Many people have asked me how I use social media for my business. While I do not consider myself an expert in this area, I am happy to share this information to help other business owners navigate social media.

Getting Started

  •  Sign up for an account at http://twitter.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/ 
  • For Facebook, you will need to create a personal account, which you can decide if you want to use for your business or not
  • To create a Facebook page for your business, click here http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php.
  • When creating your Twitter or Facebook profile or page, make sure you personalize it, include your picture or business logo and make sure it is interesting. Always link back to your blog or web site.

Twitter

  • If you plan on using Twitter at all, you really need to get Tweetdeck. Download it here http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta/.
  • You can link Facebook to Tweetdeck but I haven’t done that. I use Tweetdeck to view my friend’s timeline, my @replies and my direct messages all at once. I have also set up searches for “Cornwall, Ontario” and other terms related to my areas of interest so I can see tweets that mention the things I am interested in.
  • To find people to “follow” on Twitter (and hopefully who will follow you back), use some directory sites like http://wefollow.com/, where you add yourself under categories and then you can search for other Twitter users by category.
  • http://www.twellow.com/ is another directory where you can search Twitter users by location. It will also suggest followers to you and you can search under other categories.

Facebook

  • If you haven’t used Facebook at all, you will need to start adding friends. In the upper right-hand corner, you can search by name. Then, once you get some friends, you can search who their friends are. Once you start gaining friends, Facebook will begin suggesting friends for you. You can let friends know about your business page or use your personal page as your business page, or do a combination of both.
  • Use your business page (or your personal page if applicable) to create events relating to your business and invite friends. Add blog posts or articles of interest that relate to your business and share them with friends or with your page fans. People can’t refer to you or use your services if they don’t know what you do.
  • Once you have a certain amount of fans, you can get a vanity url on Facebook. You should be able to get a personal one right away. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/username/ to set yours. Mine is www.facebook.com/mallinotte.

What do I talk about?

  • You can talk about anything really, but you will get the most out of Facebook and Twitter if you use valuable content. Start a blog and link to your blog. Your blog can be about your business, it can be about you, a topic related to your business, or something completely unrelated, although you need to mention your business occasionally for it to have some value.
  • As I said earlier, I use social media to promote events related to my business. Some businesses create contests or have special promotions or coupon codes for their friends, fans or followers.
  • You can also use Twitter and Facebook to connect directly with your target audience, to ask them questions, seek feedback, et cetera. That kind of interaction is invaluable for business owners.
  • When looking for articles to share, use Google Reader to follow blogs of interest to you, download it here www.google.com/reader. You can also subscribe to blog feeds via email, but Google reader allows you to set up alerts on certain search terms (including your own name or business name) and it will search the internet for that term and give you the link in your Google reader. You can check your reader a couple of times a week for new content. A tutorial for Google reader is available here http://www.google.com/support/reader/?hl=en.
  • I also use the searches I have in Tweetdeck to find information to “retweet”.

How do I make it happen by doing only one update?

  • To fully integrate your social media, you need to get a Ping account at http://ping.fm/. Then you add your social media accounts to your Ping account. When you update Ping, it updates everything.
  • You may not need this right away, but I highly recommend Tweet Later, which is now called Social Oomph http://www.socialoomph.com/. You can create a free account which will allow you to schedule tweets and track certain keywords that are used in Twitter. For me, the real value comes in with the Professional account, which is $20.00 per month but allows me to update all of my social media accounts at once. I put in information and it goes to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. There are many other advantages of the professional account which I haven’t even explored yet.
  • If you use Social Oomph professional, you then can add your Ping account there to schedule your updates to be added to Ping at regular intervals, which will in turn add them to all of your social media accounts.

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Michele R.J. Allinotte is the owner of Allinotte Law Office Professional Corporation in Cornwall, Ontario and she helps her clients make the best decisions for themselves, their families and their businesses. Her practice focuses on the areas of business law, estate planning and real estate. Visit www.YourCornwallLawyer.com to get her FREE Peace of Mind Personal Inventory to make sure that your family has all the information they need.