“There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s® peanut butter cup.”
The same can be said about Social Media. Not necessarily eating Social Media, but how you use it. Over the past number of years, the “Web 2.0” phenomenon has exploded. Everyone seems to be tweeting, blogging and updating their Facebook status. But how can an independent training professional or anyone in business for themselves capitalize on Social Media?
The Independents Networking and Collaborating Special Interest Group of the Greater Atlanta ASTD Chapter recently featured a panel discussion on how self-employed training professionals can market themselves through Social Media. The panel consisted of Dawn Gartin (@DawnGartin) and Kelly Vandever (@KellyVandever). Here are 10 tips one can use to promote their business, service or them self through Social Media:
- If you’re on LinkedIn, spend time on your profile and make it a reflection of your overall experience. Many potential clients and companies look to LinkedIn for talent.
- Get recommendations from people who can vouch for me. Even send a “template” or draft of a recommendation that the person can write from.
- Always personalize a LinkedIn invitation versus the “standard” template.
- If new to Twitter, get a profile, look and listen to others who have a similar interest as you. Then decide how you will use it.
- On Twitter, have your real name in your profile, Twitter name or picture. Make it personal. People tend to converse with a picture, not a logo.
- If you are a business owner, you should have a Facebook page to promote your brand.
- Make sure you look at the privacy settings for any Social Media platform. There may be information you only want to share with particular groups or people versus everyone.
- Always use a strong password so your account is less likely to be hijacked. It beats having to send an apology and embarrassment. Try this tool to test your password’s strength.
- Consider using Yammer to send company-like Tweets to employees only.
- Send status updates to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to highlight projects or clients you are working with to generate interest in your services. TweetDeck is a great solution to do this easily from one location.
- Never say anything online that you wouldn’t say to someone standing in front of you!
To build on the 10th tip above, there was an awesome Social Media success story shared. Jay Lambert (@LambertJay) of Integrated Learning Services told the group how a company in Australia that sought him out for a contract. This organization follows Jay’s tweets and wanted him to bid on a contract. This is an amazing way Social Media can bring potential business.
Instead of promoting a business, I use Social Media to promote my expertise in workplace learning and performance professional. For example, I use Twitter (@RussellAWheeler) to share knowledge, ask questions and connect with others who share similar interests in learning, innovation, technology and motivational quotes.
The bottom line is there’s no right or wrong to use Social Media. You simply need to find out how it will work best for you. Talk to others who use Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook to promote their business or expertise. The key is to leverage this “phenomenon” to your advantage. Remember, there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s peanut butter cup just as there’s no wrong way to use Social Media professionally (unless you decide not to follow Tip #11).
What are your thoughts?
How do you utilize Social Media professionally? How many of the 11 tips listed above will you use and why?