4425870475_98a30eba98_mIf you decide to take the time to invest in social media marketing, one would assume that a primary goal would be to attain new business. This holds true no matter what business you are in. Building new business relationships in the dizzying world of social media can seem intimidating, however, and there are a lot of mistakes that are easy to make and difficult to recover from. Given those facts, we thought we’d dedicate today’s #FiveTipsFriday to ideas on how to actually generate new business using social media channels. We hope these tips help!

1. Make sure you network with potential customers instead of (or in addition to) peers

This is the easiest trap to fall into when you begin your social media presence. Because the pace is so fast and because it is so hard to find conversations you want to jump into, you find yourself gravitating towards conversations that are occurring between companies or individuals like yourselves. You are reading the same materials, dealing with the same obstacles, and attending the same conferences. The problem, of course, is that while networking with your peers can be extremely fun and can even create real-life friendships, the likelihood of a business similar to yours buying from you (or even referring customers to you) is slim. You need to make a concerted effort to find the places where your customers are engaging online and meet them there.

2. Do not become a broadcast channel

A lot of Twitter or Facebook accounts that belong to companies simply broadcast the company’s blog posts or even press releases. We have come upon company Facebook pages that were nothing but lists of product pictures that the page admin “liked” each time. This is not a good way to attract anybody to your social media outposts.

3. Do not fail to promote what you are or what you do

In order to avoid the “yuck” factor of over-promotion, many companies hedge towards the other end of the spectrum and NEVER mention what they do. Twitter bios may be filled with personal details and Facebook pages may be nothing but laugh-inducing Facebook memes. Although these can be good ways to build a sizable network, they are not good ways to build your business. If nobody knows what you do, how will they know to call on you when they need your particular kind of product or service?

4. Make sure you have a methodology for nurturing leads

If someone expresses interest in your company, do you have a way to build that relationship? There are numerous ways to help nurture “interest” into a paying customer, but you need to have a plan in advance. Working on the fly in those kinds of scenarios seldom works. Invite people to sign up for your e-newsletter, invite people to register for a white paper, or find some other way to bring them to your website so that you can give them more information about how you can help.

5. Make sure your social media “voice” accurately represents your company

When a person interfaces with your corporate Twitter or Facebook account, they should get a good understanding of what it would be like to work with you. That means no “bait and switch” tactics. If someone expresses interest in your company after seeing you engage in the Twitter stream, don’t immediately hit them with a hard sell approach. If you talk about how good your customer service is via your social media sites, make sure you can live up to that standard. Your social media efforts will cease generating new business for you if word gets out that you are not representing your company realistically or correctly.

Of course, there are many other tips and intricacies involved when you are trying to grow your business with social media as one of your tools. If this is something you are contemplating, these five tips are just the tip of the iceberg. If you would like some ideas or assistance, please let us know!

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