Article in Business NH Magazine on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for Business

I took a quick scan of my article for Business NH Magazine in April 2011 about Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for Business for those of you not in NH.  Enjoy!

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Transcript (Submission, Pre Edit – Article Clipped Above Has Editor’s Changes)

Make Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Work for Your Business

Businesses have been hearing consultants and the media urge them to jump into social media
for years now. Many business owners wonder how the productivity time sinks of Twitter and
Facebook or the business networking site LinkedIn can be beneficial to their bottom line.

Simply put, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are to businesses now what Microsoft Office and it’s
tools like Excel and Word or Lotus 1-2-3 were to businesses in the past: new tools to master.
These tools can increase your internal productivity and communication, help you find and
hire good help, expand your business reach, stake your claim as a leader in your field, create
avenues to new markets and increase your revenue stream.

Tweeting Your Way To Bigger Reach, Better Employees, Increased Revenue

Twitter can be overwhelming to the new user. It’s not uncommon to feel as though you are
wasting your time in the beginning. It takes a bit of time to build a valuable network on Twitter.
The interactions themselves are easy and instantaneous, but the creation of a solid Twitter
network needs a good foundation or it won’t produce results. How can you be more effective on
Twitter as a business?

1) Be a Human Business: As you embark on this journey, know that people like interacting
with a “human” business these days, feeling like the people that power the company are within
reach. Instead of having your logo as your avatar (the little picture that follows you around
everywhere on Twitter), have the face of the CEO of your company, or a group shot of your
employees, and place your logo as part of the background image. This humanizes your
company to the consumer. Also, sign your tweets with your initials! This helps the consumer
know who they are talking to.

2) Tweet Ratio: Before you get started, keep in mind that a good ratio of sales tweets to
engagement tweets is key to success on Twitter. Business that only advertise their sites and
services without ever having a conversation with people in their Twitter stream, being helpful to
others or promoting others in their field will find no success on this platform.

3) Be consistent! Avoid becoming a social ghost town that dies after only a few interactions.
Have a Twitter engagement schedule and stick to it, even on the days when you don’t think you
have anything to say. At a loss for words? Share something amazing that someone else did, or
simply join someone else’s conversation for the day. The key to growing your Twitter following
and seeing results in your bottom line over time is to remain active and engaged, in an authentic
and believable manner.

Optimizing Facebook for Business

Facebook can be a challenging environment to engage as a business. They tend to change the
way the site looks and operates on a regular basis, which can create time management issues
for the people in charge of managing the corporate account as they try to keep up.

Regardless, Facebook has become invaluable to a business for reaching specific
demographics, for creating targeted and effective ads, for customer investment in a brand, and
for increasing your search engine “juice” via social media optimization on top of typical keyword
search engine optimization.

Some things to remember about Facebook:

1) Always create a fan page (now a “like” page) for your brand, never a personal profile.
Creating a profile for your business as if it were a person is a violation of the Facebook Terms
of Service and gives you access to too much personal information from people who connect
with your brand. A fan page gives you connection but also distance from any privacy and legal
issues that could arise.

2) Use Facebook’s custom tabs tool and FBML (Facebook Markup Language) to make a
landing page for your fan page that converts customers immediately into “likes” for your page
and customers for your business or that adds them to your newsletter mailing list. Remember,
the goal of using all three of these tools is conversion! Your time spent on these sites is only
valuable if, after a few months of engaging, you have increased sales as well as awareness.

3) Once you have 25 likes on your page, grab a custom Facebook URL! Keep in mind that
social media URLs and handles are always first come, first served, so if you are late to the
game, you may not be able to get your exact company name.

Reaching New Business Heights with LinkedIn

LinkedIn has recently decided to emulate Twitter and Facebook by adding more social features.
There are many features now added, but two are the most relevant to a small business owner:
public company pages and public groups.

Public company pages give you a place to tell your LinkedIn network about your company,
services and staff. Of more relevance to you: these pages are visible to new businesses and
people outside of your network, and can include recommendations of your services. This is
huge news – no longer do you have to have people connect with your personal page to give
you a recommendation or endorsement on LinkedIn, now you can have them connect with your
company page instead and recommend the services themselves for all to see.

The advantage of having a topical group or a group for your company or association is that
it gives you a searchable and public platform for customer engagement about your brand or
subject of expertise, and allows your customers a place to talk to you that is not as busy as
Facebook or Twitter and that can have longer, searchable threaded topics.

Time Management Tips For Busy Business Owners

Time management is the number one issue for businesses embarking on an online presence.
There are several steps you can take right now to grow your presence and bottom line online
without giving up your valuable time.

1) Editorial Calendar: Have an editorial calendar for your blog posts, Twitter posts, LinkedIn
updates and group discussion engagement, and Facebook wall posts and then stick to it. One
major post per day on Facebook, minimum; two – five on Twitter (not counting conversations
with others; and one per day on your Linkedin group or page will be a great start. You may find
you need to increase this as you become successful online.

2) Multiple User Management: Trying to have one person in charge of updating your accounts
will only lead to burnout. While one person can and should spearhead the effort online to keep
the brand on course and help direct the engagement, you should have someone form each
department helping you engage. By spreading the work around, you are more like to be diverse
and interesting and to avoid becoming a social media ghost town.

3) Scheduled Checkins: Schedule your social media check ins and brand monitoring to coincide
with other already ingrained daily activities like checking your email. Plan to check in online at
least three times per day. Remember, this includes weekends and evenings (social media never
sleeps!), another reason having many people helping will do wonders to share the load and
create success.

4) Use Tools To Manage Your Activity: Tools like Seesmic.com (seesmic for web), Hootesuite,
CoTweet, Tap11 and more can help you manage your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts
as a company. This helps you schedule posts, and lets everyone on the account see how the
company is engaging and when, to avoid duplication and make sure the right person addresses
the right questions as needed.

This advice has only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding value and success
using the social media tools, but it should get your business started in social media. If you
already had a presence that was not as successful, this should help you get over that hump and
start seeing conversions from engagement to sales and brand awareness.

Article by: Leslie “@leslie” Poston, best selling co-author of (editions 1 and 2) Twitter for Dummies,
speaker, and former owner of Magnitude Media, an emerging media and business development
consulting service. She not only helps businesses grow with these tools, strategy and
adivce, she also offers classes and seminars on social media, which you can read more
about at twitter.com/leslie

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