If you are still on the fence about how to use social media to grow your small business, now is a great time to get started. Keep in mind that it takes a long-term commitment to become a social media superstar, but it can be done - even with all the noise in the marketplace online. I was recently interviewed on Twitter by the Women Speakers Association about how I built the SmallBizLady brand and monetized my social media machine. Here are some excerpts from my interview on how to become a social media brand in demand.
You write a lot about "friend-raising" on social media. What does that mean?
"Friend-raising" is what you must do first if you ever hope to do business with a social media contact. People do business with people they like, know and trust, especially online. It's much harder to build relationships. You must put your time in to become a part of the online community and make friends then, people will support your business.
How can you use social media to build a small business brand?
You should join in on the conversation where your best target customers are already online. Seek opportunities to position yourself as an expert. Look for places to demonstrate your expertise. Start blogging NOW. Serious business bloggers post new content two to three times per week.
What is #SmallBizChat?
Every Wed 8-9 pm ET I host a weekly tweetchat for small business owners called #SmallBizChat. The mission of #SmallBizChat is to end small business failure. Each week we feature a guest and fans jump in with answers, too. We are the longest running chat for small business owners on Twitter. We started in Apr 2009, and have had over 200 shows. Here's how to participate in #SmallBizChat.
What are the 6 C's of social media marketing?
• Connect online with any new contacts.
• Communicate regularly with your contacts; don't just try to see how many connections you can make. Reach out to your contacts to build report.
• Share Compelling Content. Look for places to share content about your subject matter expertise, consider starting a blog and be sure to share other people's content, too.
• Be Consistently Resilient. Once you start sharing content you must keep it up. It takes 7-21 contacts to build a new relationship online.
• Build Community Once you start sharing content regularly, you must engage with people and build personal relationships.
• Turn The Relationship into Commerce. Once you have like, know and trust with people, they will do business with you and you can turn your connection into commerce.
What does it mean to be a brand in demand?
When you build a powerful social media brand, corporations will come banging down your door to do business with you. It means that you no longer need to explain your solutions to customers. They already know what you do and your conversation becomes about price and availability. It's the ideal position to be in as a small business owner or expert in your field.
What is the HELP Mantra?
The HELP Mantra is an acronym that stands for:
- Help Others First: I was on Twitter a year before attempting to sell anything.
- Engage with People: Gone are the days of one way communication, people want to get to know you.
- Listen First: Don't assume you know the culture of the different social media sites. Facebook people are not like Twitter people. Make sure you are communicating the way people are using the specific social media site.
- Promote Yourself with Care: Use a 4-to-1 ratio of sharing other people's content over your own.
What is the first thing you should do to have an impact with social media?
Pick just one social media site to focus on. Don't kill yourself trying to do five social media sites a day. Dominate one! Make sure you have a helpful website, make sure you know where your target customer is online and develop a content strategy. Start developing content 1-2 months before you launch your blog. Have a specific point of view; nobody pays attention to a "me too" brand. Have something to say.
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady, is America's #1 small business expert. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business startup, business development and social media marketing to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. She writes a weekly column on social media for The New York Times. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9 p.m. ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog Melinda is also the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works and the ebook: How To Become A Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.