Five easy ways to utilise the networking in social networking
In order to get the most from your social networking and digital media campaigns, businesses must be sure that they are not focusing too much time on the ‘social’ (interacting with existing contacts or clients) and neglecting the ‘networking’ (reaching out to potential contacts and clients).
With this in mind, listed below are five handy hints on what businesses could be doing to maximise its social networking prowess – it’s not rocket science, but it does take a bit of confidence:
- Sometimes it is the blurring of lines between the social and the business that makes us weary of taking a big step towards online networking…so decide which networks you want to use for business purposes and which you want to reserve for your social contacts –you might focus on Twitter and LinkedIn for business purposes and reserve Facebook for catching up with friends.
- Make full use of Twitter and LinkedIn to catch up with old work mates – particularly if you are not still in regular contact now, it can be the easiest way to find out what they are doing. Their career might have taken a new turn or they could be working within a company that is particularly relevant to yours, use the opportunity to re-instate a mutual business connection.
- Engage with people – if used properly, social networking should not just be about linking up with people you already know, it should be about extending your networks. On Twitter, seek out the experts within your sector and try and engage with them – respond to their queries with your point of view. It may take a while to establish a connection, but demonstrating your professional credentials and providing interesting insight can help this along…
- Be proactive – create your own group on LinkedIn. That is not to say you should do it for the sake of doing it, but have a browse around the groups and see if there are any gaps that might enable to you to communicate with like-minded individuals. If you don’t quite have the confidence to create your own group, you should be actively contributing to the groups that are particularly relevant to your business. Sharing advice and seeking advice from others is the best way to build up business relationships.
- Once you have started to make some contacts online, have the confidence to ask them to meet in person for a coffee. This gives you the opportunity to put a face to the name and turn your virtual relationship into a real life connection…
Online business networking can take the difficult part out of face to face networking – when you finally meet up you already know a bit about your contact and so conversation and information sharing should flow more easily. Its networking, the easy way!
How to Tweet without looking like a Twit…
The realm of micro-blogging can be daunting for those not familiar with it – conveying something interesting/informative/mildly amusing in just 140 characters can take a while to adjust to.
Twitter may not be the right social media networking tool for all organisations (and TwelvePR can advise you on this) but for those looking to engage directly with stakeholders and join the online conversation it is a must. Twitter currently has over five million users from all walks of life, providing companies and individuals with the opportunity to reach out to a number of target audiences, all in one place.
Below are Twelve top-tips to help your company or organisations Tweet with confidence and consistency, giving you some handy hints to Tweeting the Twelve way…
- Your username should include reference to your company/organisations/projects name and if possible some reference to the industry you are in e.g. TwelvePR. Seems obvious but many make the mistake of going for just one or the other – which either hinders those that already know your company and are searching for it by name from finding you, or hinders those that are searching for a Twitter feed about PR. If you can’t include both though, the company name is more important – there are hundreds of PR (insert relevant sector here) companies on Twitter so yours might not even make the front page…
- Encourage other members of the team to update the Twitter page so that it doesn’t become a burden for just one person – this can be done in a number of ways, having a weekly rota, for example, and include people’s initials on the end to indicate who has posted the update. Alternatively draw up a style guide for tweeting that everyone can use to Tweet in the preferred company style.
- If you are tweeting on behalf of your company, don’t tweet your personal updates in the first person – it can get pretty confusing for your followers (unless your company has decided to rotate contributors and use initials after updates).
- Stick to company messaging – this should not mean making your page boring in the slightest, but all those tasked with updating Twitter should know what the company is and isn’t comfortable discussing in the public domain and should stick to it.
- Don’t post links as standalone posts – it does not make it enticing for people to click through. The post should include a brief summary of what the link is about, e.g. ‘Twelve’s top-tips for Tweeting’ followed by the link. IF the 140 character limit is causing you a headache here you can use sites such as tiny url to reduce the number of characters in the link.
- Do include links to industry stories hosted on sites other than your own – this demonstrates an awareness of the current issues facing the industry(ies) in which your company operates.
- Remember to include company news as well – staff news, job vacancies, account wins, weather updates. This adds a bit of personality to your company – but shouldn’t descend into office gossip, there is a fine line.
- When you are updating content on your website – news stories, press releases, new sections – highlight this on your Twitter page to drive traffic to you brand spangling new work.
- Do engage with fellow-tweeters. If someone you are following posts something that is of interest to you, reply to them and engage in the debate.
- Search for and follow journalists and publications that are relevant to your sector – it is important to keep up with the issues that they are covering and/or interested in.
- You don’t need to follow everyone that follows you – only follow accounts that are relevant to you, otherwise you TwitterFeed will become unmanageable.
- Use the lists function to organise your account, e.g. trade associations, journalists etc., it will be much easier to find the specific updates you are looking for.
And for a bonus tip because I am generous like that:
- Make sure that you update content regularly!!!! There is nothing worse than old and stale news on your Twitter page….
Disclaimer: the above is intended as a guideline only, for tailored advice on your company’s social media requirements drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org