Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My name is Anne. I am a social media convert

photo by neededwanted.com
When I started out in social media, I gingerly put my toe in the LinkedIn water and before very long, was swimming with a robust group, where some lively and helpful discussions were taking place.

So next was Twitter.  After all, as a busy small business owner, I could only devote so much time to this new fad - social media.  Well, fast forward a few months and I am hooked.  Actually truth be, with my addictive personality, it is sometimes hard to switch it off.

And I have had some success, proudly boasting that I have over 1,000 followers.  I have to admit, having a regular column with the Huffington Post has also helped to boost my numbers.

What I have found is that when you send out useful information/reports, peppered with just a few promotional pieces, people trust and want to follow you.  You become recognized as an expert in your field.

So what do I find to tweet about? No one really wants to know or cares what you had for breakfast.  Keep it professional, with the occasional personal tidbit, just to keep people interested.  I have subscribed to several of the topic-based daily e-newspapers. They provide a quick summary of blogs, articles and reports on your chosen topic, which in my case is women and business. 

While sometimes it does take time to scan through what is available, they are great resources.  I also add to my time commitment as I actually read the articles or blogs, before tweeting or retweeting.  One, I want to make sure the information is worthy of tweeting and will be of interest to my followers, and second, I gain useful knowledge too.
In our busy lives, these quick snippets keep me abreast of what is happening, and I am always learning something new.

Industry-related magazines such as Inc and Entrepreneur and business section of The Globe and Mail are also good sources of information for me but I am sure you know where to get the latest information on your industry.

I am often asked how long I spend on this activity and it is usually just half-an-hour a day.  I tend to do it first thing before the emails start to pour in and the phone rings off the hook. 

There’s also some Twitter etiquette to follow which can take a bit of time because when someone retweets your tweet or mentions you, it is expected that you will say “thank you.”  But if you do it at the end of the day, you can send out a one-time tweet to acknowledge everyone, rather than individual ones.

You can also use programs such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to program and schedule your tweets so they are spread out throughout the day.

I know… you are wondering about Facebook.  It’s on my list.  We have a Company of Women page, but I have not paid too much attention to it.  Like everyone else, the “to-do” list grows but I know from others that it will be time well-spent.

So if you are hovering about getting into social media – take it from me, the non-techy one, that once you get over your initial fears, it is worthwhile and can be another way to grow your business.

And yes, I will be tweeting this blog.

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