Social media – ho, ho, oh

We’re all very busy people in winter what with Christmas shopping and social events to fit in around work so it’s no surprise to hear, “I don’t have time to do social media.” When I started my business the nearest thing we had to social media was an ad in the local paper and a listing in the Yellow Pages so how on earth do you decide what social media you actually need to do?

The obvious candidates are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ and, if you decide to, you can look at the more specialised sites but these are a good place to start.

You don’t need all of these but Twitter and LinkedIn are the bare essentials. Both allow networking socially whilst promoting your business and you can reach people, either singly or within groups, that you may otherwise have not met.

Social media doesn’t have to take up great parts of your day and it shouldn’t be something that you approach with a heavy heart – it is allowed to be fun! So – a few guidelines that have worked for me –

Use a platform that will allow you to post to more than one site at once such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. I use one specific to my industry and it means I only have to do a post once for it to reach several places.

Don’t post anything you wouldn’t be happy for the world to see – the internet is the biggest open book in the world!

Set aside time to schedule tweets and update blog posts. Remember people buy from people NOT companies so make them friendly!

Acknowledge. If someone takes the time to comment, mention or retweet you then acknowledge it. Get in the habit of being friendly and good mannered. In some ways the internet and mobile phones have encouraged people to become less formal in their business relationships and common courtesy can be overlooked at times. This isn’t good practice and as they say manners cost nothing!

Find the way that works for you but be prepared to grow and adapt as your profile does.

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