One of the aspects of link building that we tackle for our clients is making sure that they are effectively using social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. These are the two really hot social media apps right now and not getting up to speed on these fabulous services can be a detriment to the success to your business. One of the things I hear a lot is "Those things will never impact my business" and I cringe a little, because the people usually saying that know very little about what these websites actually do. I’m not saying that these sites or any social media is going to double every business’s revenue every time, but it could…and it’s free to use, so why not at least give it a try? Once you know what these services are capable of, I’d be suprised if you don’t see the value in it for your company. Here is a basic description of what these services are and a few reasons why all business owners should be in the know regarding the two currently most popular social media sites out there.

Facebook for Business

Facebook is a website that lets you connect to friends by entering the high school and college you attended and finding other people that may have been in your class. You can also enter tons of other information about yourself like where you work, what church you attend, movies you like, etc. and that helps other people to find you and request to be a "friend" of yours. When you become a friend with someone, any updates they post on their account will show up to you when you log in, so you’ll see if they uploaded a new photo from their vacation in Tahiti or if they’ve posted a status update saying they are "on their way to an internet marketing workshop." There are also functions that allow you to post notes (which are similar to blogs), photos, videos, events and even other 3rd party applications that let you play games, rate movies, identify all of the places you’ve ever travelled to and much, much more. Every aspect is centered around other people following what you do on Facebook and commenting on it. For example, if you updated your status saying that you are a Twitter addict, one of your friends may reply and welcome you to the club 😉

One important aspect of Facebook is that you can create causes, groups, and more importantly "fan pages" for a company or organization that allows other people to become a your "fan." This is a good way to get more exposure for your business, share information about your company and interact on a more personal level with your clients or customers.

Twitter for Business

Twitter, in my opinion, is a very simple way for people to get a taste of how social media can affect your business. Twitter is, by definition, a "micro blog." That essentially means it is a way to share very short thoughts with other people. It could be a recommendation of a company, or movie, website or it could be a reply to a post that someone else has made (which is called a "ReTweet.") Blogging can be a very valuable way to build your online presence and establish your authority in your industry but many people are intimidated by the thought if writing a daily, or even weekly article. The great thing about Twitter is you are limited to 140 characters, so all rules of grammar (okay, maybe not ALL ) are thrown out the window in favor of brevity and it requires MUCH less of a time commitment.

One of the more powerful aspects of Twitter is that people can search for relevant tweets and find people. So if you "Tweet" about a new special that you are offering at your business, someone may be searching on Twitter and find your post and then decide to start following you. Just like becoming a friend of someone on Facebook, when you follow someone on Twitter, it means you will see their posts when you log in, so you can keep up with what they have to say, and they will then see your posts from that point on as well.  This is very powerful for a business owner as you can follow other experts in your industry and grow your knowledge (not to mention more personally connect you with anyone in the world – even the President), but it also establishes you as an expert as well. The key thing to remember is to keep your personal posts to a minimum and try to remain focused on your industry, if you want to keep the attention of your followers. Chances are, they started following you to find out more about your industry expertise than what you had to eat for lunch 🙂 Read our article on Twitter for more information.

Great, Why Should I Care?

One interesting development of how people have responded to the increasing popularity of social media is they now check these sites when determining who they want to do business with. Having a Facebook fan page for your business with a ton of fans and positive reviews speaks a wealth about who you are and many people tend to trust this non-biased feedback over brand identity alone. So this means that you need to be careful to put your best foot forward when you post on any social media site, because they are public, afterall.

Be polite, be relevant and keep it short and sweet.

If you plan to use Twitter for a great deal of personal updates, great! BUT, create a separate account for you personally that is separate from your business account so you can create a distinction and allow people to follow what they are most interested in – you personally or you professionally.

Another thing to be wary of is that there are people out there that use these social media apps for sending junk or solicitations. So it is best to get email notifications when new people follow you or become your friend and check them out to make sure you approve their association with you. And if you don’t like what you see, simply block them. 

In conclusion, these tools are only as good as you make them. If you do not use them, they won’t help you. But if you do use it, it’s important that you keep up with your friends or followers and make sure that you are protecting your brand and actively participating with them. There are a lot of ways to burn your time on the internet, and these two can definitely fit that bill, but as long as you use these with a purpose in mind, you can build your business. Also, you can’t keep up with every social media site out there effectively, so pick a few to stick with. These two mentioned in this article are good ones to start with, and if you are feeling particularly spunky, another good social media site to check out for your business is LinkedIn.