We’ve all used social media in our social lives, but when it comes to business, the usual approaches don’t work so well.  But sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can be great sources of leads for your business if you approach them correctly.

You will see many different ways to use social media to promote your business; we have shared here a simple 7 step guide to getting started using social media to generate leads.  This is not the only approach that will work and we’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you find other methods that do or don’t work…

Should I use LinkedIn or Facebook?

The easy way to decide where to start is to consider your audience.  Do you define them based on “hard” factors such as:

Or on “soft” factors such as:

As a big generalisation, those that use the top list should focus on LinkedIn and those that use the bottom list, Facebook.  If you fall into both camps, do both!

Where to start on LinkedIn?

You probably already have a LinkedIn profile that you built years ago and use sometimes.  Well now is the time to start using it properly.  LinkedIn has recently updated its user interface, so it’s cleaner but a lot of useful stuff is now hidden away.

Start by taking a good look at LinkedIn and learn where everything is.  If you can’t find something, google what you are looking for.  There will always be an answer…

Next get your profile in order.  LinkedIn.com helps you with this, suggesting extra bits to add to your profile.  Load as much content onto your profile as you can then regularly do the following:

This may sound like a lot of work, but if you spent 45 minutes each day following this process, you could get an additional 3500 contacts on LinkedIn within a year.  That’s 3500 perfectly targeted (because you have hand-picked them one at a time) business contacts to influence towards becoming your customers.

You can also export contact data for your LinkedIn connections, including their email address.

Get social on Facebook

If you have decided that your business is better suited to Facebook then your style and approach are going to be less formal and more social.

Start by establishing a Facebook page for your business and a Facebook group.  Then join groups relevant to your business.  So if you run cookery courses, join “foodie” groups and contribute to these groups, join in the conversations and encourage members to join your Facebook group.

One very powerful way to use Facebook is to run adverts.  You can target people based on what they have liked, where they are and a range of other factors so the only people to see your adverts are well qualified already.

Unlike LinkedIn, where there is a best way to work, there are many different ways to take advantage of the services that Facebook offers and the best way to decide where to start is to use Facebook’s own training.  It’s free and available here:  https://www.facebook.com/blueprint.  Try signing up for their SMB courses, some are very good.

Other Social networks

Many social networks may work for your business and if you are lucky enough to be in a niche with a dedicated network, use it to your advantage.  However many people try and develop business using Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest with less than great results.  You get followers, but turning your following into leads and sales is difficult.

Our advice is to focus your time and energy on LinkedIn or Facebook for your business, whatever your personal preferences.

Please do let us know your thoughts on this advice and share any successes or challenges that others can learn from.

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