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23 Tips for Using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for Business

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With the global economy still slumping, businesses and marketers are embracing new methods of social marketing as a way to spread the word in a more reliable, consistent, and cost-effective way.

Are you taking advantage of all that the LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter platforms offer?

Read these quick tips to double-check what you're doing now and identify what you could do better.

LinkedIn

1. Complete your personal profile


Set up a full, complete personal profile. The more thorough you are, the easier it will be for people to find you via the search engines. Make sure to list your skills in your profile, complete the summary, and include a professional photo of yourself to increase your credibility.

2. Promote your LinkedIn profile

In your email signature, add a hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile. Print it on your business cards, too.

3. Grow and monitor your network

Import your existing contacts lists from your email client to find out which of your contacts are already on LinkedIn. You should regularly scour through your email contacts for people you might want to connect with on LinkedIn.

4. Engage with your connections via LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn allows members to join up to 50 groups, which are a great way to make new connections. Seek out groups with large memberships and those related to your industry or organized around small-business concerns (if you're a small business).

5. Get recommendations

One way to build trust is to build a list of LinkedIn recommendations, which are one of the most looked-for feature when LinkedIn users view someone's profile for the first time.  Request LinkedIn recommendations from happy customers who might be willing to provide testimonials.

6. Integrate your blog feeds into LinkedIn

Sync your LinkedIn and blog RSS feed by adding the BlogLink application on LinkedIn to your profile. It will automatically take your profile's website links and display it under the Application section.

Facebook

1. Ask questions

One of the easiest ways to engage with others on Facebook is to ask questions. People love to talk about themselves and offer their thoughts. The more comments and "Likes" you get on your posts, the more likely they are to appear higher in users' feeds.

Keywords such as "where," "when," "would," and "should" spark the highest level of engagement on Facebook. "Would," in particular, drives spikes in "Likes" due to fans using "Like" as a way of voting yes on a question.

2. Interact and engage

When people write comments on your posts or wall, contribute to the discussion to maintain user engagement. Again, the longer a thread is, the higher it will likely rank in your fans' Facebook news feeds.

3. Incorporate wall sapplets

Instead of just posting items with text, vary the material and incorporate interactive components known as sapplets, which might include polls or coupons. They will prompt your fans to engage with your status updates directly in the news feed, beyond standard "Likes" and comments.

4. Incorporate relevant photos

Rather than just telling your fans about your products and services, show them. Relevant photos will attract people to your posts.

Most people aren't interested in reading through long text updates, but they love immediate content such as photos. Facebook has assigned a higher weight value to photos than to other types of content, so photos will keep you in people's news feeds.

You could also post images to introduce fans to your company's employees or show them how things work behind the scenes.

5. Comment or invite comment on current events

Carefully, without wading into anything too controversial, try stating your position on current news or issues, or invite others to share their views. Ask people what they think about breaking news, celebrity gossip, sports, or other topics. Doing so can be an effective way to encourage fans to engage with you and take part in a discussion.

6. Incorporate videos

Everyone loves interactive content, and video is one of the best ways to draw attention. And because videos can be played within the news feed, users aren't redirected away when they start playing a clip.

Make the videos short—to keep people's attention—and set expectations within the text so your fans know what the clip is about. You could, for example, use videos to offer people a tutorial on how to best to use your products/services.

7. Include links within posts

As a tool for sharing and spreading information, Facebook is an obvious place for you to post links.

Encourage people to interact with your brand by posting links that users will find valuable or interesting. Doing so will in turn encourage people to share the links with their friends, spreading word about your brand and driving engagement.

8. Be explicit in your posts

Not explicit as in XXX content or swearing, but rather explicit in the sense of telling people exactly what you want them to do. What action do you want them to take as a result of reading your post?

Simply posting content that you think might generate traffic isn't always enough. To get results, sometimes you need to tell people exactly what actions you want them to take. For example: "Click here and use our special tool to post to your wall."

Twitter

1. Hashtag

You should familiarize yourself with the # symbol—and make it your friend. Put a hashtag in front of a keyword or your URL, and Twitter will convert them into searchable terms.

What does this mean for you? Anyone searching for something can find all tweets containing your hashtagged word in a single location, thus making it easier for them to find your tweets even if they're not one of your followers.

Search the database for hashtagged questions pertaining to your business or topics of your expertise and connect with those followers.

2. Engage with your followers

Sending out tweets but never responding to your followers will get you nowhere. Respond to those who tweet at you and answer any questions they raise. Each time you interact with your followers, make sure it's a personalized message. No one wants to feel like they're receiving a mass tweet.

If they feel your message is sincere and they like what you have to offer, the chances of their retweeting your information is even greater, thus ultimately exposing your business to more followers.

3. Combine your platforms

Use applications like Twitterfeed.com or Hootsuite to syndicate your blog with your Twitter account. Every time you send out a new blog post, your followers on Twitter will be alerted, saving you the time and effort of tweeting about your new blog post.

4. Update your profile

Although most of your followers are reading only your tweets and not your bio, it's still important to have a profile in place that's up-to-date and professional. Think of it as an extension of your brand. Potential new followers and customers will be checking out your profile to see what you're about before hitting the golden "Follow" button.

5. Use the power of lists

A Twitter list is basically a compilation of followers, grouped together. You can use these lists to offer special promotions to customers—for instance, create a list of all your valued customers and tweet exclusive offers to those on the list.

6. Keep track

Track your followers and identify who is really paying attention to your tweets. You can do so by tracking retweets, clicks, messages, and hashtag mentions. And, by doing so, you can identify your most loyal followers and nurture those relationships.

7. Ask questions

Get feedback from your followers by asking the right questions. Find out what you're doing right, what you need to work on, and what they want more of. You will not only show that you're listening but also glean valuable insights about your followers and consumers.

8. Tweet about others

You don't always need to talk about yourself and your company. Integrate others' ideas and links into your tweets. Retweet what your followers have tweeted, share their links, and let your followers know what you find interesting about a particular tweet. Doing so lets your followers know that you're human and are interested in what they have to say as well. Plus, it's a great way to expand your community of followers.

9. Customer Service

Create an account for your followers to use to tweet questions about products or services to you directly. You'll be able to interact with your consumers via this channel and provide them with something of value.

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For more on making social media marketing work better for your business, download How to Generate Leads from Social Media.


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Sookie Shuen is community manager at inbound marketing consultancy Tomorrow People, where she handles community activities based on the Zoober Inbound Marketing methodology. She also authors the Tomorrow People blog. You can reach her via Google+ and Twitter.

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Comments

  • by Nick Stamoulis Fri Oct 12, 2012 via web

    Tweeting other people's content is a great idea. No man is an island and there is nothing wrong with giving your audience more information, even if it isn't coming directly from you.

  • by Nimrod Ganzarski Tue Oct 16, 2012 via mobile

    Also, it's important not to ignore or delete "bad" posts/tweets, or complaints. Engage them amd let them feel someone is listening.
    Great tips summary.

  • by Nimrod Ganzarski Tue Oct 16, 2012 via mobile

    Also, it's important not to ignore or delete "bad" posts/tweets, or complaints. Engage them amd let them feel someone is listening.
    Great tips summary.

  • by Alyona Kalachova Mon Oct 22, 2012 via web

    Nice advice is the integration your blog feeds into LinkedIn.

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