Social Media is rapidly becoming a “find me” search engine for businesses.Whereas in the past people put time and resources into ranking at the top of Google search engine results, more and more business users are waking up to the fact that being active on social media networks like Twitter is also a great way of being found.
I'm not suggesting for a minute that Google isn't still the number one way of being found online. But I do think it's worth bearing in mind that you can attract people (whisper it: customers!) to you through your activities on social media sites.
You can't be found unless you're contributing
For starters, you need to be out there and involved.
- Start spending some time surveying social media sites like Twitter or MySpace to figure out if you're customers are there before you join in.
- Join the networks where you think potential new customers are likely to be.
- Make sure your profile is welcoming, friendly and doesn't look spammy.
Most of all don't hide.
- Promote the networks your business belongs to on your business cards, website, and email signatures.
- Make it easy for people to connect with you.
- Respond to every genuine approach. Sure, some people with spam you. But others will start conversations.
- Start conversations yourself.
- Ask questions.
- Provide answers.
- Become a resource that people trust. Someone that others turn to to find that special something they are looking for.
Building your online network in this way will turn social media into a “find me” route for your business.
The better your visibility within social media, the more opportunities will come your way.
Don't just take my word for it. Check out Mark W. Schafer's Love notes from the social web.