Promote your business with social media

Practically any organization, whether it's a business, non-profit, or even a single freelancer, can benefit from social media. On June 16, Lakeshore Advantage hosted a social media lunch event with Jason Sadler, founder of IWearYourShirt.com. I went and listened to Jason talk about creating and growing I Wear Your Shirt, and how he uses social media to connect with thousands of fans every day. During the Q&A, Jason fielded the audience's questions about promoting themselves or their businesses with social media.

I'd summarize Jason's advice in these two points:

  1. Be yourself; be as genuine as possible. People will see right through you if you're trying to put on a face for social media. The connections you make will be real and lasting only if you're being yourself.
  2. Use social media for two-way conversations, never as a broadcast platform. Find out what people are interested in, and help them as much as you can. They'll reciprocate.

About I Wear Your Shirt

If you're not familiar with I Wear Your Shirt, the concept is simple:

  1. An organization buys a calendar day and mails in 2 shirts.
  2. Jason (in Florida) and his business partner Evan (in California) wear the shirts all day.
  3. During the day, the guys share their lives using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Ustream.

Jason's social media tips

Getting started in social media

  1. Start with your existing network: family, friends, co-workers.
  2. Tell them your idea, and ask for their feedback. Don't be afraid to tell people you're new.
  3. Ask them to spread the word to their contacts.
  4. Discover the interests of those in your community, and share information and relevant links.

Selecting social networks

  • Adopt a network only when it reaches a critical mass (find this out by listening to what others are talking about).
  • Don't worry about keeping up with every new social network.
  • Use the networks that work for you (where your target community is).
  • Use networks for as long as they're relevant, then ditch them.

Building a community

  • Build a community, not just an audience. Make people feel included.
  • A small group of passionate people is better than a large number of not-so-interested eyeballs.

Business versus personal accounts

  • If your job requires you to maintain a professional appearance, keep your business and personal accounts separate.
  • If your business and personal lives are intertwined, and you don't need a separate professional account, just use one account.
  • Want to consider professional but maintain your individuality? Name yourself "You at Biz Name". For example, I'd be Chad at OptimWise.

Managing comments

  • Monitor and respond to comments as much as possible.
  • Feel free to delete inappropriate or negative comments.

Jason's tips for specific social media

Twitter

  • Run Twitter searches for keywords related to your niche, and join those conversations.
  • Don't be one-sided; become a conversant member of the community.
  • Best Buy's Twelpforce is a great example. They're constantly monitoring tweets and helping potential customers.

Ustream (and other live video streaming sites)

  • Use live video to interact with your community.
  • Build the audience first, then start streaming.

Use Flickr and other photo sharing sites. Pictures have a higher click-through rate than text.

Use YouTube and other video hosting sites. Videos have a higher click-through rate than text or pictures.

Use Foursquare, Gowalla, and other location-based apps and networks. It's becoming increasingly important to connect with people based on their location.

Equipment Jason uses

Please share your thoughts by commenting below!  As always, contact OptimWise for more information or assistance!

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