We can all improve our networking skills, online and off, to grow our business or our stable of freelance clients. Take some time each day this month to experiment, update and enjoy your social networking (just because you’re networking for business doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with it). Here are the tasks I’m working on this month, to make sure my social networking activity is working for me, 24/7.
Update ALL your social media profiles, especially those you’re not so active on. You never know how a prospective client might find you. Make sure your profiles are tidy and your links work, even if you rarely visit that particular site.
Make sure every profile makes it clears who you are, who you serve, and how they can contact you.
Assess which platforms you enjoy and which feel intuitive to you. Spend active social media time there. You’ll have more fun and be more effective when you hang out on the platforms that feel right for you.
Network offline as well as on. Join a business oriented meet-up, Toastmasters group, or find a real life conference in your niche to attend.
Promote your most popular posts regularly – whether it’s a social media update, a blog post, or an infographic. If people liked it, share it again from time to time.
Take advantage of the fact you can now use text, arrows and calls to action in Facebook cover photos.
Track your social media activity. See where the clicks are coming from. If you hate tracking, at least use Facebook Insights. It’s really simple and will show you a lot about your Page progress.
Click FB Insights’ “Posts>When Your Fans are Online” to see your audience’s peak posting times. (And make sure you post during these times!)
Get the conversation going on social media with humor and controversy. They’re very powerful.
You can have fun with your social networking, even if you’re promoting your business or services, but stay professional. Keep the balance right.
Look for questions repeated over and over on your chosen social networks. Provide the definitive answer.
Analyze your tweets. Which types get most retweets, likes and replies? Questions, graphics or links? Post more of them.
Try and show your authentic self on social media. You’ll come across as consistent and aligned with your values.
You can’t follow everyone on every network, and you don’t want to. Each connection counts – and speaks loudly about who you are to your other connections. It's OK to be picky.
If you want your social content to attract, do your best to share quality tips that are unique.
Make sure you speak with an identifiable, individual voice when posting social content. Your posts shouldn’t never sound “canned”.
Be consistent and post regularly during your audience’s peak times on the social networks you’ve chosen to frequent.
If you use Pinterest regularly, make sure you also access http://nitrogr.am/ for powerful, easy to use Pinterest analytics.
Use http://nitrogr.am/ for easy hashtag monitoring.
Experiment with a mix of media in your social content. Try video, photos, and Instagram and Vine looping video clips.
Make sure any new product posts are made regularly. Don’t let gaps occur. Keep your new product fresh in people’s minds (without overdoing it.)
Don’t tell everyone too much at once about your upcoming project. Mystery breeds interest! Use hints and teasers to rouse interest.
Scatter plenty of images into your social media streams. Consider a cheap subscription service like Image Monthly, to cut down time spent sourcing visual content.
Check “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” on LinkedIn to see who is finding you – and which keywords they used.
Contact the people who’ve been viewing your profile on LinkedIn to find out if they need your services. I go with a simple, “I see you recently viewed my profile. Were you looking for a freelance writer? If there’s anything I can help you with I’d be happy to give you a free, no-obligation quote.”
Don’t want these messages yourself? Or maybe you do. In your LinkedIn Privacy and Settings page, you can "Select what others see when you've viewed their profile” to keep it private - or not.
Add some short relevant videos to your social media streams. They’re great for grabbing people’s attention.
Vine videos are 6 seconds long. Instagram are 15 seconds. Post a mixture to keep people on their toes.
Use Instagram hashtags to crowd-source user-generated content as well as extend your own reach.
Use hashtags to increase discoverability, but be extra sure you don’t use any banned hashtags with your Instagram photos or videos. Check them out here: http://thedatapack.com/banned-hashtags-instagram/
Use networking to connect with your ideal customers, not just others in your industry. Authors should be connecting with readers. Health coaches should be connecting with unhealthy people (who want to be healthy).
Always know your objectives. You need to know why you’re networking to do it effectively. My book Tweeting For a Reason: How (and Why) to Use Twitter to Market Your Business covers setting objectives for your Twitter marketing, but the principles apply to all social networks.
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