I think Facebook and twitter are great marketing tools. I use both to gain exposure and generate leads for my translation business. So far they’ve helped me secure a couple of translation projects that I wouldn’t have gotten if my clients hadn’t seen my FB fan page or a twitter follower hadn’t referred them to me.
How do I do it…? Well, first, I do have a fan page on FB. For those new to FB, their fan pages are public so you can reach both members and non members. You control the information you disclose: what you do, business hours, preferred contact method, best time to reach you or working hours, etc. You can include links to your webpage and/or blog. Using the links and notes features you can keep your clients posted on new products/practices, offers, discounts, etc. You can also send “updates” to all your fans whenever you want without having to PM each one of them individually (which is not only time consuming but can also get your account blocked by FB Help Desk).
Second, I do post about what I do which is mainly translating, proofreading, and editing. No sugar coating. I even post links to classified ads I have placed somewhere else (like at kijiji.com). But – this is VERY important – I try not to make the posts/status updates too “strictly business” because most people (including myself) don’t like spammers. If I’m reading an article or listening to music, I share links with my FB friends/twitter followers. If someone I follow on twitter posts something interesting, I normally RT it. I don’t go into my FB professional profile too often because I have it linked to twitter but when I do go in I take a couple of minutes to see what everyone else is up to and like a video or post here and there.
Third, to increase traffic to FB and twitter (and ultimately my web site), I included links to both on the signature I use for LinkedIn and other professional networking sites. Something like this:
Well I have found that Twitter is more for just fun than for making business connections. It may have started out as a way to make business connections, but as of late, folks are using it for chatting. Sure you see folks posting about their business, but does anyone ever really respond to them. So far I have gain two clients from using Twitter.
Nope, I'm not using any social media outlets to promote my business. I use social outlets for networking. In the course of networking, topics come up. Some of those topics include a project I'm working on -- creating the world's biggest LGBTQ event in history: http://cli.gs/sqap4r & on FB: http://cli.gs/96gr32 -- and some times the topic of what I do (or try to do to earn some extra $$$, as I'm disabled) comes up, and I've gotten a few referrals that way.
If you try to use social networking for marketing purposes, you're going to fail. Use social networking to network. Be responsive, don''t push yourself or your product/business (OK, once in a blue moon it's ok but people take "once in a blue moon" to be one out of every five tweets/status updates--NOT a good thing!).
If you are genuine and responsive to people, and engage them, you'll have success in your social networking efforts, whatever they are!