6 Rules of Doing Business Using Social Media

Today’s world of online interaction has become more complex, but more exciting, than ever. The ways that connections are now made with friends and clients on the web has evolved to an entirely new level. But I’m here to tell you that this “new frontier” of networking through your computer is not as scary as it might first appear.  As long as you follow these simple rules.

Rule #1:  You have to be good at what you do.

A mistake that people often make when entering the world of social media is to believe that simply setting up a blog, Facebook page, Twitter account or other online presence will automatically bring them customers.  The reality is that your business has to already have strong fundamentals and a solid marketing plan.

Part of being a great social media player is knowing what type of communication resonates with prospective customers.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can “fake it” in your online interactions.  If you’re not experienced in what you do, prospects will sniff that out quicker than sharks smell blood.

Rule #2: Social media requires staying on top of your routine.

If you’re thinking about starting a new blog or some other kind of online presence, map out your plan first!  Posting information without a purpose is like skipping rocks on the water.  You might create tiny ripples here and there but there’s no clear path for your customers to follow.

Take the time needed to not only write and post your own material, but to engage in other sites as well.  Reading and interacting with related sites (and customers) is the nature of social media.  Standing alone on the island of your blog without ever reaching out to others will leave you stranded like Tom Hanks in Castaway.  Without one-on-one interactions your message won’t effectively be heard by anyone.

Keep your updates regular and make it a part of your standing routine.  Consistency is a key ingredient.  Though this is a big time commitment, the rewards can be tremendous.

Rule #3: You don’t have to be a “computer geek” to join the fun.

If you’re uncomfortable with using the Internet to leverage today’s business tools, information resources and networking opportunities, it’s time to step up to the plate and take a swing.  If the fear of the unknown is what’s holding you back… stop being afraid right now!  Don’t let slight ignorance of technology be your reason for non-participation.

Though you may find the concept of engaging people online foreign at first, just know that most of the applications you will be using are very intuitive and user-friendly.  Most of the widely used web platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress (blogging) and community forums come with a load of resources you can utilize when getting started.

So what do you do to get started?  Give it a try!  Go ahead and join LinkedIn, set up a Facebook profile, read blogs related to your business as well as social networking, ask your peers and explore new websites.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly these actions will get you where you need to be in the world of online media.

Rule #4: The Internet is constantly changing.  Change with it!

Being the first to explore the early, experimental side of social media can pay off big dividends for those that have an “early-adopter” attitude.  Just think about where you’d be had you started using Twitter just a couple of years ago when microblogging was a foreign concept to most.  Today, Twitter sees over 55 million visits a month… who knew?

Since we can all agree that the web is here to stay and an ever-evolving creature with the possibility of taking your business to new levels, don’t be afraid to try new things.  It might take some time to get started with a new platform and work through the learning curve, but if you find a progressive new avenue for networking with prospective clients, go for it!

Rule #5: No matter what, you can’t fake it.

Just because online communication doesn’t involve face-to-face interaction doesn’t mean that you can be someone you’re not.  In fact, the most successful bloggers and online networkers have seen success by being genuine and representing themselves exactly as they are.  Believe it or not, customers can smell the “B.S.” your slinging, so steer clear of creating a new personality just because you think you can.

This goes for your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn and all of it!  Though you may feel like the worldwide web is an anonymous place to interact, it’s completely the opposite.  Your social networks are your first introduction to the people you hope to do business with, your colleagues and friends.  Make absolutely sure that your impressions showcase the real you.  Remember, it’s better to generate a small number of leads with a higher conversion rate than a large pool of leads that simply suck your time with no real interest of doing business with you.

Rule #6: The web is more than just a prospecting tool.

Sure, the Internet has a great capacity to bring in new customers at a lower cost than traditional media.  But it’s so much more than that!  The real value of the web lies in the amazing opportunity to be an education tool.

This is where people come to learn about you and your business and hear the things you have to say to the world.  Your ideas, expertise, attitudes and personality can be transferred across the world with the click of a button.  There’s no better platform than the web to display your market intelligence and customers want that!

Also, and not surprisingly, the web is a powerful tool at your fingertips to find resources galore about successful online marketing and prospecting tools.  Finding timely information about what others are doing on the web to make real money is as easy as it’s ever been.  Take advantage of that and you will join the ranks of those touted as the most successful professionals in your given industry.

Here’s to your success!

About David Wittlinger

Gummy Bear addict. Web designer. Copywriter. Social Media Strategist.