Nearly two-thirds of Americans use social networking sites, with 19 percent influenced in purchasing behaviors by social media. And that pales in comparison to the staggering 47 percent of millennials influenced by social media when making a purchasing decision.
With promotions, digital advertising and easily accessible consumer reviews, social media has become a vital, permanent part of the buying cycle. Companies and their marketing teams must weave social throughout marketing plans, aiming for high reach and consumer engagement. For small business owners, this task requires a blend of personal social media with a professional persona ¾ creating a personal brand that speaks to their professional services.
Read on for a few of our tips to help get you started on three high-profile social mediums.
Tip 1: Brush up on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is an easy place to start building your personal brand in a professional capacity. And to do this, it just takes some basic tweaks to how your normally approach social.
- If your profile picture is a selfie or features your significant other or dog, it’s time for a new headshot. (Unless you work with dogs, of course.) Have a friend or coworker snap a genuinely nice smile in a neutral space.
- Have an open profile. Don’t be a creep ¾ let others see when you’re checking out their credentials. This isn’t middle school and you’re not spying on your crush at soccer practice. Be an adult and let others see when you are professionally interested.
- Customize your public URL. Understand that this is one of those small things that shows you know your way around LinkedIn. Custom URLs and description keywords help your profile index on search engines.
- Use LinkedIn as an extension of your resume. Plug in project PDFs, and link to blog posts for better examples of your work. And don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations of former clients or colleagues.
- Become a thought leader. Post industry news and reviews in your updates, and leverage LinkedIn groups for recommendations and new ideas.
Most importantly, remember that LinkedIn is a professional social channel, meant to be used like an in-person networking event. It is not Facebook and therefore not the place to post pictures of your sweetie and last night’s dinner. On that note…
Tip 2: Clean up Facebook.
While Facebook is likely your most personal social channel, if you can’t stop sharing cat videos and letting Aunt Marge comment on your political views, tighten privacy controls on your personal page and consider moving to a professional page.
In addition to metrics, demographic insights and boosting capabilities, a professional page will give your adoring audience public access without having to vet friend requests. Even better, shared public posts penetrate the networks of fans, increasing message reach and potentially attracting new followers. And finally…
Tip 3: Mind Your Manners.
Your goal may be professionalism, but you’re not a robot. Roll up your Internet sleeves and participate in discussions, ask questions and voice your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Remember that social media is not a hit and run, so be regular in commenting and create a give-and-take dialogue with both followers and colleagues.
Creating a professional social media presence can be a lot like an awkward evening networking event. But with a little finesse and personality, you can create a presence that both conveys your brand and individual personality.