How social media can transform your business

25 May 2012 @ 5.23 pm
| Business
A fantastic resource for any business: LinkedIn

Part one: LinkedIn

York-based business consultant and social media expert Caroline Anderson starts her series on getting results from the digital conversation with the global professionals network

The term ‘social media’ has been around for a while now, and some of the tools which we use today are not really new. What is exciting for businesses is that these tools can be used in different ways and to different effect.

Erik Qualman of Socialnomics, often called the Digital Dale Carnegie, was quoted as saying:

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do Social Media, the question is how well we do it.”

Few businesses think that they have time to spend on a new activity such as social media, but the key thing to realise is that this is where the audience is. Nine out of ten consumers trust peer recommendation, whilst only 14 per cent trust traditional adverts.

Rather than devoting time and money solely on creating more adverts, businesses are now seeing the true potential of creating a positive presence and using that as a means of influencing their potential customers. Social media should therefore be viewed as a key element of any company’s marketing strategy.

The five platform names and tools most synonymous with Social Media for most people are: LinkedIn; Twitter; Facebook; blogging; and YouTube.

LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for any businessperson – start building relationships!

LinkedIn has grown massively over the last few years, and now a new member joins LinkedIn every second. These people are all around the globe, but the great benefit of any relationship-building, be it face to face or online, is that it is not just getting to know that person which is important, but getting to know the people that they know.

LinkedIn helps us do just that. Once you have set up connections with those you know, it is a case of leveraging those connections.

Have a look at who your connections are connected to (your 2nd connections), and ask for introductions.
Whilst connecting to all these people, a wise move is always to continue engaging with discussions.

Join relevant groups for your business and interests. This will give you the chance to see what is interesting your peers and potential customers. LinkedIn is like a party, where different people will be discussing different things in different parts of the room. You cannot hear all the discussions at once, but you can circulate.

Move around and dip into discussions in the different groups which interest you on LinkedIn. This is a fantastic way to gauge what conversations are happening out there.

If you have a specific thought, ask in a group, or poll your connections. Polling people gives you the chance to ask a direct question and offer multiple choice answers, or to comment.

You can also then feed back those answers to your connections, providing them with statistics about the age, career status and gender of respondents. This not only shows that you are interested in more than just selling, but also gives you a good idea of the sort of people who are interested in what you are discussing, and how best to approach them.

  • Caroline Anderson, owner and founder of Business Boots, completed the ITQ in Social Media in July 2011. That makes her company one of very few nationally with a social media qualification to back up training packages
  • In the next part of Caroline’s social media series, she will show you how to make your business fly with Twitter