Many people starting their own business online fail to realize the importance of social networking sites. They know that in their personal life, they either hate the existence of them or maybe find themselves spending too much time on them.
So they ignore their value in terms of business – and more specifically in reaching their audience and building their subscriber base. Social networking sites are fertile ground for new subscribers, so you need to get onboard and embrace this as a hot spot for your business growth.
There are many social networks online. You might even find some specific to your niche! But right now, we’re going to cover the big ones and show you how to use them to build trust and relationships that convert into a larger, loyal list of subscribers.
Facebook is still one of the hottest social networking sites in existence. But many marketers use it all wrong and don’t see the results they want, eventually abandoning it.
First off, never use your personal Facebook account for your business workings. As your business grows and you have more people “friending” you, you’ll run out of room.
Facebook only allows 5,000 friends per personal Facebook account. You might be new and thinking, “It’ll take me forever to get to 5k!” But the reality is, many marketers have reached that limit and then had to delete people and move them over to a fan page.
Why not just have that page set up from the get go so that you don’t lose people along the way? So launch your fan page instead and have your prospective subscribers sign up there.
You want to promote your Facebook fan page from your blog sidebar (along with all of your other web 2.0 account links) and possibly also include them as part of your email signature, so that if someone emails you, they will see your presence on their favorite network and can follow you there.
So what will you post on your new fan page? Well, you can post some of the following for starters:
* Links back to your blog with a short commentary about it.
* Memes or quotes – because images do very well virally on Facebook
* Questions to ask of your FB fans to generate a thriving conversation.
* Facts about your niche – short quick facts and tips they can “Like” and Share.
When people sign up to the page, or every once in awhile, remind your Facebook fans that if they don’t elect to receive notifications, they may not see every post that the fan page makes.
Unfortunately, Facebook uses this as a loophole to make you pay for exposure to the very people who chose to follow you there! The more active your posts are, the more exposure they get.
You want to install the opt in form onto your Facebook fan page, too so that it’s always in the sidebar ready for your new fans to subscribe to. If you’re using Aweber, they have an easy app that does the job for you.
Find it, along with the instructions here:
Aside from posting in your own fan page, you want to expose your presence here to others on Facebook. That means you sign in as your page and then sign up to follow other pages in the same niche.
When you participate as your page on other people’s pages, sharing good information as a participant, people can see that and click on your fan page name and link and sig up for your page, getting exposed to your opt in form as well.
One thing that’s great about Facebook is the viral nature of it without people even meaning for it to be viral. Facebook has a way of showing your friends what activity you do – even if all you do is like or comment on something, without sharing it.
So let’s say you have a niche Facebook fan page about low carb dieting. You have Jane Doe, who signs up to your page and loves your lessons.
Every time she comments or Likes a post, her friends on her personal page see it, like this image on the left.
If her friends are curious, they can click on the activity notice and see the post where it took place. Then they have the option of heading to your page, Liking it, seeing your opt in in the sidebar, and becoming a new subscriber.
Don’t discount Twitter just because it’s short on content, because it’s big on impact. Everyone has a Twitter – celebrities, niche groups, and individuals. They love it because it’s like a real conversation – you say a line then someone else replies, and the dialogue goes back and forth.
Twitter only gives you 140 characters to work with. But that’s plenty of room to post a concise sentence and include a link. You’ll be linking to many things, including:
* Your opt in squeeze page – with a note about your freebie
* Blog posts – which have your opt in form at the bottom and in the sidebar
* Posts that you make on Facebook, or Google (cross linking is fine!)
To get started building a subscriber base on Twitter, set up an account with an image (not the default egg). Have someone create a layout for your background design that includes the URL to your squeeze page.
It won’t be clickable, but it’s good for branding. You can include a link to your squeeze page in your bio area, and that will be hyperlinked, so make sure you set that up as well.
Once you’re all set up, start following people in your niche. Make it a combination of your prospective subscribers and your competitors. You’ll want to interact with both.
Usually, when you follow someone, they’ll follow you back. With competitors, this is a great way to form future joint venture possibilities through the direct messaging system.
Within your niche, as you post things, try to find hashtags you can use in your niche, but don’t overdo it. No one likes to see a Tweet filled with 3 words and tons of hashtags.
Engage in conversations with your audience but don’t always spam them with offers. If someone posts on Twitter, “Struggling to stay on my low carb diet today,” don’t respond with, “Buy my XYZ guide to help you stay on track.”
Instead, show off your expertise. Give a tip or some motivation. So a tip might be something like, “Increasing your fiber might help you feel fuller while staying low carb!”
Motivation would be something like, “Don’t give up! You’re kicking cravings and the feeling with soon pass.” You don’t have to promote yourself, because you know what will happen?
That person will enjoy your Tweet and then they’ll click on your name to see your profile and learn more about you. They’ll follow you, and then go to the link in your profile. That’s where they’ll see your freebie and sign up for your list and opt in freebie.
Twitter is another great viral hot spot for marketers. It’s so easy for your fans to Retweet what you’ve just said. They do it with a simple click of their mouse and they don’t even have to type anything in to share it.
You can also give people perks for sharing your information on Twitter. You can use a system like paywithatweet.com to allow your list members to download a product of yours in exchange for Tweeting it!
This is a perfect way to increase opt ins. So what you’ll do is create a short report for your niche. Have it set up as a download for new list members. Send a notice out to your list that they can download it free if they Tweet out your squeeze page URL.
That way, your existing list members have an opportunity to get it, and your new subscribers get it after seeing it on the Twitter feed of the people they follow on the social network. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Keep in mind that Twitter isn’t just for 140 characters of text. You can post images that people can view right in their feed. Or, you can post video URLs that they can watch right on Twitter, and then share virally.
Google is one social networking site with an edge. It helps you with search engine optimization. Your SEO factors in because Google indexes your public posts, helping you build a bigger base.
It’s a mix of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even forums – all rolled into one. The feed resembles Twitter or Facebook. You have a built in video capability system that rivals YouTube, and the viral nature of it is amazing.
Google as it’s more commonly known, is hooked up with your Gmail account. You can start a personal branding account or one for your business. Start out by completely filling out your profile.
Use a good picture and fill out the sections to show what you stand for and why people might want to “Circle” you. Circling is the same as following or friending on other sites.
You can put links to your blog, squeeze page(s) and all of your products inside your Google account bio area. You want to list it all because you never know which one will best entice a specific prospect.
Google is great for multi media. People share text, images and video all the time. You can even link to a podcast if you want! And Hangouts is the built in video system that’s incredible for building a fan base.
You can choose to do a Hangout with your audience or do it solo, but whenever you do one, you have the option to have the system record it for you and autopost it on YouTube for you.
It also has a convenient transcription system so whenever your video completes, in a couple of hours, you can have a transcription of your video to give to your prospects. Make sure you clean it up if it hasn’t transcribed it verbatim.
During your Hangouts, you can promote your squeeze page and blog posts so that you can increased exposure to your opt in freebie. Just tell people what the gift is and where to get it.
Google is just like the other social networking sites when it comes to participation and sharing. You want to participate on posts where your prospective subscribers have posted as well as your competitors.
You want to share as well as have your own posts shared by others. It can’t be a one-way street. Build relationships on the site and it will help build your subscriber base.
Some people don’t consider forums necessarily a part of the social networking world, but they are. People go there to share information, ask questions, and engage in dialogue with one another about their niche.
The great thing about forums is, where Facebook, Twitter and other networks are not niche-specific, forums are! You have parenting forums, diet forums, success forums, and so on.
And within those forums, you can dig down and expose your expertise even further. For instance, in a parenting forum, you might have discipline, nutrition, education, and so on.
You can go to Google and type in your niche keyword and the word forum. Look for active forums – not stagnant ones. You want those where people are continually posting in it.
Join the forum and set up your profile just as you would on other social networks. People will often click through and look at your information to see what you’re all about, so be thorough about it and hyperlink to your squeeze page and blog if possible.
If you’re allowed to have a signature file, set that up to link to your squeeze page with verbiage about your free opt in offer. That way, every time you participate on the forum, and people like what you have to say, they can follow the link and become a subscriber.
Participate on the forum with threads that you start – thoughtful, motivational posts – and by answering questions and helping guide those seeking help and advice.
Some forums will have an area where you can place offers. Some do it free and some make you pay for the exposure. You can place a listing for your opt in offer but you can do it one of two ways.
The first way is to make them opt in to get the download. Some will complain that this isn’t truly free if you have to fork over your name and email address. Another way is to give the direct download link and inside the download, include something about how if they enjoyed this, they can sign up for more free gifts at your squeeze page, with the URL.
Now some people will wonder why they shouldn’t just open their own forum. You might in the future, but to start with, let someone else handle the behind-the-scenes drudgework of forum management while you leverage the participation factor (sans headaches).
Pinterest is a visual-based social network that works great for some niches, like cooking, fitness, crafts, etc. The premise of the site is viral sharing because when you post something someone likes, they “Pin” it to their boards, sharing it with all of their own followers.
You can sign up for an account and showcase different boards (dig down for niche topics) and Pin links to your site – your blogs, your squeeze page, etc., using memes and images that are visually enticing.