By Moses Keshishian
(Originally published in the March 2013 issue of The National Notary magazine)
Social media has become an almost indispensible tool for any independent entrepreneur. But boosting your Web presence can be a challenge. Whether you’re a social-savvy mobile Notary who stays logged onto your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts all day long, or a social media newbie who panics over every status update, there are steps you can take to make the most out of your social media profiles and show the best side of your business. Here are some “dos” and “don’ts” from social media experts across the Web.
Do: Separate Business And Pleasure
As a best practice, you should keep separate profiles for your professional and personal life, according to social media blogger Sara Carter. It is important to have a business presence on social media sites, but don’t undermine your professional image with sharing pictures of your vacation and posts about crazy nights on the town. Make sure to keep Facebook, Twitter, and other social profiles separated for your business and personal use.
Making a social Web presence work requires a consistent and on-going commitment, says Crystal Balker, a social media expert and writer. She recommends that you set aside a certain time slot daily or weekly to update your social media sites, profiles and updates. Have it become part of your work schedule.
Being consistently active on social media lets people know that you are paying attention and are accessible. Consequently, it can help you develop your business by bringing in new leads, increasing awareness, improving brand recognition and enhancing the retention rate of your existing clients.
Do: Promote Your Social Pages
Too often, business owners fail to grasp the importance of creating buzz about their social media pages, says Jillian Chopin, Senior Web Presence Professional for ReachCast. You can spend hours creating and optimizing your social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or blog, but your customers won’t even know they exist if you don’t tell them. So, promote them. Include your social media icons on your website, business cards, email signatures, newsletters, and other communications. And don’t forget to ask clients to connect to your business online. Turning an existing customer into an online fan or follower is easier than you would think…if you just ask.
Don’t: Push Your Way Into People’s Social Feeds
The most successful companies in business today have something in common. Instead of treating customers as passive targets, they treat them as active participants, said Mark Bonchek, social business strategist at Orbit & Co. Where traditional companies push out messages and products, these companies pull customers in.
To determine where you are on the push/pull continuum, take a good look at your social media strategy, Bonchek advises. Are you using social media as a channel for delivering messages to your audience? If so, you may be stuck in the push mindset. If you’re using social media as a way to listen and learn, to create an authentic relationship, and to deliver value beyond the products you sell, you are well on your way to creating an environment that pulls customers into your orbit. You’ll go beyond customer loyalty to building customer gravity.