Kick Starting your Social Media
Kick Starting your Social Media for your Business
Does this social media icon bar make you feel overwhelmed? It should! Most commonly used is Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with our websites.
Social Media does not need to be scary. Take one step at a time. Read all the wonderful help files out on the internet. Find a mentor to help and guide you. Join some free networking groups through Meetup or other sites. There are tons of Facebook Groups, you can ask questions and don’t be afraid to join non-massage groups to learn more.
Most of us already have a Facebook and LinkedIn Page. Adding Twitter is a nice feature due to the 140 character limit. I’m sure you can say something in 140 characters.
Starting out Simple
When you chose a name for your business you made sure you could use it online and possibly Facebook. If not, you can be creative and come up with a nick name or DBA and create a better name that describes what you do. Your Business can be registered at YOURNAME PLLc but your website might be bestmassageinseattle.com. Get out on Twitter and create an account like BMIS which would translate to a hashtag #BMIS. It’s easy to remember Best Massage In Seattle (BMIS). This is more a search engine optimization (SEO) practice and hashtag practice.
Now get your Facebook Page. There is a difference between your personal Facebook and your Facebook Business Page. Medical providers should not be interacting with clients on your personal Facebook. Medical providers have lost their licenses due to ethical behavior and HIPAA violations. Just create a business page for yourself and have your clients connect to that.
Facebook Business Page
Now that you have your name of the business and website, you need to create a business page. It’s recommended that your business page be the same as your website to keep the branding going. So with our example our Facebook Business Page will be BMIS or Best Massage in Seattle. You can have the name Best Massage in Seattle and have the page be www.facebook.com/bmis as long as no one else has registered that name or abbreviation. You want to keep things short and branded at all times when coming up with names.
To create your business page, you just have to log into your personal Facebook page. Click on the down arrow in the top right of the tool bar and click on create page.
So for this article, I decided to add myself as an LMP under Health and Beauty category. (Since no one has claimed BMIS, I’m leaving that for some other entrepreneur to grab up. Deadline is one month after this article goes live in the Journal). My business page is “Michael J Mandell, LMP” and my shortcut is www.facebook.com/mjmlmp. Now my toolbar has three pages that I manage.
Notice the full name of my page shows up in the toolbar and I have to be very careful to only allow clients to follow me there and not my personal page. You can also put your colleagues on your business page instead of your personal page.
There are some best practices with Facebook and LinkedIn that I follow.
Personal Facebook – These are my close friends that you would call up and go have a beer with or coffee. They know you personally outside of your work and professional life. Keep this page hidden from the general public.
Facebook Business Page – Colleagues and clients only. Some of your personal friends like to follow you here too and that’s OK. But if you see a new client in your office and then they want to be friends on Facebook, point them to your Facebook Business Page. Keep your business separate from personal. Open this page to the Public.
LinkedIn – Strictly people you have done business with or employed. Would you recommend this person to a prospective employer or business? This is not where your friends or acquaintances should be linked. Most likely link this on my About Page and open to the public.
Have a clear policy on your Social Media Applications. Follow them and try not to cross the lines between personal and business. You can cross post on all of them, and that’s OK.
Twitter is a 140 character platform for you to get a quick message out to your audience (followers) on your twitter account. 140 Characters goes fast so you have to be quick and witty sometimes when posting. I recommend that you always leave room to send them to your website, “jump page” or blog post. This is a great way to see how well your tweets do. You can setup advance settings on your website analytics.
Twitter only allows you to have one email linked to a twitter account. So if you have more than one email account like email@example.com/. You can easily setup an alias on most email systems and point it to firstname.lastname@example.org. An alias is not a real email address but if someone sends you an email to email@example.com (alias) it would end up in your regular email address. (Check with your mail provider on aliases)
Create your twitter account with the BMIS as your Twitter account. This will allow people to tweet very easily. So every time you tweet, you’re going to put the hashtag #BMIS. Not only are you continuing your brand but it will take them to all the other tweets about you and your link to your website.
Link your twitter account to your Facebook Business Page so every time you tweet 140 characters it’s posted to your Facebook Business Page as well. (See below for instructions) If you have something more than 140 characters to say, then use Facebook or a Blog.
LinkedIn is business to business and employment social media. As a business person, you put your resume out there where businesses and potential employers can find your skills and post jobs to your skill level. It’s also used primarily for you to introduce colleagues to your business connections. For example, if you wanted to work for the DreamClinic and you see that one of your associates you’ve worked with in the past works at the DreamClinic. You would ask them through LinkedIn to make an introduction for you. LinkedIn is not only a social media but great place to find and write articles based on your profession or interests. Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn requires there to be a pre-existing relationship. Do not just let anyone become your friend on LinkedIn. A lot of scams starts with someone asking to be your friend and then try to sell you something. And just because they are friends with someone you know, don’t friend them as you are somewhat endorsing them as well. People can always follow you on LinkedIn without being a friend.
Its best practice to have the LinkedIn social media icon on your “About” web page. It’s for colleagues and business vendors to connect to you and recommend you to other potential business.
Linking to your Website
Now that you have a business page and twitter account you can now connect them to your website. Depending on the type of website you have, you always want to follow some simple rules in linking everything together. SEO likes to see your links at the top. Potential clients want to see what other people have written about you. So they will be more apt to click on the Facebook link before booking an appointment with you. They also like to see your twitter account and see what people have tweeted about you. At the top of your website, you should have your navigation, “Call to Action – Book Now Button”, any social media and Newsletter signup if you have one.
If you are using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, weebly, wix or some other database driven system, the CMS systems have “Widgets” to install so programming becomes very easy. So if you want to have a scrolling Facebook or Twitter box on your website, using a CMS is much more streamlined and has a “click and install” features.
NOTE: I’m a WordPress user and I like it because it’s free and people create all different kinds of widgets to use. I also like the feature of being able to do a blog post on my website and have it go out to Twitter and Facebook. Isn’t that the best way to market yourself and drive traffic to your website?
Driving Traffic with Social Media
There are many ways to drive traffic to your website and ways to use social media. This is more of a kick start to get you started. Twitter can feed into Facebook. If you use a CMS system, your blog post can feed to Twitter and Facebook. That way you are only posting once and it gets transmitted out to other systems.
Start out slow and be consistent. Have a plan in place. Most people are surprised when they start posting how big a response they get. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Now that you have linked it to your website, make sure there is a link on every printed and electronic marketing pieces. Anywhere your name is printed, your Facebook and Twitter account should be as well.
Ask people to like your Facebook Page or follow you on twitter. Be careful of scams and if you don’t know them, ignore them, but remember they could be a potential client. Have your rules spelled out in your email announcement that you have a page and twitter account.
- First 10 that like your page will be entered into a drawing for a free massage. Do not offer incentives to attract good comments. This can get you into trouble with the social media site and get your account suspended or cancelled. Let them happen naturally and unrehearsed. Consumers are smart and they will recognize fake comments and the “Likes”.
A great way to drive traffic is announcements. An announcement can be anything from weekly openings, taking a new class, reading an interesting article or just a funny quote of the week, last minute cancellations you want to fill.
Create a plan! And stick to it!
Social Media should be a part of your marketing plan. Most of us plan out the year with our specials and holidays / events. So the social media should be a part of this.
Here are some helpful links to educate yourself more.
Connecting your Twitter account to FB Page
Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Dominos Commercial is a great example of seeing it all work together – Order Pizza on any device any app – Text, App, Twitter.
NOTE: This article was published in the AMTA-WA FALL Edition of the Journal