WELCOME ONCE AGAIN to Interviews With Experts. This week I talk with Dave Larson, 1/2 of the Twitter pro duo @TweetSmarter, about some very simple & concrete ways you can use Social Media to your SBE’s advantage–without being a guru-for-the-ages. Dave was even kind enough to include a list of further readings that cover the topics he touches on in greater detail, which you can find after the interview.
The @TweetSmarter account has won a Knight Foundation and Shorty award, been pictured on the front cover of CNN’s technology section, profiled by the Huffington Post, and has answered thousands of questions for Twitter users around the world over the past four-and-a-half years. Run by Dave Larson with the help of his wife Sarah, @TweetSmarter has been ranked as high as one of the three most influential accounts in the world in years past by various influence measurement services.
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Dan Gallo: Hi Dave, what’s your best advice the average Small Business can use to grow their business using Twitter?
Dave Larson: To grow your company, you need to be found easily by the people who want to do business with you.
In the past, you needed to be listed in the phone book or the Yellow Pages, and then hope someone sees it. Today, search engines and Social Media sites are the new Yellow Pages. So the first step is to have a website that at least includes your phone number and a description of what you do. Next, link to that website from Social Media profiles. You do NOT have to actually participate on social media to list your business there. This will not only help you be found on those sites, it’ll ensure your business is listed more prominently when people search for you on Google or Bing.
If you want to put your best foot forward when you’re ready to use Social Media, start by Tweeting some of your best advice that has no sales aspect to it. Put out some helpful information a few times a week so someone visiting your Twitter profile can see it.
Step 2 is to network: Connect with experts who run businesses similar to yours and get their advice. Twitter is the best platform in the world to make connections like this. Wouldn’t you want to pick the brain of someone with a business just like yours who doubled their sales? Or solved business problems you haven’t figured out how to solve yet?
Then, Step 3: Ask questions of the people you connect with and take their advice! You can watch what they do and copy how they use Social Media. There are tons of users that like to help others with their businesses and careers on Twitter.
Once you become a more advanced Twitter user, you can concentrate on finding new business there. Focus on capturing email addresses for your mailing list, because Social Media isn’t about direct selling or pitches. Use Twitter to drive prospects to your site with helpful or interesting information relevant to potential clients. Position yourself as a resource to get people to respond to your social media efforts.
So, to recap: 1. List your business on every Social Media site, no matter what. 2. Connect with successful people running businesses similar to yours and ask their advice. 3. Try their advice for yourself. 4. And after you’ve become more confident on Twitter, work to become a resource for potential clients, drive them to your website, and capture their email addresses.
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FURTHER RESOURCES FROM @TWEETSMARTER
- Use “The Ultimate Guide To Finding People Via Social Media“ and look for people who actually respond and converse about topics you find interesting or useful.
- To make a positive connection with folks, try some of the tips in ”An easy way to get someone’s attention on Twitter.”
- If you find a really great connection, try some of the tips in “How ANYONE can become incredibly popular on ANY social network.”
- For more about getting your questions answered, see “How to get your question answered on Twitter.”
- You can also consider connecting via Twitter with platform experts such as @TweetSmarter or @MariSmith.
- If you have an advertising budget, consider experimenting with targeted Facebook and Twitter advertising. It’s very inexpensive to try (especially Facebook).
- And if you need business-to-business leads, you should know that Twitter outperforms Facebook and LinkedIn 9-to-1 for B2B leads (according to Forbes).
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Have you picked up on the consistency of message from all the Social Media Experts we’ve interviewed? Social Media is not for overt selling!
There’s certainly a lot of import to what Dave said, but I think the biggest take-away for us is that creating accounts on all the Social Media sites is extremely useful even if you don’t plan on using them every day. That’s something you can do right now! Go and create those profiles, list your phone number, area of expertise, & website–and start controlling how you appear in every Internet search.
Sometimes running an SBE is like running through a strange house in the dark: Sooner or later, you’re going to hit a wall. So don’t run the race alone… chances are good someone else has a Spotlight!