You gotta love Betty White. In a recently released movie, she portrays a high school girl’s grandmother, and in one scene a boy is asking for her granddaughter’s phone number. Of course it’s White’s character who responds with hers. “I’m also on Facebook… and the Twitter!” she enthusiastically adds.
So, if Facebook and “The Twitter” have reached Betty White’s generation, certainly it’s reached just about everyone by now, including your business. But in using these sites, called “social networks,” for the purposes of marketing our businesses or our books, we should keep in mind that in a way we are twisting the original purpose of those sites to suit our own needs.
Let’s face it, Mark Zuckerberg did not create Facebook in college so that authors could sell more books or so corporations could support new product launches. In fact, hooking up socially, as Betty White tried, is probably closer to what Zuckerberg actually intended.
Remember, social networking sites are places where people go to interact with other people, catch up with friends, follow celebrities and, yes, look up their high school sweetheart from 20 years ago to see if he or she is single again. So, when entities get too commercial with their updates and messages, the community crashes down on their heads. You see, with Facebook and Twitter, people are free to comment on your updates in whatever way they want. Sure, you can delete the ones you don’t like, but that just means they’ll post something else, or maybe talk about you on someone else’s feed.
So, let me give you the two important things I try to keep in mind in using social networking for my business:
Don’t Promote, Just Educate – How can you use social networks to grow your business and promote your book? Well, you have to adjust your intentions! I love the quote from motivational speaker John Maxwell, who said, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care!” In other words, don’t try to push your promotional messages through those channels. If you provide advice from your expert’s point of view that actually helps the reader, you will create a following of people wanting to know more about you. For example, if you’re a tax advisor who wrote a book or launched a new Web site, use your update to give people useful tax tips. If they like your advice they’ll look at your profile, where you can passively place your business contact information.
PR is the fuel to your social media engine – PR is about newsworthy information that radio and TV hosts and print publications use to entertain and inform their publics. Since the most popular postings on social networks are links to useful articles, videos, podcasts and audio; there is nothing better to build your online following than linking your PR coverage from reputable media sources, introducing you as an expert. So, if you are actively engaged in a PR campaign, now you can use your media coverage as legitimate updates that won’t be received as self-serving sales pieces.