If your business doesn’t yet have a presence in some sort of social network, you’re behind the curve. Although it can seem overwhelming, you’ll never learn how until you simple get started. It’s true you can make a lot of mistakes when using social networking sites, but if you follow a few simple rules of social networking etiquette you’ll be fine.
Using social networks only to send bulletins and promote your business is bad form. The first thing you want to do is create an engaging profile. It’s often the first thing people notice. Taking the time set up a simple bio page is well worth the effort. If you’re over thirty it may be difficult to grasp the personal nature of online networks.
When I went through on-campus recruiting for accounting firms in 1997 it was all about the navy suit and the ability to make vanilla small talk. We were taught to blend. Not anymore. Today’s networking is all about showing your true self. You also want to have a nice picture to add to your perceived professionalism and trustworthiness. A stock avatar says you have something to hide! The bottom line is that people want to do business with someone they feel like they know.
Even if the profile is for the business, not you the person, make sure it has a personality and something to share – not just something to sell!
Of course you’re participating in social networking to promote your business. We know that, so you don’t have to say it. Make sure you share things other than how wonderful your business is, and whatever you do never place ads in the comments of friends’ accounts. Keep your promotion and banners on your own profile. Social networking is all about connecting and being helpful.
Remember – in social networking you don’t control the conversation.
The thought of keeping even one social networking site updated can be overwhelming if you let it. Multiply that by multiple sites and it can get out of control quickly. It’s best to start with one site and decide up front how often you will update your status, post information, and check in with your network. In my opinion regularity is more important that how much or how often you contribute. You may log on once a week or once a day. As long as you’re consistent you’re building up credibility.
When you share you may brighten or enlighten, and that’s what makes friends. Once you do that, you just may find your business growing as well.