When using Twitter, she tells followers to go to her blog to get parenting tips on various topics and her Facebook group, but she also posts many tweets simply offering info about events across the country for kids. On Facebook and LinkedIn, she’s set up groups for mothers to discuss parenting issues. She has about 1,500 followers on Twitter, but she’s able to reach them directly as well as a moms group of more than 14,000 members. And she has access to another 800 people between her Facebook and LinkedIn presences. But the proof is in the bottom line. Without spending money on marketing, Carter’s products have been featured in such media outlets as CNN, Redbook, and the Chicago Tribune, and her products are selling online at a pace of about 125 per week.
“I have a little tiny DVD brand in a world of a million children’s DVDs, but people are still buying my products,â€ she says. “Social networking is helping Hip-Hop Baby reach a lot of people.â€
For business owners hoping to cash in on social media, consistency is the key. “Think of a leaky kitchen faucet that drips slowly and consistently,â€ says Jamila White, the E-commerce Diva. “It’s so powerful that over time it can wear through porcelain.â€
White offers 4 more tips to keep in mind in making social media mean something for your business:
Have a goal. Too many entrepreneurs start social networking without knowing what action they want people to take once they come in contact with them, says White. Social media can sell products, spark media exposure or give a business owner credibility as an expert — different goals that would require different strategies, White says.
Create relevant content. Once you know your audience, develop content that fulfills their needs. Carter’s goal was to familiarize moms with her brand and products, so her tips made their lives easier and gave them an incentive to visit her site.
Measure your results. Keep track of whether people visit your blog, respond to your Twitter posts or buy your products. Services such as Google Analytics and StatCounter let you track your Web traffic, while services such as Bitly let you see how many people read the links you post.
Adjust your expectations. “Too many people think ‘I need to get 5000 followers on Twitter so I can sell these 5,000 books,â€ says White. But social networking is more about building relationships over time. “When people play golf, the relationships they create on the course often later turn into business. Social media’s the new golf course.â€
Missed the 2009 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo sponsored by General Motors and ExxonMobil?
Here’s a tip from the session, “Growing Your Business Through Social Networking and New Media”:
“You have to get on Facebook or Twitter as yourself. Let people get to know you before you mention your products or services. Be very organic,â€ says Brandon Broussard, co-owner of Los Angeles apparel company, Baracka Wear Inc.
Strategize. Your clientele and how often you want to interact with them will determine which platform you use.
Interest = Customers. Find something compelling about your background that separates you from the competition.
For more advice from the conference, check out the August 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.