Entrepreneurial Marketing: Part 2 of 3

Target Apple. Image courtesy of stock.xchng®In Monday’s post, I focused on making the most of LinkedIn to market your business. If you’ve mastered those tips and are looking for something more advanced, you may be ready to build your own company profile. Interested? Check out this how to post from Mashable.

Moving beyond LinkedIn, other social networking sites can play significant roles in your marketing strategy.

Part Two: Social Media Marketing: Facebook and Beyond

Facebook

Facebook is widely considered one of the most popular social networks. One exception, if you’re a musician around age 29 (or targeting that age range), you may want to focus on MySpace. Otherwise, Facebook can be an easy way to keep in touch with your network, customers and prospective customers. It’s one of my favorites, largely because it’s helped me stay connected with a large number of colleagues even though we’re no longer in the same city. People tell me that they look to Facebook to keep up with me professionally and personally.

facabook logoAnd there’s the catch. If you’re going to use Facebook for professional marketing, you have to be careful. While I like that I can show my personality a bit more than on LinkedIn, I still edit what I post in my status updates. Unfortunately, I also have to edit my “wall” and have even had to delete a few inappropriate comments posted by well-meaning friends.

So how do you strike that personal-professional balance?

  • Check your tone. While everyone relates to a rant about severe weather, make sure that overall your tone is positive. If your status updates lean towards complaints, you’ll find yourself labeled “negative” all too quickly.
  • Interact beyond the “happy birthday” wish. Stay in front of people by writing on their walls or sending brief private messages beyond special occasions. I once posted a “thinking of you” note on a former co-worker’s wall and minutes later received a message saying “call me, I have a referral for you.”
  • Mix your messages. Think about the LinkedIn status updates you’re doing (or are about to do). You can use some of those on Facebook, too. For example, I may write something about a movie I loved and the next day, I may mention a client project that’s keeping me busy. Of course, I don’t name the client, but it works. A new client once called with a specific direct marketing project – she knew I did that type of work because of a status update I posted.
  • Link Up. Do you have a blog? Do you have a website where you post news? Share those links on Facebook, too. It’s a great way to spread the word and get views to visit your site.

You can also create group pages and fan pages, which is another fantastic and easy way to market your company. The “help” section on Facebook has excellent instructions on how to create these pages. Mashable also has a collection of posts about Facebook you might find helpful.

Two quick tips if you go this route:

  • Be sure to keep your business page updated regularly.
  • Spread the word. If you create a fan page, invite all your friends to become fans – and their friends, too. It won’t do you any good if you don’t use this page to grow your fans (a.k.a prospective customers).

Okay, so what about other social networking sites?

Be sure to research where you’re target audience is spending their time. Part 1 of this trilogy lists a few sites to get you started. One site I’m curious about is Bebo. I just recently learned about it. Word is that it helps you connect all your social networks in one place. I know some people do this with Facebook and Twitter – and there’s lots of opinions about this. While I like the efficiency of using one program (like TweetDeck) to automate my updates, it doesn’t feel quite right to me. When I see a Facebook update that uses Twitter-specific language, it just doesn’t read “real” to me.

Twitter

Twitter LogoSpeaking of Twitter, you can make incredible connections there. The key is to interact with people, as I’ve shared in an earlier post. I love using Twitter because it connects me to people in a way that feels like it breaks the ice. For example, I have connected with several editors, PR gurus, and advertising gurus that I can network with and learn from. Without Twitter, I don’t know how I would have developed connections with them. The hard part about Twitter is that it can feel overwhelming to get started. A great place for tips and tricks (and help in getting your toe in the water) is TwiTip.

One more tip on social networking: The Dash

It can seem overwhelming, but it’s easy to accomplish your goals, especially if you take things in bite-size chunks. A great resource to help you break things down – but not slack off – is The Dash. This weekly newsletter features one social networking action for you to complete each week. Laura Roeder, the entrepreneur behind The Dash, will show you in step-by-step instructions (including video) how to get yourself out there.

Do you have Twitter-spefic questions? Or do you want more information about other sites mentioned here? Share them in the comments. I’d be happy to write future posts answering your questions.

Part three of this series will focus on marketing yourself locally – including pounding the pavement.

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