refine everything from the mailers you send to the voice mails you leave.
A faster, more ephemeral connection tool, Twitter limits postings to 140 characters maximum. Comments tend to be less formal and more quippy. Conversations happen more or less in real time and frequently end within a matter of hours, so most users recommend checking in at least a few times per day. Twitter’s search function allows you to find any conversation containing keywords you’re interested in, which makes it a great tool for identifying and researching people you might want to know but aren’t already connected to in any way. This same feature means that countless others can find your conversations just as easily, giving Twitter a much greater ability to spread your message far and wide.
Power User Tips for Twitter:
Identify clients and prospects whose work you admire and follow their conversations to learn what interests them. Adding valuable responses to their conversations establishes credibility and helps communicate the intangible benefits of working with you.
Establish yourself as an expert by searching topics of interest (e.g., Architecture) to learn the hash tags used in that sector, then tag valuable information and/or images you post to make them easily findable.
Use Twitter’s powerful search functionality to find people discussing areas of interest to you. Identify active participants in that sector and join their conversations to reach a broader network of people.
An emphasis on business relationships distinguishes LinkedIn from other social networking sites. Status updates function much like Facebook’s, though the expectation is for more formal, professionally oriented content. LinkedIn also allows users to “recommend” each other, thereby creating comments that are permanently visible on someone else’s profile page. LinkedIn’s interface emphasizes professional networking and making connections through existing business relationships. It also provides professional groups that help you build connections beyond your existing network.
Power user tips for LinkedIn:
Add value to your LinkedIn presence by incorporating images through third-party services like Behance.
Build goodwill among LinkedIn connections by pro-actively leaving recommendations on their profiles.
Every time you make a new connection, scan their connections list to see if there’s anyone you’d like to be introduced to. Then, review the update feed on your home page daily to see if your connections have added new contacts you’d like to meet.
Next: Legal Considerations