7 Ways #Eventprofs Use Social Media to Build Community, Business
It's been more than two years since I started using social media on a regular basis to market my audio visual company and educate myself. In that time I've learned a lot about what does and doesn't work.
In addition to meeting and learning from some key social media experts, I stumbled onto the Twitter community known as #eventprofs which has become my online home.
The ways in which I have grown personally are too numerous to count. But I was also able to achieve many benefits for my business, among them:
* a strong online presence
* a massive leap in search engine ranking for our website
* mentions in industry trade publications and blogs not my own
* connections with MANY potential clients
* a jump in calls directly related to our new search engine ranking
* and business from friendships built online.
I learned by doing and watching my friends online. Here are seven lessons culled from two years spent as a social media marketer of an events industry business.
1 - Identify and Join Relevant Online Communities
Do a Twitter search for keywards relating to your business or the clients you are trying to reach. If you identify a hashtag community that relates to you, watch it for a while. Click on the links people are posting. Try to understand where people are coming from, what gets them excited, what irritates them. Then, start tweeting and retweeting content you think would be of interested to them. Also, join in chats or conversations taking place in the community. Help promote others, comment on their blogs. Build your own community of friends who will help promote you.
2 - Regularly Post Useful Content Linked on Your Website/Blog
To get your website to rank higher in the seach engines start by consistently posting content that is useful to your target audience. You don't have to be a "thought-leader" to create a blog that is useful to your clients. You can write blog posts on ways you've solved their problems in the past, or write posts about industry conferences you attend or just do interviews with people who can provide useful information.
3 - Promote Your Content Well
If you build it, they WON'T come if they don't know about it!! There are so many platforms for posting links to your content. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are great places to start. Consider the format of the platform when deciding what time of the day and how often to post. For instance, Twitter is a fast-moving stream of information so to make sure more people see it, it makes sense to post the same link several times but on different days and at different times of the day. However, Facebook moves more slowly and Facebook users are less likely to be tolerant of the same link being reposted in their stream. So posting only once on Facebook makes better sense.
4 - Create and Commit to a Strategy #EIR
Commit to a consistent social media marketing strategy like #EIR - Engage, Inform and Retweet. Spread your social media activities equally among conversations and discussions; distributing content that is useful to your potential clients; and promoting the great content and work of others in your community. Be online for at least an hour every work day. On Twitter, schedule informative posts throughout the day when clients are more likely to see you (usually between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm et, Monday through Friday.)
5 - Support Your Community
If you want others to comment on your blog (and you do because blog comments help you rank higher in the search engines), comment on other blogs in your community. If you want people to talk to you, make sure you are available and responding when they try to start a conversation. If your community regularly schedules chats and needs moderators, volunteer. Guest blog whenever you have the opportunity. All of these acts of giving to your community help you to build strong relationships that can turn into business, or - the best kind of marketing- referrals and recommendations.
6 - Be courteous, Avoid Irritating People
Don't promote yourself too much. People online are hyper-sensitive to this. We want to know that you are there because you are interested in us as people, not just in what you can get from us. Make sure to thank people in some form or another. Also, watch the stream and take note when people complain or when you see something you find annoying and avoid doing those things. For instance, on Twitter, many people find back to back tweets very annoying, particularly when you are using a community hashtag. Or on Facebook, many people do not like being invited to events that arent really relevant to them. Take note.
7 - Turn your Online Relationships into Face to Face Relationships
Not only is it personally fun and rewarding, but taking the time and energy to meet your online friends in person can benefit your business greatly. I don't think I can count the times that I have attended an industry conference or event without any business goals in mind, but because I connected with online friends, new career and business opportunities were the result. You can form very strong relationships with people online, if you follow the previous tips. But your relationships will be twice as strong and beneficial to you if you take them off-line as well.If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed for Sound n' Sight.