When starting a business, the word “free” is music to your ears, so two areas where you can market your new business freely is through networking and social media! However, networking and social media shouldn’t be thought of as the poor man’s advertising. In fact, these areas are a crucial piece in building a brand in today’s market. But before you get started, here is the cliff note version of the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to dominating these areas.
- Do attend as many networking events as you can to get your name out there. You never know what business connections or future clients you might meet. However, the key here is to be personable!
- Don’t talk all about yourself or jump into what your company might be able to do for them. No one likes a pushy sales guy, so don’t be that guy (or girl)!
- Do treat the experience as a first date – engage them, ask questions and genuinely act interested in what they are saying. Then, if you have something that might help them out or be of interest to them, mention it casually.
- Do exchange business cards. You want to be able to follow up with your new contact so make sure to swap cards.
- Don’t immediately go home and call them! Haven’t you heard this in dating? Well it’s also true in business! You don’t want to appear desperate. Give it a day or two and follow up with an e-mail. This way they can respond when they have time and if you don’t get a response, well then you get the hint.
- Do dress professional. Its fine to dress casual but it is quite another to wear your ripped jeans and tennis shoes. First impressions are key and although people say they don’t judge, they totally do. So dress to impress!
- Don’t over post. Yes your fans and followers want to hear about your business but they don’t want so much info that it is consuming the whole homepage of their Facebook.
- Do update regularly. (Now I know I just said don’t over post, so there is a fine line between too much info and not enough info). With that being said, the thing I dislike the most is when a company or restaurant hasn’t updated content for over a month or for that matter over a week. By not updating regularly it makes it seem as if you don’t care about your followers. Your followers are your biggest fans so keep them updated!
- Do link your social media sites together. If you have a website you should have a social media widget connecting all your pages together. If you are on Facebook you should list your other social media links and so on. This is important so that your customers and clients can easily fan you, tweet you or follow your blog. Without the links in plane sight most likely your following won’t know you are even using social media.
- Don’t make it all about you. Yes, your fans and followers want to be updated on your latest business happenings but they also want to be engaged. Throw out questions to your audience (example: If you’re a restaurant, ask your fans what there favorite dish is or if you are a boutique, what trends are your fans loving). These types of engaging questions allow your audience to interact with you. They can also be a source of inspiration and insight into what your audience likes, dislikes etc.
- Do post interesting and relative articles to your social media sites. Did you read an interesting article that relates to your business? Well I’m sure your following would love to be able to read about it too!
- Do synchronize your social media layouts. By this I don’t mean they need to be identical, but they all should have your logo as your profile picture, similar colors and flow between sites. The last thing you want is a hodge-podge of social media with no real overall design concept.
Vanessa Daigle is co-owner of Marketing Mix Studio, a full service marketing agency focused towards small businesses and non-profits. You can read our blog at www.marketingmixstudio.blogspot.com or visit our website at www.marketingmixstudio.com