GUEST BLOG BY DANNY BERMANT OF BRAINSTORM DESIGN
Danny Bermant is director of Brainstorm Design, an internet agency that helps businesses and charities to promote themselves online, including through social media. Along with Jim Cowan and Cowan Global, Danny and Brainstorm are also a member of the Branduin Business Support Group, one of the UK’s leading private sector business advisory services (more details at www.branduin.co.uk).
Using social media to generate contacts and work is crucial to many business plans. But it’s not enough simply to start Tweeting or starting up a Facebook page; you need a well-thought-out social media strategy. And key to this is deciding on a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your social media campaign – that is, something that clearly differentiates you from the competition, particularly on social media sites with millions of users.
For example, it’s not enough to market yourself as “a lawyer”. To stand out, you need to explain that you are a lawyer who offers fixed prices, or who specialises in some niche area. Instead of promoting yourself as “a freelance writer”, state that you are a freelance writer specialising in science reporting, or higher education.
Your USP needs to be clearly stated on your Twitter bio and at the top of your LinkedIn profile. People only spend a few seconds looking at your details, so it is important to sell yourself as powerfully, and concisely, as possible.
You then need to focus on this “mission statement”, as it were, as you methodically promote yourself online.
Use case studies that show how you are different, and broadcast them through social media channels. You can post written case studies on your blog and promote them on Twitter and Facebook, or better still, use video, which has far more impact than words. LinkedIn (via Slideshare) and Facebook both support this.
Make sure that most of your Twitter and Facebook posts relate to your USP so that you are properly displaying your expertise and become the “go-to” Twitterer on the subject.
Try and generate conversations about your specialisation, inviting questions from your audience. This is a great way of demonstrating credibility, making yourself accessible and drumming up interest in what you have to offer. It can also lead to a greater audience if you answer a question on Twitter from someone who has a significant following themselves. Polls are a good way of generating a response.
Share regular tips to demonstrate your expertise. And educate your followers by offering your expert opinion on current affairs in your field and sharing newsworthy items that relate to your niche area.
All of this doesn’t mean that you cannot ever write about, or link to, items of broader interest in your profession — of course you can. But you do need to stay focused on your USP if you are to stand out in a crowded social media market place.
© Danny Bermant, Brainstorm Design Ltd 2011
Brainstorm Design Ltd.
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