Using social media for business purposes is difficult. It's really tough to avoid a hard-sell when you know you have a wide audience just a click away.
It's important to avoid that temptation. You aren't likely to gain customers and you are probably more likely to turn people off. In preparing one of CRN's research reports today, I ran across a blog item on this topic. The example the author gives is not blatantly stomach churning, but the blog item does underscore the point that people do not like unsolicited sales calls.
If you take a leadership role in crafting your social media strategy, and win clients by working at cultivating relationships, you'll offer your employer a new sales channel. And, you'll develop a skill set that will not only be promotable, but also be desirable among potential employers.
Sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be successfully used to heighten brand awareness and increase customer loyalty. Good examples include Nabisco and Starbucks. Those companies have people dedicated to their social media efforts, and they spend time trying to connect with the audience. A good deal of time and effort is spent cultivating those relationships.
Technology makes it easy for us to disseminate information about ourselves and our companies. Just because you CAN send 200 people a sales pitch doesn't mean you SHOULD. Remember not to put the cart before the horse. Learn about the needs and wants of potential customers before selling your wares to them. Create interest by linking to and creating content that relates to your product or service, but doesn't "push" a sale.
That strategy requires time and interest. Reaching out to customers via technology is easy. Crafting the message isn't.
Let us know how you've been successful -- or not -- using social media to promote your business.