Over the past decade, the importance of social media in business settings has grown exponentially, so much so, that LinkedIn was created to specifically cater to that community. While sites like Facebook and Twitter were once thought of as places to share what you ate for breakfast, or how long you ran on your morning outing, that’s no longer their sole purpose.
Now, we’re having meaningful conversations through these mediums, and it’s become a way for people across the world to connect with one another, and share their ideas on digital marketing, strategic positioning, and countless other business topics that could very well fill a book. With the increased importance on these social sites, it’s paramount that we understand how to best utilize these tools that are now at our disposal 24/7. To help with the learning process, we’ve been lucky enough to speak with social influencers from various backgrounds, and asked them how they approach social media.
Today, this series continues, as we add responses from Lorraine C. Ladish, Adam Houlahan, Lilach Bullock, Irene Becker, and Hope Brookins; all of whom have experienced great success on social media.
Founder of VivaFifty.com
I don’t take social media lightly. It has turned my life around. I was a print writer and journalist and lost all my sources of income during the last recession in 2008-2009. I also lost my marriage. I had nothing. Through Facebook I met someone who gave me my first gig writing online, and I never looked back. Social media helped me take my writing career online and make a full-time living with it, supporting a family of five.
I am still kicking myself that I did not join Twitter the year it was launched. I thought it was a waste of time. I ended up proving myself wrong down the road. Now I never dismiss a new social media platform right off the bat. I spend more time and energy on the platforms that I enjoy the most and forget the rest. I enjoy Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram because that’s where I have the most reach and engagement.
Twitter is still the one place where you can connect directly with anyone and I have received many professional opportunities through it. Facebook is vital for my digital publication and blog because it is a huge traffic driver. I do have a monthly budget just for Facebook. Instagram allows me to connect with other midlife women, digital entrepreneurs, and yogis, three things that I’m passionate about. I like Periscope and Snapchat because they allow me to connect more intimately with those who are interested in what I have to say.
I am signing my next book deal with one of the largest publishers in the U.S. and that would most likely not be happening if I didn’t have a large and wide social media platform. I can’t stress the importance of being active on social media if you want to further your career, no matter what field you are in or how old you are.
CEO, Web Traffic That Works
Social media as a tool for business has many applications. The top platforms have all moved out of their initial market acceptance stages, and are looking to gain a return on their huge set-up costs.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to name just a few have robust advertising options with good quality targeting to reach your ideal clients. This essentially means even start up companies can gain access to their target markets provided they have the budget to do so, and the systems in place to deliver their product or service in a competitive environment.
This however is really just the low hanging fruit that many companies default to in the absence of the tools or knowledge to leverage what I believe to be the true power of social media. The ability to position yourself or your brand as a thought leader or the go to option in your industry. This does take some time to develop and requires a well designed long term strategy that is measurable.
This is how we use social media with great effect, our advertising budget as far as paid media both online and in traditional channels is negligible. Yet we create a consistent flow of high quality leads who are not price conscious. They are results [oriented] and looking to partner with service providers with a proven track record, and whom demonstrate social responsibility and a real purpose behind their brand.
Creating this type of lead generation architecture is often the most powerful long term approach. A good strategy would have short, medium, and of course long term goals. In the short term, using the simple paid strategies the top platforms offer is a valid approach. This allows you to test and measure if the market is actually looking for your offer. A mid term approach would be to build your audience and create brand advocates that give you that all important third party endorsement that future clients will place great importance on. Whilst at the same time developing your content and delivering as much high value information and tools that is converting your connections to advocates and future clients.
End result is that consistent flow of educated leads with whom you have already created trust, respect, and had multiple touch points with.
This is one of the most powerful uses of social media if your business has what it takes to be a major player in your industry.
Social Media & Online Marketing Consultant & Trainer, www.LilachBullock.com
Social media has been instrumental in shaping my career and business; in fact, I would go so far as to say that without it, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to the point I am today.
I think the main thing that social media has helped me with over the years is that it’s helped me make a name for myself, and become a known social media influencer worldwide.
Now, I use social media for a lot of reasons, as continuous, smart use can get you a lot of great results. My blog, for example, is a big part of my business, and social media constantly brings in a lot of traffic, and a high proportion of the social media traffic also converts into subscribers. I’ve found potential clients directly by using social media and clients have used it to find me, especially via Twitter and LinkedIn.
I also use a lot of tools to help me get the best results, particularly Agorapulse, as it helps me keep track of all my social media, and helps me make sure I always respond to important messages.
Social networks are also useful for making connections, which has helped me a lot over the years with finding guest blogging and speaking opportunities.
It’s almost impossible to list all of the ways social media has helped me, but I will say that without it, it would be much more expensive and time consuming to promote my business, get readers on my blog, and meet new, valuable connections.
Executive Coach-Speaker-Writer-Social Media Influencer Specializing in Communication, Leadership, and Career Results
“How do you best utilize social media to your advantage?”
The simplest answer is by understanding what social media offers, what you want to achieve and developing a social media strategy to get you there. Social media is a content rich, opinion filled stream of ideas and thoughts that can be profoundly important to not only business development and brand recognition, but to the business intelligence that is required to innovate and succeed. Social media allows us to develop relationships, and relationships are the basis for our greatest discoveries, best business and best lives.
Some of the most common advantages of using social media and/or developing a social media footprint include:
Business intelligence (understanding what your competitors are doing and what the marketplace is saying)
Customer intelligence (customer knowledge and care/service)
Lead generation (inbound marketing)
Exposure to thought leaders and new ideas
Exposure to new people, networks and potential strategic allies
Development of a community of purpose around your message and mission.
In a connected world, in a global marketplace, your ability to survive and thrive depends upon your ability to stay relevant and developing your social media footprint allows you to do just that. What do you want to learn? What do you want to share? Who do you want to meet/connect with? What kind of voice/presence do you want to project for the world? What is your message and how will you use it? Do you need someone to help you build your social media voice and who will that person or team be?
Listening to what is happening, keeping abreast of what is new, what is changing and having the ability to feel the pulse of what is important to your world, your constituency is one of the most important and exciting things social media has to offer. Social media is a robust and growing learning and listening tool that should not be overlooked.
Event Planner & Millennial Influencer
I use social media to establish myself as an expert and online celebrity. When I quit my job to start an online based business, I quickly realized that the industry was full of online business and branding strategists. Social media was a free way to differentiate myself from my competitors by showing them my knowledge and establishing credibility.
My ‘tweets’ and ‘grams’ and ‘snaps’ all give followers a peek into the projects I’m working on and who I’m collaborating with. When I have interactions with other major industry players or am seen at events with other experts, I’m able to further establish my professional credibility. This is a must in the online world. Even the content that I retweet from others shows the other industry experts I’m inspired by shows my followers that we’re aligned with the same people.
The best part? It worked.
Since I began to share my life on social media, I’ve been able to grow my business presence immensely. From being featured in magazines to filming a pilot for a reality show, endless business opportunities have come and continue to come because of social media.
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