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Making social media work for you and your business

by on June 11, 2012 in Lead story, Retail News, Small Business, Startups

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. They can all help small businesses connect with your customers and find expert advice. Lucy Whittington explains how

Social media is about connecting, communicating and being visible. Done right it gives you the ability to connect with clients, partners, suppliers, the press, celebrities and, most importantly, experts in your sector.

Where to begin

When they hear the words ‘social media’ most people immediately think of the big three services – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But social media also includes blogging, YouTubePinterestGoogle+ and a whole host of other sites that allow you to connect and communicate.

But there’s a reason that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the main sites we think of when we talk about social media so, to begin with, let’s start there.

Twitter

Twitter is for comments, connection and quick communication. You’re limited to 140 characters in your Tweets so it’s like sending a text about what you’re doing, what’s happening, what you’ve read, how you can help, your opinion, your know how and more.

You can search Twitter to find people talking (tweeting) about what you do and join in the conversation. Don’t feel hesitant about talking to someone you don’t know, it’s the perfect opportunity to show what your company can do, or to ask advice from someone you respect. It’s the easiest start to social media as it’s open, inviting and everyone can join in.

Facebook

Facebook allows you to say more and come back to conversations easily – it’s about friendship and relationships. You can set up groups (I have a secret Facebook group that acts like a private forum for all my clients), promote events or share videos and photos.

You can also set up a business page (or several) on Facebook to share what your business is doing openly. A Facebook business page is a perfect way to connect with clients, share feedback, act as a customer service portal, make offers and share opinions.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is viewed as the business social media site but it’s much more than a place to list your CV. You can search connections, join active groups in your industry and interests, offer answers and ask for help. If you’re in B2B you need to be using LinkedIn to make connections and have conversations.

LinkedIn is also a great place to look for help and advice. Joining groups allows you to ask questions, find mentors and connect with people in your industry who have been where you are now.

Whatever you do on social media and whichever you decide to use for you and your business, be you. Don’t change your voice, your tone, your ideas or your opinions. We want to get to know, as you. I’ll see you there (do say hello!).

Lucy Whittington runs Being a Business Celebrity. You can follow her on Twitter @LucyWhittington

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