Former TV news reporter Lisa Ostrikoff launched her Calgary-based video production and social media marketing company, BizBOXTV, in 2009 to take advantage of the shift toward social in the advertising landscape. “The company was created and launched in the digital realm, and social media is not only part of what we do, it’s part of who we are,” she says.
There are multiple social platforms available, and each has its benefit for certain businesses.
Ostrikoff sees social communities as a valuable resource for generating business opportunities, if you know how to use it to your advantage. Here she offers her tips on how to make social media work for you.
Pick a Platform
There are multiple social platforms available, and each has its benefit for certain businesses. But you don’t have to maintain a presence on all of them in order to have a successful social strategy. “You don’t have time to manage every platform effectively so choose one or two and do them well,” Ostrikoff advises. “I’ve seen too many businesses spread themselves too thin, so that their presence on every platform then becomes ineffective.”
Consider the type of leads you want to generate: if you design a clothing line, Pinterest may be the best way for you to convert followers into customers. If you’re a consultant, Twitter can help establish you as a thought leader in your industry. But the best way to select the best social platform for your business is trial and error. “There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to social media, and you have to spend some time on these platforms to figure that out.”
Set the Tone
The way you present yourself is key to generating business leads on social media. At the most basic level, professionalism should always be top of mind on both your personal and business profiles – no matter where you’re posting, potential clients are watching. “Decide how you want to broadcast yourself, and make social media a critical part of your overall business strategy, not just a ‘maybe if I have time’ add-on,” Ostrikoff says. “Make sure your profile picture and bio effectively portray the personal brand you want to put out there, regardless of the platform, and then make sure what you’re sharing, saying and talking about align with that image.”
Plan out your posts in advance to ensure you’re regularly engaging in the types of conversations your customers would want to join. Offer advice, socialize with potential clients and post valuable industry information to showcase your expertise – but avoid pushing your product or service right away, which can seem too “sales-y” for a social community. “Tone alone can be enough to either earn a client, or push potential ones away,” Ostrikoff warns.
Aim for Your Target
Clever posts alone won’t generate business opportunities unless you focus on building a targeted following of like-minded professionals and potential clients. “This is absolutely the thing that takes the most time, and the thing that most people don’t do well,” Ostrikoff says. “It’s very easy to get distracted on social media, so you always have to remember why you are there in the first place.”
Set your goal and keep it in your sites each time you log on. If your main objective is to generate leads and make professional connections, focus on that rather than getting caught up in conversations about Kim Kardashian’s latest exploits (though if Kim is vital to your business identity, by all means opine away).
Track Your Progress
An increase in direct conversions from your social profiles is an obvious way to determine the return on your investment in social media, but it’s not the only way to establish your success. “I knew we were doing something right when I would have multiple people come up to me at events to say they follow me on Twitter or we’re connected on LinkedIn, which would then turn into meeting requests and new clients,” says Ostrikoff. “If you’re seeing little or no return from the hours you spend chatting people up on Twitter every day, you really need to look at your strategy and uncover new ways to make social media work for you.”
With a well thought-out strategy, social media can be fertile ground for developing new business opportunities. Share your tips in the comments.