Social Networking for Business: 8 Tips on How to Relate and Communicate

Since the evolution of communicating online and the formations of social networks, many businesses have shut down the access from their locations. Some might say it is due to the prevention of wasting time and improving time management. Others might be weary of hackers or phishing scams that could possibly be associated with the social networks. Regardless of the reason, blocking access to social sites is hurting your business.

Why It is Important to Establish your Business Online

You need to begin branding your name. Branding is a way to reach various audiences and demographics that may be interested in what you have to sell. Firstly, you must remember that they are people, not customers. Establishing your name on social networks will already alert your fans of who you are and since the various social sites provide places such as info tabs, bios, hours of operation and more, there is no urgency to then turn your social networks into a constant feed of what it is you do. Just make sure that you have filled out all the information areas that each social network provides and those keywords will help people find you online. More importantly, in order for them to find you, you must exist and you must be active.

Why it is Important to Maintain your Social Networks

Many businesses think that if they have the links out there then people will come. This is not only wrong but can hurt your business. Yes, having Social links with your business’s name on them will have your name stretched across the internet and of course people will be able to find you. However, once they do and all they see are empty shells of what they thought would be a community, they will be disappointed and move on. People aren’t impressed with ghost accounts; they want interaction, knowledgeable information, and life breathing from these sites.

That does not mean that pushing links that are related to your business 100% of the time is going to be anymore effective than the empty accounts. Many businesses lose the fact that social networking is to relate and communicate, not to advertise like a pest, and than hope for the best. If you truly want your business to be valued you have to provide value.

Create a welcome video, find article’s online that pertain to your industry and not just your products (even write articles yourself), create a dialogue by asking questions, questions at the end of everything you share is one of the best things you can do. This way people have a choice to engage the page or not, and more so than not, they will.

Opinion’s Matter

The people that you are interacting with are those that could potentially be your current or future customers. They can even possibly be an advocate for your business if they like what they see. You must remember to listen to what they have to say and take the time to respond. The only time you should ever delete a post by a fan is if something is posted to your social sites that have nothing to do with your business. Other than that, whether it is positive or negative feedback you must respond to that customer whether you believe that they are right or wrong. Do not continue the problem by making excuses, choose your post response wisely and always with a solution in hand. Do not just post and not respond. As a fan of whatever social sites you are on, they will want to be heard and the only way they can verify this is by you responding. Remember, their opinion is of great value to you, so you need to be invaluable to them by always putting them first which will validate that you are in fact paying attention.

Let go of the ego, diminish the sell, stop thinking in numbers, and start talking with people, sharing with them and listening to what they are saying to you. The page can be fun and creative and certainly not always about the business. Find a balance between social and professional interactions and success will ensue.

Be Genuine.

Don’t fake it to make it. Share your personality, devote time and effort into the content that you share and find out what it is that your fan base wants. Businesses often lose site of being authentic while utilizing their social networks to push onto people what they think their fans want. Instead ask them. Don’t be afraid to take some risks or to follow through with some suggestions from your fans. Be fearless with ideas and prepare for their failure if that is the case, as the cliché goes “it is better to have tried than not at all”. Your sincerity will be seen and your ability to try again will be appreciated. The only time you can fail is by not giving it a try at all.

It is vital to spend more time on the fans you have (especially the loyal ones) than spending time on luring new fans. If you have a special offer, allow the loyal fans to know first. You can even create a fan of the month to show them how special they are. New fans will find you, maintaining the ones who have stuck by you should always be a priority. Be genuine and honest with your fans and you will earn their respect and build credibility within a long lasting community for your business.

Commit, Don’t Quit

As you can see, a responsibility comes with setting up, maintaining, and monitoring your social networks. It is imperative that you make the choice to commit and to set a plan in motion that you are able to update your pages at a minimum of 1-3 hours a week. Devotion is important and taking the time will work in your favor, as long as you work it into your day. No matter what products you sell people will most likely look for it online prior to approaching your business offline, so it is not only important to create social sites for your business but even more critical to remain as active as you can and to never quit. If you get busy and distracted by other things, remember to always go back and continue the relationship with your fans, even explain where you have been, or have another employee take the control of the sites if you are not available.

Take Control, by Losing Control

Fearing social networking at work is bad for business. You need to lose control. Trust that the same employees that you hired to help run and maintain your business can do so online too. Allow access for your business’s location to social networking sites so you can implement a strategic plan with your employees on how to brand your business online. You can’t do it alone, you need their help, and it will look inviting to your potential fans to see that you have a strong community within your business already. Allow your employees to post, comment, and share opinions. Incorporate them onto your social networks as you do everyday at your company. Make the process and transition between offline branding and online branding easier with allowing access and by encouraging your employees to take part and share the sites with people they know.

Adapt or get lost in the Shuffle

The change has happened. The way we communicate is no longer the same and this goes for businesses as well. You can not stand by and not take part in the new medium of Social Media; it will impair your business. You need to adapt and perform accordingly to be an effective part of this communication shift. You must take time to research, incorporate your employees, maintain your pages, and be genuine. If not, you will get lost within the shuffle.

Take Action

Social Media is an outstanding opportunity to connect and build relationships with your fans. It is of significant importance for you to establish yourself on the variety of social networks that are available to you. Resistance is never helpful when change has occurred and can ultimately damage your hard earned reputation. By not taking action, you run the risk of being over shadowed by your competition, so don’t be idle, get out their and get social. Embrace the change that can now allow you to embark on the new form of relationships between business owners and their customers, not to mention exposing your business’s name to the world, but also a chance to demonstrate just how great your business truly is.

Do you think Social Media is important for business?

Erin Ryan has a passion for Social Media and is currently working within the industry as a Social Media Specialist. Contact Erin on Twitter @4u2wear2

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Read more on this social media blog.

About Erin Ryan

+Erin Ryan is a writer for various Social Media & Tech blogs and currently works as the Director of Social Media for the Internet Marketing Company, Wikimotive. Erin has a keen understanding of the power of Social Media for business and fervently stays up-to-date.

Creator and head editor of Socialeyezer She enjoys finding the latest in social media, tech and geek culture. Erin often expresses her thoughts and opinions on TheErinRyan. Connect through Erin Ryan's About.me Profile

Comments

  1. Verndale says:

    Great read. It’s true – you definitely have to stay active on social networks. As a site owner, you should be aware of Social Media Optimization (SMO), even if you are not a big fan. Here’s a recent post on SMO: http://bit.ly/9y8XMk

  2. Erin,
    Wonderful article written! I have found that many of my business contacts don’t have the time to put into social media because they are too busy using traditional marketing methods! Incredible.

    Rey Ybarra
    @newmediaradiohour

  3. Hi Verdale and Rey!

    Thank you for your comments. I can relate to how difficult it can be to try and explain to a client that Social Media has a lot of power for business growth. However, a strategy, is the easiest way to help keep them on track and active within their Social Media communities. Do You Agree? Much Luck to you both :)

  4. Great article! Just blogged about the need to add actual value with a trackback to your article. Cheers!

  5. Excellent tips! Staying active on Social Networks can be very useful to help your business grow. Thanks for a great article.

  6. I’m not running a business (yet) but I definitely see the importance in social networks. My blog receives a good deal of traffic from twitter and facebook. There is also the importance of using traditional networking techniques in the digital realm. Go to the places potential clients will be, make comments, place links, be active.

  7. Certainly social media is an emerging choice to businesses of all kinds! Because SMM provides you instant traffic/exposure with no cost if you know how to build relationships! Also, today social networks are offering more opportunities for companies to use their features to increase their business too!

  8. Jose! Thank you for your comment and great added tips. ~Erin

  9. adsense alternatives! Thank you for your comment and for taking time to read the article :) I appreciate that you enjoyed it. ~Erin

  10. Awesome Tom! Great points, thanks for the comment, you bring up great points. ~Erin

  11. Allen – Social Media Marketer! Thanks for agreeing! Awesome ~Erin

  12. Completely agree! Thank you. Running it is like a second job but it is a very strong marketing tool. Love the interaction with clients and direct feedback! It’s really neat looking at all of the analytics and discovering what works and doesn’t. Sometimes the most insignificant post/picture is a huge hit.

  13. The concept of social media is almost five years old. While B2C marketers have seen immense potential in this, B2B sellers are just about coming around to the idea. Connection Mapping and reference selling has emerged as the new darling from this new ideology fueled by the Sales 2.0 revolution. Sales Intelligence has taken a turn for the better with the advent and the new age media.

    I talk about more on how B2B salespeople are leveragng this information in my blog post: http://blog.insideview.com/2010/04/27/connecting-the-dots-how-sales-2-0-can-help-you-connect-with-prospects/

  14. I really enjoyed reading your article. You make some very good points. It is imperative that businesses understand that their overall marketing strategy has to include an integrated social media strategy. So many businesses are beginning to realize they need to get into social media, but they do not understand that, in order for it to be most effective, they need to look at it from a systematic approach. On the surface it is about communicating to your potential customers and current customers. But in reality there so much more involved; understanding this can be the key to maximizing a business’s on-line presence.

  15. WOW @Danny G, Gaurav Jha and JIm McCroskey, I must say I agree with all of your points and appreciate the added insight’s and comments. ~Erin Ryan

  16. Erin, this is a great article. You have some great points on maintaining and establishing a e-commerce business. I think that it is definitely more difficult for defining a clear strategy when it comes to participating in social media. However, there are great sites like SalesFuel that integrates with LinkedIn, so that B2B marketers and sales reps can use social selling to make warmer sales calls. Check it out and see if you agree. http://tinyurl.com/399oss3

  17. Awesome Article,

    its true, I Agree With Ur point.

    Social Network is Helpful to Grow Busniess..

  18. This article has got my head nodding the whole time I was reading it. Communication is key for every business–of any kind–to thrive and succeed. And the internet provides thousands of ways to establish and promote your business. However, the level of your success depends on your promotional strategies. The ideas posted here are great. People who have budding businesses should take time to read this article and apply what suits them.

  19. Hi Jethro :)

    Very good point! It is very true that B2B is just beginning and although they are somewhat reluctant, I think they will turn around in no time. Thanks for the comment.

    Socially Yours,
    Erin Ryan

  20. Hi Smith :)

    I appreciate that you enjoyed the article and for taking the time to comment as well. Have a great day!
    Socially Yours,
    Erin Ryan

  21. Andy :)

    I am so pleased that you enjoyed and agreed with the article. I agree with you 100% that a strategic plan that is implemented within a business is a necessity. Thank you for encouraging others to read this and I appreciate your feedback. Take Care Andy and have a wonderful day ahead!
    Socially Yours,
    Erin Ryan

  22. Erin,

    There is no doubt the times we live in require businesses to develop a social media strategy as part of their overall marketing campaign. Those that do not are IMO conceding market share to the competition that is actively using social media as a means to get their brand out there.

    These are great points for anyone considering making the move to an online strategy. Thanks Erin…

    Cheers,

    Kevin

    Great post…thanks.

    Kevin

  23. Good article..

    Thanks..

  24. Kevin,

    First off, you’re awesome ;)
    Thank you for your comment and well said. I also appreciate that you enjoyed the article and I hope as well that businesses will start implementing social media strategies, or you’re right, they will just be handing their clients to their competitors. Thank YOU Kevin!

    Socially Yours,
    Erin Ryan

  25. MortenBN :)

    No, Thank you!

    Socially Yours,
    Erin Ryan

  26. Really a nice and informative article. Today business are moving away from the traditional media and are adapting themselves to the new web 2.0 concept. In this way they can reach a broader audience in an cost effective way.

    You can check our website to know more details about it.

  27. A very interesting post on social media!

    I have recently read a very interesting related post at http://www.innovatrs.com/blog/social-media-policy/ oh how to use social media effectively as a part of tour marketing strategy.

  28. I think on business point of view, many companies are not integration social media with there marketing. I recently wrote a blog on “Taking advantage of Social Media Channels”
    http://www.s2eo.com/2010/07/taking-advantage-of-social-media.html

  29. Businesses will have to be present where the masses are and that place is social media.

  30. Updating social network is really very important for online business. there are many tools that can be used to new media .
    Thanks
    Hans

  31. Hi,
    Great tips!
    Its not easy to build a business in these days, but sure is the best way to exit the rat race.
    Thanks and sorry for my bad english.

  32. Great simple tips – nothing is more important than the last one “Take Action” Social networking is the present/future, so do it!

  33. Great tips om improving communication on social networks

  34. pls i need the information, on business networking site, +2348063303316, thanks

  35. Thanks for useful informative sharing a consolidate ideology!

  36. When it comes to technology, new ideas and tools are turning up every day, so here at Expert we are constantly trying to keep up by researching, researching and then more research. Research is our fourth tip for using Social Media or any technology.

  37. Thank you all for your feedback and for taking time to read and comment!

    Socially Yours,
    Erin Ryan

  38. All the young people are doing it, and some of the not so young people are as well. Social networking allows you to keep in touch with friends and family, as well as to get in touch with people who share your interests and your ideas. For businesses, there is nothing quite like social media networking.
    BlackHat IM Marketing
    Nathan Ethans

  39. Couldn’t agree more on using your personality, being genuine and to stop thinking about numbers! I’m a member of http://www.phinkit.com and it’s all about putting your personality into your business and getting value by having more lively (and purposeful!) interactions. So now I use it to create all my content as I feel I can be the real me again online- whoop!

  40. Good articles Erin. I just started using Phinkit and i’m loving it. Not based on collecting people, just creating and I am getting good traction already

  41. True! many entrepreneurs just take for granted social network sites or even avoided them. Great tips on posts and keeping active…thanks…

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