Creating own social media presence that works for your firm
From Business Daily Create a social media presence that highlights your expertise,” I once told a room full of entrepreneurs. “And that will do more to drive business to your site than anything else you can afford during your start-up phase.” Then an audience member asked a familiar question that I have come to dread. I talk to a lot of business audiences about how they can use social media to build their reputation, and there’s always someone who wonders if that strategy is really viable within his market, field or budget. “How could this work for me?” asked a man who runs a small chain of language schools and is seeking to increase the demand for his after-school classes for kids. “What’s the best way to get more customers for my schools?” Businesspeople around the world can create top online portals in their markets, too, if they can find a unique way to speak directly to customers.
Here are five ways to do it:
Use vocabulary that speaks to the market. Usually I advise people to avoid jargon, but if you are trying to reach a specific professional audience, jargon can work in your favor. Using language that is specific to your market – particularly words that are frequently searched online – can help ensure that your website comes up in the results when people search for a topic within your field.
Focus on a location. Maybe yours won’t be the top English-language website about early childhood language education in the entire US, but perhaps you can provide the top English-language Twitter feed for early education resources in Pittsburgh, or the most comprehensive set of YouTube videos about dance studios in Los Angeles, or the best blog about job recruitment strategies in the Southwest. Define your location focus very clearly (in the name of your blog or in your Twitter handle and description) and make sure that a solid majority (70 per cent or more) of your content is geographically specific.
Focus on one demographic. One of the drivers of social-media success is having a clear voice with plenty of personality. But it’s hard to create an online presence that appeals to everyone. Defining the demographics of your target customers at the outset can help determine your voice and focus. Then you can tailor your message accordingly: Market software to aspiring chief information officers with a Twitter feed geared toward midlevel tech managers, or pitch your restaurant to the after-work drinks crowd with videos that appeal to 20-something singles.
Add a keyword. If you search for skiing videos, you’ll see how hard it would be to market your ski resort by attempting to create the definitive website on skiing technique. But add the keyword “telemark” to your search, and the field narrows by 97 percent. So find the keyword that represents your area of greatest strength, and focus on being the top expert in that subarea. Often it’s a matter of identifying an intersecting point between two different topics: You may not be able to create the top website on action movies or athletic gear, but you can develop the top site for athletic gear spotted in action movies. You may not be the top expert on banking or women-owned businesses, but you can produce the top Twitter feed offering banking and finance advice for women-owned businesses. Focus on Facebook.
Familiarise yourself with Facebook and Google, which allow you to advertise in slightly different ways. Facebook lets you target customers by age, education level, interests and relationship status (among other things); Google lets you target by gender, location, the electronic device being used to search, and, of course, by the keywords your potential customer has typed in. If you’re focusing your social media presence (and especially your Facebook presence) on a demographic that Facebook’s ads can target – like single, college-educated women who are interested in travel – you’ll find it that much easier to use ads to build awareness of your online efforts.