Three social media tips to transform your business’ fortunes

Let’s put this to rest, once and for all: tomorrow’s popular websites will be the ones who are active on social networks. As far back as 2010, Tech Crunch observed that the amount of web traffic from social networks is rivalling, and in some cases overtaking, traffic coming from the search engines. And alongside this, the search engines are taking social media more and more into account as they generate their results.

It means that social media is not a fad, nor is it something for kids: done well, it can supercharge the success of your business.

Write down what you want to achieve

Before you even go near a computer, it’s imperative that you actually establish what you want to get out of your social media activity. Write down the job titles of the people your business would benefit most from connecting with, followed by the things you want these people to do once they’ve connected with you. This is one of the most important things you can do – the more you can focus on the results you want to achieve, the more likely you are to actually achieve them. Write it all down and stick it on the wall as a constant reminder for you and your team.

Use social networks to improve your real-world networking

No matter which social network you’re using, the rules are pretty much the same: see these platforms as ways to find and connect with real people that you want to get to know offline. As a B2B business, it’s much better to make a handful of quality contacts than to have a vast number of followers who barely know who you are. Use tools from Twitter and third parties such Tweepi and Twellow to start following people who could help your business, or buy from it. Read what they’re posting about and, when you see them posting about a common interest, post an interesting and useful response. After you’ve got to know each other a little over the computer, you can suggest meeting for coffee.

Get to grips with LinkedIn

A goldmine of searchable business contacts, LinkedIn is a hugely underrated resource – my business won £2,000 worth of work after spending an hour on this platform. It’s pretty straightforward to use: after you’ve established the job titles of the people you want to connect with, use LinkedIn’s people search tool to quickly track them down. You may be able to send friendly messages to the people you find, pointing out what you both have to gain from connecting. If LinkedIn doesn’t let you do this, their profile should show you which LinkedIn groups they’re a member of, so you can start communicating with them through their group conversations. Either way, LinkedIn is a platform that can revolutionise the success of your business – you owe it to yourself to invest an hour or two to learn how it works.

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About Cate Trotter

Cate Trotter is the Head of Trends at Insider Trends. She regularly speaks at events around Europe, covering trends in a variety of industries. Clients include names such as Marks & Spencer, Philips, Clarks, Absolut Vodka, JWT, American Express and a range of SME's. The Institute of Directors, in association with the Insider Trends, will be hosting the B2B Social Media Crash Course on 17 April 2012. For more information, visit www.iod.com/dgbreakfastbriefings
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