How To Harness Social Media to Boost Your Business

You constantly hear that social media is the way to build business, attract friends, fans, and followers, and “go viral” overnight. But as anyone who has waded into the web has quickly discovered, you can easily spend hours caught in this “web” with very little to show for your effort.

If only it were as easy as creating a Facebook page.

Don’t lose heart, however. As you’ve heard us say elsewhere on these pages, PR and marketing efforts are cumulative. They build over time. And over time, your investments will pay off.

Here are some bangarang ways to get readers interested in your business, whatever it may be.

Solicit Your Friends

Perhaps the hardest part about starting any new business is this: Owning It. Tell your friends and contacts about your new venture. Don’t be shy – they’re your friends and they support you. Twitter is built upon the reciprocal tweet system. Friend/follow someone and with about a 10% rate, they’ll follow/friend you.

Time your posts

Becoming something of an authority in your industry takes time and effort, but it’s what you want to do in order to assure your clients and customers that your product or service is coming from the best source. The key is consistency. Like the gym, gains aren’t made overnight but by sticking to a planned schedule. Time your posts and social media listings to publish at a set time 2-5 times every week, at least.

And when specifically should you publish your blog posts? Typically, the best time to publish your blogs is between 9:30am and 11am USA East Coast time. Testing has shown that this is the time when most Americans are up and running, but this data constantly changes. For Facebook, you can use their analytics tool to find out what time best suits your audience.

Now that you’ve got the basics covered, let’s look at ways you can go about drumming up that business.

Create Interesting Content

This is the hardest thing of all, right? I mean, if creating interesting content was so easy, we wouldn’t spend hours trolling the web looking for it. Well here’s the golden rule: do what your customers are too lazy to do. It takes work, but it isn’t necessarily hard. Once you know your business (and you do, right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be in business) then all you have to do is tell your industry the best things about their business.

Take, for instance, flashlights. Now my girlfriend goes crazy over this, but I recently developed a thing for flashlights. Not a pervy thing, just an interest. So I poke about looking for which flashlight has the best throw, flood, spill, this and that, you know, whatever. Anyway, these people over at candlepowerforums have done more testing than you would’ve ever thought possible about flashlights, their lumen output, their lux output, their ANSI ratings, mods, you get the picture.

Still, if you’re looking into purchasing a light hand cannon, well then you’ve come to the right place. The font of information inspires you, engages you, and they sell flashlights.

Now back to your business:

  1. Find interesting content that pertains to your field: this can be anything from ANSI ratings to the brilliance of radiant cut diamonds. Share this with your readers. It will boost your SERP (Social Engine Results Page) and help to define you as an authority in your field.
  2. Make it new – Below, I encourage you to make a spreadsheet–a list–of others in your field. (That’s right, even your competitors.) Read their posts and spin their content. Take their nugget and add your own value to it. (It’s not stealing; all of society is built off a handful of great people and their work. We all pitch in incrementally, but we all had to learn something from someone.) See what’s happening in the field, what your customers are responding to (by checking out which blog posts receive the most shares) and see how you can add your own creative twist.
  3. Give Away Free Stuff – I know that it’s hard to do this as a budding business, but here’s perhaps the most valuable thing you can give: information. (That’s what Alchemy On Demand is doing here, see?) Use that interesting content and create an eBook or better yet, a training course. Offer a service and have your audience pay with a tweet. Or with, say, a Facebook “like” or email address. The more creative you get here the better.

Get a list of others in your field

What? This is about me, not them, right? I know, I know. But if you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that I’m a big fan of lists–for a reason: editors, readers, and customers love lists – and you should too. For our present purposes, your list enables you to find out what others in your field are doing and spark ideas about what you could be doing to create interest. You identify opportunities to comment to their blog or Facebook posts, thereby alerting their friends, followers, and fans, that you’re a valuable resource too. You might even approach one of these businesses or social media sites with a request to author a guest blog on their site. And offer them the same on yours. Now you’re gaining access to their customers.

Google Alerts is another great way to stay up-to-date about what is going on in your field, but generally speaking, might not be focused enough to be pertinent in your niche. If you’re selling a product or service related to spiritual healing, for example, then you may have a hard time finding other blogs and industry professionals that are keeping you updated with breaking news. But you will probably find a wealth of information regarding healing, spirituality, holistic health, general health, Western vs. Eastern Medicine, etc., in general. Use Technorati to get a good list of 200+ blogs that pertain to your field and then use a service like Alexa or Similarweb to check rankings and order them in order of their readership.

Something like so:

This will give you the contacts you need in order to stay up to date on what is happening in your industry. If you don’t like doing this yourself (after all, you’ve got a company to run), I’ve found some great help using Upwork in the past.

Well, there you have it. Some good info about the beginning stages of drumming up your business. I’ll conclude here with the firm advice to begin conversations with people, like them, follow them, +1 them, Link them, whatever it takes at this point. It’s hard to get your readership off the ground, but once you get rolling, you get rolling in customers, and ooh boy – what a feeling.

-Hudson Hornick
Alchemy On Demand

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