The Auckland Business Chamber is a great advocate of best practice in business – such as networking with other expert subject-matter businesses. Energise is one such business that specialises in social media marketing. So when we wanted to share a blog about social media for small business, social media for business growth and thought leadership, what better resource could we utilise than our close networking partner - and provider of expert business advice – Energise.
We are certain you will find great value in the following social media topics for business that are kindly reproduced with the permission of Energise.
- Getting the best out of social media for your business
- Practical tips for becoming a thought leader
- Can LinkedIn really add value to my business?
Social media takes a significant investment of time and effort so you want to make sure you’re on the right track. To help you along, here are our top tips on producing effective, engaging content.
Set your goals
As with anything you do in business, set your goals before you launch into the world of social media. Sit down with your key stakeholders and decide what you really want to achieve with a social media presence. Do you want to boost sales? Build a loyal community? Find more prospects?
Don’t try to be everywhere
We’ve said it before and we will say it again. It is unlikely you can be on all social media networks effectively. Choose one or two that fit best for you and do your best to be outstanding on these.
Take a long, hard look at your content
What kind of narrative do you want to tell about your business? How are you going to tell your stories? Videos? Blogs? Podcasts? Think about the kind of people you want to engage and what sort of interactions you want to have with customers and prospects. These questions will help shape your content and ensure you stay on track.
Consider the time investment
Different networks also require different time investments – Twitter users expect much more frequent posts than Facebook users, so make sure you have the time and content to be effective on your chosen social media platform.
Make time for Play
You can’t be expected to know everything about your chosen social media network as soon as you start. Make sure you schedule in some time to get familiar with the way your chosen channel works and what it can offer you. Don’t be afraid to play and experiment.
Social media should be viewed as a two way communication with your audience no matter what network you have chosen – be realistic about the amount of interaction you are willing and able to participate in. In addition to posting your content, you also need to interact with your audience – make sure you respond to comments in a timely manner and address any questions that come up. Social media doesn’t work if it is a one way street. You need to interact and participate in conversations in order for this to work for both you and your customers.
Practical tips for becoming a thought leader
The term Thought Leader has been a buzzword for some time, but what does it mean, and what can it add to your business?
Thought Leaders are positioned as “best in class” in their field. They have a combination of accomplishments and expertise in their chosen industry, as well as a body of published work that is cutting edge, innovative and well respected. They are popular and well connected, and see value in utilising social strategy to get their creative ideas moving.
Positioning yourself and/or your company as a Thought Leader in your industry ensures that potential clients and other industry players will associate your brand with insight and authority in your given field.
So how do you become a Thought Leader?
It’s not as simple as completing a course. Becoming a Thought Leader involves a passion and commitment to developing and refining your personal skill sets and industry connections along with a drive to develop new, innovate, cutting edge ideas, and to publish those ideas, in order to gain industry recognition in your chosen field.
Some practical tips:
Cultivate your personal brand
Spend time building your list of credentials on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. Be sure to note your career accomplishments, academic achievements, and industry credentials and/or awards. This will provide the base to grow from.
Develop a robust online presence. Begin with a blog to showcase your knowledge and establish followers who like or share your articles.
Generate and test content topic ideas by undertaking Google searches – to see what people in your industry are interested or excited about.
Connect with industry leaders in your chosen field and review what they are reading and posting on social media to learn, learn, learn. Comment or share on their posts to establish a presence with their followers.
Think outside the square – investigate what other industries are talking about online, and find synergies to your own industry that you can adapt and practically apply to create new and innovative thinking in your own industry.
Network – a lot
Join as many social media platforms as possible and connect with existing clients, professional contacts, those you have networked with at an event or seminar. Work through industry related groups; client related groups etc that provide articles or threads that you can generate additional connection opportunities from. Lastly interest groups – where you can contribute, but also take time to read others' queries, submissions and solutions, in order to learn from them.
Flaunt your connections – the higher ranked industry players you are connected to, the higher your own profile.
Similarly, the more people in your network, the more industry weight you will hold.
Read our recent blog: Networking – its importance to business
Engage in public speaking
Investigate guest-speaking opportunities at industry associations and conferences. Repurpose your content and presentations to multiple audiences so that the research and effort and time you put into compiling it are fully maximised across many channels. Be bold and innovative with your ideas. Be memorable, inspirational and forward thinking.
Investigate award opportunities in your industry and make it a goal to achieve that award.
Build your communication platform
Get published – as much as you can, whether it is in industry magazines or association material.
Make bolder claims in your social media and drive new ideas and bigger predictions.
Build an email list of loyal readers who can become your brand advocates and share your content with others.
Start publishing on industry related blogs.
It goes without saying that the more often you publish, the bigger audience you will have.
Video blogs on your website are also a useful way to add additional website traffic and raise your profile.
Becoming a Thought Leader isn’t something that happens overnight. It needs hard work, commitment and innovative thinking in order to raise your profile and achieve industry guru status. But it can be done – so what are you waiting for?
Remember that old adage, it’s not what you know – it’s who you know? Well in respect to business networking – this saying rings very true. And one of the most powerful ways to network now in this digital age is via business social media platform; LinkedIn.
Building strong and reliable business connections is critical for success – whether you’re a business owner or employee. Your contacts, recommendations and key suppliers are likely to be people and businesses you know, that know you and you have worked with in the past. It’s the power of these positive connections that can give a fledgling business an edge over its competitors. Staying in touch and top of mind with these connections is made easy on business social media, and that’s one of the reasons why LinkedIn is so valuable.
As a business owner or senior executive, you may be questioning what the real benefits are (if any) of being on LinkedIn. Here we discuss eight reasons why you need to use LinkedIn and why it is the most powerful business social media platform in the world.
1. You’re being Checked Out
So be visible and professional in a digital sense. Everyone wants to work with people and companies they are comfortable with and are confident will meet their needs. Whether you like it or not, it is almost a given that potential clients and customers have already searched online before engaging with you and your business. LinkedIn can provide your business with a confident professional presence on a respected social media platform, complete with unsolicited recommendations, which goes further than a website, and will help move the potential client closer to a sale.
2. Build Trust and Reputation
LinkedIn recommendations are highly credible as a visible link is created between the recommendation and the recommender and can only be generated by the recommender. These personal and business recommendations from happy clients and co-workers are visible for all to view at any time. This is a particularly important in New Zealand where word of mouth and recommendations are some of the fundamental foundations for a successful business.
3. Grow your brand recognition beyond your regular networks
Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn allows us to reach beyond our normal circle and expand networks. There are no physical, industry, or age barriers – you can connect with anyone, anywhere in the world. It has never been easier to grow your career or business by connecting with potential partners or those in similar industries.
As an online environment, LinkedIn provides a virtual showroom for your point of difference and what you want to be known for. Promote your brand, products, services, ability and skills to over half of the New Zealand working population.
4. Create Thought Leadership & tap into a wealth of content
LinkedIn’s content publishing platform LinkedIn Pulse – offers an in depth resource of industry specific content and information that can add real value to your business. Like any online resource you will have to search to find good quality content. But once you’ve found information that is relevant, notifications can be set up to go into a separate folder in your inbox.
LinkedIn Pulse can also be used to further your reputation as a thought leader – publish your own content which is added to your profile and available for all to read.
5. Nurture and generate leads
Cold sales calls, spam emails and recorded sales messages are an annoyance in any business, but done well via LinkedIn, can generate you valuable business leads. In a research study conducted in 2014, 80% of all social media business to business leads are from LinkedIn.
Once gained, nurture the business relationship, provide value and service over and over again – develop loyal customers who automatically return.
6. Get found and hire the best
Hire only the best people and be certain of their credentials and reputation before the first interview. Over 90% of recruiters will scan your LinkedIn profile as part of the recruitment process – making it a compulsory social media channel for any employee. Employers and recruiters can see at a glance a prospective employee’s movements and track record so make sure your information is thorough and up to date.
7. Connect with like-minded people and stay up to date
The best way to connect with like-minded people on LinkedIn is to join a group that interests you. This is a great way to reach beyond your usual circle of people and grow your network – you can join up to 50 groups. Ask for advice, share interesting articles and resources or start a discussion. And if you can’t find the right group for you, start your own.
Once you’ve connected, LinkedIn is a convenient way to keep up to date with colleagues, clients or friends have moved jobs or countries, had a recent success or are celebrating a work anniversary. Notifications for these events are automatically delivered straight to your inbox without having to set your preferences.
8. This is the future
With over 1.33 million users in New Zealand to date, there are no other business social media networks that come close to what LinkedIn has to offer. You are only visible to those who are three degrees of separation away from you or who belong to the same groups. So, for those of you who are not on LinkedIn or have neglected your profile, log on today and start expanding your network.