These days a bit of shameless self-promotion across social media is an accepted part of any entrepreneur’s promotional kit. A 360-degree insight into both the personal and professional life of an entrepreneur is not only beneficial to success but fast becoming a necessity. Beach holiday snaps interspersed with comments on industry news and sharing relevant articles are commonly accepted as networking activity.
As an entrepreneur, your personal online presence is just as valuable as the online presence of your business.
Why, why, why?
Does the thought of splashing yourself and your business across Facebook send shivers down your spine? Got a social media phobia? Time to put your concerns aside and accept the fact that the lines between face-to-face networking and online networking have blurred into one. The most important things an entrepreneur needs is a good reputation, solid networks and the ability to promote their business ventures. And these days, this is done both online and offline.
In the world of social media, it’s ok to shamelessly promote yourself. I can’t imagine walking into a networking event and immediately giving a new contact a run down of how many connections you have, how many articles you’ve published as well as your entire work history and list of current projects. The chances are that person would be looking to make a speedy exit. But on social media, that’s exactly what you can do without coming across as the weirdo at the party.
Here are 8 ways to get the most out of your social media activity
Have a plan of attack
As with any form of digital marketing, it will only be successful if you know who your target audience is and which social networks they use. No point talking to those who aren’t interested. Pick the best social media platforms for you and don’t feel the need to be on every single one. There’s more harm in having a dormant social media account than there is in not having it at all.
Good social media is about giving and taking. Use social media networks to promote yourself but also to learn from others. Follow those whose work you admire, those who are doing big things in your industry and generally those who will make you better at what you do.
Social media is casual. Ultimately, your social media networking will work better if there is a human side to it. Allow your personality to come through and you’re more likely to appeal to others.
Engage in conversation, don’t make it a one-way diatribe about your own awesomeness (it will get boring, quickly). After all, there’s a reason it’s called “social”. Provide information that is helpful and interesting to your audience. Share articles and information written by others and credit them. Mix up the type of content you post – videos, images, articles and a bit of humour thrown in.
The time trap
Social media can be a very effective way of losing hours of your day to distraction. Some entrepreneurs get others to do their social media for them, but there’s an argument to say that it just won’t have the same authenticity if it’s not done in your own voice. Set some strict timelines around how much time you spend on social media each day. There are some good social media management platforms out there like Hootsuite or SproutSocial that allow you to update all of your networks from one place.
Think first, post later
Once it’s out there, it’s out there. While you may think you have safely deleted an inappropriate tweet prompted by a minor brain malfunction – trust me, that tweet will live on. Followers or media outlets can easily screen shot and copy the tweet so that it lives on .. and on.
Keep it fresh
Keep your finger on the pulse and be a creator of new information, rather than just sharing the information of others. As an entrepreneur, you’re expected to be a big picture thinker.
Grow your following
With a focus on fresh interesting content, your major focus should be on growing your following, giving you maximum reach.
Which social media platforms are best for entrepreneurs?
As the world’s largest professional network, it goes without saying that any worthwhile entrepreneur should be on LinkedIn looking to expand their network. Use the platform wisely and you will have created a place to not only showcase your experience and skills but also your value as a thought leader. LinkedIn is designed for the purpose of generating leads and doing business with others, so make sure your profile is always looking sharp.
A tip on Linked In: Rather than using the “share an update” button on Linked In, choose “publish a post”. This way you’ll ensure your article remains linked to your profile.
The most effective way to use Twitter is to actually USE twitter. Get involved in conversations, engage with others and respond quickly. Twitter offers the opportunity to listen in on conversations that you would never have had access to before. Follow those who will make you better at what you do
A tip on Twitter: Make your twitter account more valuable by creating your own unique hashtag. Richard Branson’s #readbyrichard validates that Branson has indeed read the information he is sharing.
Around since early 2015, branded.me offers the entrepreneur a great way to create a professional and attractive profile website. The branded.me profile pages are visually very appealing and are user-friendly.
A tip on branded.me: branded.me is even easier if you have a LinkedIn account as the site automatically builds your personal website page by pulling information fro your LinkedIn page.
In many cases, social media is a more effective way of networking and engaging with others than face-to-face as it spans industries, countries and time zones. You would have to go to a lot of networking sessions and after-work drinks to get the kind of reach that a good LinkedIn profile and Twitter account will get you.