Confused by Social Media?

Social MediaSocial Media can be confusing and services seem to come onto the market almost daily. However, what will never change and what will help you decide which type of social media is useful to you, is starting from basics.

The most basic starting point is ‘who are you as an individual?’ – in other words what do you do and/or believe in? How do you want to be seen personally or professionally? What is the brand or services/products you want people to get to know about? Who is your target audience? Answering these question forms the foundation of what you need to put in place first. What is it you are marketing or want to get known for and by whom? Once you are clear about these aspects you can consider which type of social media would be best and how to gain the most from it.

For example, if you are wanting to network with colleagues then you may choose a professional networking site such as LinkedIn. This type of offering is purely business focused and helps you re-connect will colleagues you may have lost touch with, it can also offer you the opportunity to discover inside connections and link with those who can help you. Having said that do remember that this type of social networking means you need to offer something in return as it is about creating real relationships and they are two way ventures. You may feel you have nothing to offer, however, by joining groups and discussions and sharing your knowledge and expertise you are helping others as well as becoming better known yourself. It is not just enough to load your profile, complete all the sections and then do nothing but be there. Engaging with others helps you grow and develop as well as promotes you as people get to know, over time, who you are and what you stand for.

However, Facebook and Twitter work differently to LinkedIn. Although Facebook started as a more personal networking site it has developed in such a way that individuals can set up web pages for business purposes and many individuals have their own personal page to communicate with friends and family and a business one to link with potential customers (in this case individuals wanting the services you offer as a coach).

Twitter also started as a way of connecting with others but now offers the ability to build an effective marketing channel. Once you have created your profile you need to start sending out messages of no more than 140 characters so that people begin to see you and who want to engage with you by following you. You can also search for individuals you want to follow and you will receive their tweets (as they are called). With Twitter you need to get people engaged with you by building a personality. You can do this by sending out thoughts, items about what you are doing, replying to other people’s tweets and starting discussions. What is wonderful about Twitter is that if you post something interesting, and 100 people are reading your tweets (also called posts) and 20 of those people like your post they re-post it (also called retweeting (RT)) If each of these 20 people have 100 people following you could have reached 2,000 people. Not a bad return for a 140 character message!

Many individuals simply sign up for social networking options without considering how to use them properly. There are a number of errors that people make because they have not taken the time consider what works and what does not.

For example, it is easy to sign up for Facebook before taking the time to devote to creating an appropriate profile that will attract individuals, including a photo. The social-media world is about engaging customers on a more personal level and that means potential clients or purchasers of coaching or other coaches in your case. Your “About Me” shouldn’t just be facts about you but also include some personal touches. Using social media is not about blatantly promoting what you do. It’s about making connections and creating credibility so that people trust you and want to make contact with you. Use it to meet new people and not to just promote yourself. You also need to ensure you up-date your information and materials rather than just relying on old material.

One of the most important aspects to consider is that once you have posted something you cannot take it back. Therefore always think about what you are posting. People can choose to block or unfollow you just as easily as they may choose to follow you in the first place.