5 Rules for Social Media for Entrepreneurs

5 Social Media Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Repost from Entrepreneur, June 14, 2013

By Brian Patrick Eha

Social  media can level the playing field between industry leaders and upstarts, between multinational corporation executives and small-business  owners, making peers of all participants. Yet appearances can be deceiving. To  borrow from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, all social-media users are  equal, but some are more equal than others.

So what makes the difference between a following of 500 and a following of  500,000? While A-list celebrities can have an advantage over most everyone else,  other social media darlings have grown their base of fans more organically, and  you can learn from their strategies.

What follows are five keys culled from darlings of the current social media  landscape for increasing your influence in a way that can make a difference to  your business strategies.

1. Produce  quality content.

If you want to make your mark on social media, first and foremost you should  provide quality content. “Content is twofold,” says Mari Smith, a social-media  marketing expert and author of The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build  a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web (Wiley, 2011).  “It’s generating your own, [being] a thought leader. The other element is what I  call OPC — other people’s content — and not being afraid to share that.”

One man who successfully balances both elements is entrepreneur, investor and  author Guy Kawasaki. “He’s a self-professed ‘firehose of content,’ ” says Smith.  “He has a way of creating a nice blend of other people’s content as well as his  own thoughts and opinions.” Not only that, but according to his Twitter  bio, Kawasaki repeats every tweet four times in order to reach all time  zones.

Quantity is not the same as quality, of course, but what is remarkable about  Kawasaki, says Smith, is “his masterful ability to curate such volume. I could  skim through his tweets and probably find a few things every day that I could  pass on to my followers.”

2. Be open and engaging.

On social media, it’s important to be available to your audience, and few  people exemplify that principle better, says Smith, than entrepreneur Gary  Vaynerchuk. “On Twitter, he does a lot of responding” to followers, she says.  “He treats everybody as an equal, and he responds at an amazing velocity.”

What’s the upside of all this time-consuming engagement for Vaynerchuk? A  loyal and devoted following for his business books and priceless visibility for  his consulting business, VaynerMedia. “People love it,” Smith says. “If they get  a response from Gary, even if it’s a smiley face, they’re like, “Oh my God, Gary  tweeted back at me!'”

3. Focus on a specific niche.

On social media, you can either be a generalist — producing and curating a  hodge-podge of content across many different disciplines — or you can choose to  specialize in one or a few areas. Specialists tend to bend more ears than  generalists, says Smith. “Social media is extremely noisy. You’ve got to be able  to stand out,” she says, and the best way to do this is to own a particular  subject.

Jessica Northey, founder of Tucson, Ariz.-based social-media marketing  boutique Finger Candy Media, “owns” country music, says Smith. Northey hosts a  live weekly Twitter chat and Google+  “twangout” for country-music fans. This year, Forbes ranked Northey at  No. 3 on its list of the Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers. She has more  than half a million followers on Twitter and more than 700,000 on Google+. “In  my travels, if I came across anyone in the country-music arena, Jessica would be  my choice” of someone to connect them with, Smith says.

4. Use social media to build your business,  and vice versa.

For an entrepreneur, time spent on social media might seem like a distraction  from the more important tasks central to running a business. Because it’s so  time-intensive, you should back up your thought leadership on social media with  a real profit-making enterprise. Chris Brogan, founder and chief executive of  Human Business Works, a business-training company in Portland, Maine, is one  example, says Smith. “He walks his talk. He speaks all over the world, and he  consults with a lot of companies on social media.”

In other words, Brogan demonstrates his expertise in blog posts, uses social  platforms to broadcast those posts and then uses the resulting visibility to  market himself for speaking gigs, coaching sessions and more. These, in turn,  increase his social media following. And it doesn’t hurt that he was able to  carve out a place for himself by being an early adopter of social platforms,  Smith says.

5. Embrace each social network’s unique  culture.

Each social network has a “unique culture,” says Smith, and the best users  embrace it rather than sharing identical content across platforms. Take Cory  Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J. He relies mainly on Twitter, where he has more  than 1.2 million followers, and Facebook, and uses each platform in a way that  takes advantage of its native capabilities.

“On Twitter, I see him retweeting people, I see him thanking people and  engaging with them,” Smith says. She also notes that Booker makes use of  hashtags, a popular way of marking your tweets for a specific purpose or larger  conversation.

On Facebook, by contrast, Booker posts less frequently. “You don’t want to  bombard people on Facebook,” says Smith. He finds more elaborate ways to involve  his community in his activities. For instance, he uploads albums of photos from  various events where he has spoken.

Some power users maintain a presence on multiple networks, Smith says, but  for most people two are enough. “Really you want to have Facebook and one other  [platform] that you’re active on,” she says.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227016#ixzz2m00BC4Io

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