Whether you are a local business, a service provider, a national or international speaker or author, social media marketing can be effective for your promotional efforts.
The first thing to remember is that one size does NOT fit all:
It is very helpful to be clear about your target audiences and what you have to offer these audiences that they want. Then the question is where are you most likely to engage with these audiences?
Choosing a Platform
Let’s say you discover that your target audiences are active on Facebook and on Pinterest, but you only want to invest time in one of these sites.
You study both sites and decide that, given your limited time for social media relationship building, Pinterest is better for you. Rather than getting overwhelmed by all the opportunities Facebook offers – and all the confusion Facebook causes with its constant major changes, you would rather rely on sharing photos with links to promote your business.
Pinterest may be especially good for photographers, hair stylists, real estate agents, clothing stores, jewelry stores, eBay stores – any business that can provide numerous attractive photos.
On the other hand, you might be the author of a single novel. In this case there may not be a lot of related photos you could share on Pinterest to help people become aware of your book.
Perhaps Facebook is better for you. Here, you can have an author Page with your book cover as part of the large image at the top of your Facebook Page (not the same as a Facebook profile). You can “like” other book-related Pages and begin interacting with prospective readers of your novel.
The Time Factor
Time is also an important consideration. Both Pinterest and Facebook require a long-term commitment but
they do NOT require daily posting in order to carry out an effective social media marketing strategy.
Twitter works best with a strategy of several tweets (140 characters or less) a day as well as several days each week. (Hootsuite can be used to schedule tweets for days that you will be unavailable.)
And now there is Google+ (Google Plus), which may or may not become the elephant in the room, stomping on other social media platforms as Google+ participants multiply.
(Guy Kawasaki’s Kindle ebook “What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us” is a very good resource for effectively using Google+.)
Wait a second. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not worry. Start with one social media site, get comfortable on that site, and then expand out to other sites.
Where to Begin
For most people I recommend starting out on LinkedIn. At a basic level this site requires posting a good resume on your profile. Of course there is so much more that you can do with your LinkedIn profile, but at least the basic step is somewhat familiar.
Warning: Please put a good headshot (no sunglasses, no large hats that block your face) of yourself on your LinkedIn profile (which must be in your name and NOT in the name of your business) because people like to connect with people. If there is no headshot, people may wonder what you are hiding.
And one final social media participation recommendation: Have fun sharing good info with others. What you send out often comes around to you.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter and @ZimblerMiller on Pinterest) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com She is also the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebook and you can learn about these at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com