Using Social Media to Promote Your Business, Not Become Your Business

Yesterday I had the opportunity to Speak at the Maine Women’s Network monthly meeting. They wanted to talk about social media and to learn how they can use social media better for their businesses.

This group was amazing. I was awe struck at the room of smart, talented, hardworking women. My favorite part of the night was hearing what each woman did for work. I could have sat and listened to them talk about their businesses all night.

There were women who worked in law firms, insurance agencies, web design companies, book publishers etc. There were also some really neat entrepreneurs in the room – a woman who makes doggie raincoats (look at these awesome leashes hand stitched by Maine lobstermen), a woman you can hire to run errands for you, a woman who specializes in really cool porch swings – I could go on and on.

Now I hope with my knowledge I have learned from our breakfasts and my work at Hall Web Services, I gave them enough information to get a social media plan in place!

A Word of Caution When Developing Your Social Media Plan

As you start your social media plan and look into tools that will help you meet potential new clients, interact with current clients and teach people about your products, service or industry remember why you started using social media in the first place. Write down your goals and refer to them often.

Unfortunately a trend I keep seeing is people join social media sites to help their business and then slowly they turn into social media experts and not experts in their industry using social media.

I have written about this before but if your business is selling widgets, then you should be blogging, tweeting and creating content about widgets and the widget industry. If you are writing blogs about 10 Twitter Tips then you can’t be upset when people read your blog but then don’t stop and buy a widget.

Use the tools for your business. Don’t make your business about the tools.

5 people I think are killing it with social media tools

I love examples. I learn best through stories and hearing what real people are doing. Here is a list of people in Maine that I think are doing an amazing job using social media to promote their business.

  1. Marc Pitman, The Fundraising Coach – Marc is great. He is honest, kind, smart and has lots of experience asking people for money. He speaks, blogs, tweets and he wrote a great little book, Ask Without Fear, teaching people how they can become better fundraisers. He effectively uses social media to promote his events, his book and his experiences. He also just attended the #140 conference, a social media conference, in Boston. What he did there was refreshing – instead of live tweeting the event, or quoting super famous speakers, he shared with his followers the takeaways for his area of expertise and his work. He also promoted other people that his followers would gain value in following.
  2. Shawn McGowan, JobsintheUS – Shawn has played a major role making JobsintheUS the go-to online place for people looking for a job, looking to fill a position or anyone in the hiring and human resources industry. Through the company he is always dishing out articles, job opportunities and tips. He is also a former SMBME speaker :)
  3. Rachel Flehinger, Your Inner Action and Improv Comedian at large – I am fortunate enough to call Rachel a friend (don’t tell her that). Rachel has more experience as a marketer than your average social media expert/speaker. She could out post your 10 Twitter tips and could tackle every social media speaking gig in the state, but that isn’t her business. Rachel is a life skills coach, an improv comedian and teacher. She uses Facebook and Twitter to be herself, network, find people interested in her services and promote her live events. She is also pretty darn cool and has a motorbike.
  4. Heather DeSimone, Beadin’ Path – Heather was one of the first businesses I noticed really using Twitter well. Heather owns Beadin’ Path in Freeport. Her business is visual. Using social media, Heather gives followers sneak peeks at new items, found treasures and trends in her industry. She has used social media to connect with people all over the world who are interested in beads and jewelry making.
  5. STABILicersSTABILicers won a place in my heart with their awesome promotional videos that they added to their YouTube channel. They have used social media tools as product and market research, to connect with fans of their ice cleats and to do special offers and giveaways. They are not only a former SMBME speaker but they have also been amazing with donating items to our monthly raffle.

This is of course not a complete list just a few that really popped into my head. I would love to hear more examples from you in the comments section. Who do YOU think is doing a great job in Maine promoting their business with social media?

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