Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Advice to Expand Your Social Media Following

As an ardent social media user, I have learned trial by fire how to maximize its use to attract business. I have roughly 3,500 connections on Facebook, about 500 and 500 respectively on Linked-In and Twitter. I've not built up Linked-In and Twitter to the same degree as Facebook for my personal-use reasons. I do get weekly queries and questions about my company 3L Publishing via social media and specifically Facebook. Since I am now an expert by learning hands-on, I want to impart some advice for other prospective social media users who desire to build up business vs. socialize.

How did I get 3,500 connections on Facebook. Am I famous? No. Did I create a sort of fame? Yes. Here is how I got that many connections over a three-year period.

Public Relations -- in the beginning I did a lot of promotion for my company 3L Publishing. I still try to do a lot of promotion, but these days my time is more crunched in project work. One key exposure, though, will roll in interest and connections. For me that exposure came from a feature story in the national magazine Success Magazine. Ongoing exposure in other media has helped propel the company forward, too. Continual exposure in print, online and broadcast media continues to draw in more interest.

Focused Attention -- you can spread yourself too thin and spend too much time on social media. It's an attractive waste of time if you don't use it right. I always advise clients to find their comfort zones, which means pick your media. I prefer Facebook, because it doesn't restrict word count or what I can post. The lynchpin is you have to participate in the community. You can't spend all your time interacting only on your wall. You have to interact with others in your community. Also, pick a specific time of day in which you use it. I like mornings and late afternoons.

A few key tips about your profile:

  • Don't get too personal or too deep. I've made that mistake a few times. It backfires if you're trying to appear somewhat neutral for the business community. My wise-cracking ways have been construed as not particularly funny by some uptight individuals. Of course, I wouldn't want to work with an uptight person anyway, but in our way-too-open society, something needs to stay sacred. So while I give my connections a glimpse into my life, I try not to reveal too much. I even took down my relationship status because my personal life has been in-flux. My concern was that prospective clients might perceive my personal changes as unstable when for me it's just a transitionary period in my life. Now be prepared that with a lack of relationship status you'll get hit on by those on social media who are there to meet new people. 
  • Make sure you use an attractive profile picture. I really don't like to see a car or "big gun" in lieu of a face. I don't like to see logos either. If I'm talking to a "car" it's impersonal. I assume it's a guy, but you know women like cars, too. No profile picture is a detractor, too. It feels rather impersonal and disconnected, and again, I don't know who I am talking to. Unattractive, grainy or just bad pictures aren't good either. Try and get a nice, attractive picture. Remember people are attracted to attractive people -- it's a consequence of a visual society. So, don't throw up some grainy picture that looks like your police station booking shot.

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