Businesses are increasingly adding social media as a marketing tool to gain exposure for their services and products. But the big question remains… “where do I start?” Establishing an effective social media presence for your business can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Consider these tips for getting started.
- Set Goals: It is important to consider why social media will help your business. Before you spend time or resources on expanding into any new marketing venture, you need to make sure that you have clearly defined goals and expectations. Take the time to clearly define social media marketing goals.
- Define the Audience: Who do you want to build your visibility with and which platforms do they use? Based on your audience, select one social media outlet to start with– some choices include Twitter, Linked In, Google Plus and Facebook.
- Create a Plan: Now that you have the goals and an audience defined, you need the roadmap for achieving the goals. It is best to start using one social networking site at a time until you are comfortable. You can then add new outlets one at a time very easily. Linked In is a great starting point for professionals– it is easy to set up a profile and begin building connections. You can link your Twitter account to Linked In so that you post once, but gain exposure twice.
- Work your Plan: Posting status can feel scary at first, but it gets more comfortable with practice. Just jump in and try it…schedule time to post daily. Consider starting the easy way– use the ‘share’ features on business websites or blogs to comment on useful articles. Just be sure that you always post things that are useful and avoid negative comments. Remember that once you post something, you can’t take it back.
- Have fun! Most importantly….social networking is a fun way to support your brand and establish visibility.
I am often faced with a repeating thought: ’I just can’t get it all done… I need more time!’ My clients tell me the same thing when we talk about their marketing and business development efforts. They have good intentions, but somehow the days slip by when the ‘to do’ lists and multiple interruptions get in their way.
This summer I was given a copy of the book “More Time for You” by Rosemary Tator and Alesia Latson. Funny, I had great intentions to read it right away, but somehow I never found the time. Well, enough is enough! I finally made the time to read it and I am glad I did. The authors base much of their system on applying ‘triage’ to gain control of your life. It is a great concept that lends itself to marketing and business development. Here is a very streamlined version to consider:
- Capture your thoughts. The authors advise capturing your thoughts in a ‘capture tool’, which they describe as notepad, legal pad, blackberry, etc… Write down everything that clutters your mind in this tool– carry it with you everywhere you go and write anything that pops into your head that you need to remember. This act frees your mind from trying to remember all of the things you feel you must do and opens you up to becoming more effective and productive.
- Create three folders. Delete it. Do it. File it. (or my version for business development: Schedule it).
- Delete it. Get rid of anything that you have already done or that you really don’t need to commit yourself to doing.
- Do it. Anything that takes less than two minutes to complete, just do it now. For example: send a follow-up email, ask someone to go to lunch or reply to a request from a colleague. Now cross it off the list and purge it from your mind!
- File it. This is where I am going to take a little liberty… instead of filing it, schedule it. If there is a task on your list that will take you more than 2 minutes to complete, schedule it in your outlook calendar. I have written about this in the past and was thrilled to see the author’s parallel to my own practice. I can’t urge you enough to schedule appointments with yourself for marketing and business development-focused time.
Of course, there are many more recommendations in the book than I am covering today, but by using this simple triage method to help you manage your marketing process, you will find the mental freedom you need to reach your goals. Try it for a few weeks and keep track of the progress you make. It is a tough habit to start, but with enough repetition, it will become part of your fabric and will serve you well.
School is back in session and people are back to work full speed ahead. You may find yourself suddenly busy with daily matters that push your good intentions to market yourself aside. Yes, being busy now is great, but are you preparing yourself to have a full client load in January? When I ask clients about this, the common response is: ”I know I should be forward thinking, but I simply don’t have the time to think that far ahead!” Unless you plan to retire in 2012, you must quickly banish that thinking. Not easy, but here are some quick tips to help:
- Fifteen First Thing: When you get into the office on Monday morning, take the first fifteen minutes to plan your week. Look at your calendar and block out 15 minute blocks on three days to perform simple business development and relationship building tasks. This may be placing a phone call, sending an email, updating your bio or sending a thank you note.
- Make Weekly Commitments: Block out weekly business development timeslots in your calendar to undertake a somewhat larger marketing activity. Dedicate a regular time (for example: Thursday morning from 830-9am) to work on initiatives requiring focused time. This may include activities like drafting an article for placing with the media one week and editing it the following week.
- Monthly Commitments: Take one day a month to get out of your office and see your clients, referral sources or potential clients. This could mean a breakfast or lunch outing or it could mean a few hours to attend a conference or a take a client golfing. Whatever you choose, stick to a once a month commitment.
By booking these appointments with yourself, you are establishing your commitment to achieve marketing and business development goals. Repeating the process helps you build this commitment into a habit. Habitual behaviors like these help you achieve your goals. Of course, the trick is keeping your appointments. Don’t break these appointments with yourself unless it is absolutely urgent for client or family related issues. Trust me that this works! Try this approach this quarter and you will find momentum going into the new year.