In this 21st Century world, being digital and online is a must for growing your business. Yet many of us, who did not grow up “plugged in,” find it difficult to know where to start in generating a presence online. But from customer service to lead generation, the internet is really one of your best resources for building your reputation, name-recognition and ultimately business. Let’s take a look at how you can get started … with Facebook and Twitter Social Media.
SOCIAL MEDIA: What do you think of when you hear the words, “Social Media?” While the thought of communicating through this medium can be a bit intimidating, you can use Social Media to advertise, network, inform, update and do customer service. Each Social Media platform has strengths in one of these areas. Some platforms which might be useful to you as a builder include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr.
FACEBOOK: Facebook has over 10 million users, so it is a quite powerful resource to get your name out there, to an audience that is targeted to need your services. Before you can create a company page for your business, you must first have a personal Facebook profile.
To set up your personal Facebook profile, you will need to provide contact information, such as your phone and email, your work history, your website(s) and your photo. Some info is optional. Next, use the “search” option to find people you know and click on the green “Add Friend” button. After you’ve found 25 “friends,” you will be able to create a company page. Just a caveat – your business page will be related to your personal page, so don’t post anything on your personal page that you wouldn’t want potential customers to read.
The company page is called a “fan page” on Facebook. To create one, go to your main news feed and scroll down the page. Look on the left side for a menu called “Pages,” and under that, click on “Create a page.” This will take you to a page with 6 icons. The one you should click on is the first: “Local Business or Place.” It will ask you what category your business fits into. Select the closest to what you do. You will not be able to change this after the page has been created! Next, you will need to input information about your business, such as business name, address and phone number. Then, click on “Get Started.”
After creating the page, you will be able to customize it with links, video, photos and contact forms. When your page looks and works the way you like, start to collect fans! First, click on “Suggest to Friends,” and choose the friends you know might be interested in your page. Also post the link on your personal page by clicking the “share” button. Finally, email customers to like the page by the “send a message” link. When you are gathering fans, keep in mind that although you may have other builder friends, they probably are not the best to be fans of your business page. Instead, target those who are realtors or existing homeowners who have been happy with your work.
TWITTER: Twitter is a far more succinct and brief platform. A post on Twitter is called a “tweet.” You have only 140 characters to express yourself. If you add a photo or a link to your tweet, that addition will take away characters from the 140 total, so you will necessarily need brevity in what you post.
To get started in Twitter, create a new account. Choose a name that makes sense in relationship to your business. Your name may only use 14 characters, so again, think short. Next, complete your profile with your name, your website address, a background about your company and what you do and your logo or photo representing your brand.
When you are ready to tweet, try to be catchy. Tweet about your business, about maintenance tips, about business news, and ask questions and engage in conversations. If you post a link to your site, make it shorter at TinyURL or at Bitly. That way, it will not use up all of your character limit! Don’t make everything you post an advertisement. People will grow weary of those posts and unfollow you.
To get followers, look for people who have bought a home from you, Realtors and title companies to start with. You will notice that, as you post tweets, people and companies will begin to “follow” you. Do not automatically return the favor by “following” them – investigate first to see if following them will benefit your sales and business.
If you see an interesting and relevant tweet by one of your followers, you can “retweet” it by clicking the icon with two arrows in a circle. You may comment on it by clicking the single arrow below it. You can also “like” it by clicking the heart icon under the tweet.
A final facet of Twitter is the hashtag (#). When you put a hashtag in front of a word, it will file your tweet under that tag. Then people searching for a specific subject will see your post. For example, you might begin with “#Homebuyers” in your tweet. Your message would then appear, along with any other tweets that contain the hashtag, #Homebuyers.
Check back tomorrow for insight into the other Social Media platforms of LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr.