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Use Your Tool Chest: How the Right Social Media Channels Will Turn You Into a CelebrityExpert®

Successfully branding yourself as a "celebrity" is a game-changer when it comes to growing your business. As I have written before, establishing yourself as a CelebrityExpert® enables you to easily attract new customers and clients—and gives you the ability to charge premium rates and still win the business. And while there are a variety of strategies and tactics that need to be leveraged in order to accomplish this goal, today we are going to focus on the internet—and more specifically, on social media.

First, let’s clear up a giant misconception that many supposed "experts" continue to spread: social media sites aren’t one-size-fits-all, interchangeable platforms. There are a variety of diverse options out there, and they must be used differently.
"Social media" is like a tool chest – full of different and uniquely valuable tools. You wouldn’t pick up a screwdriver and use it to drive a nail into the wall, would you? Well guess what… using Instagram to generate B2B leads is just as inefficient.
Today, we’re going to go through six of the most valuable "tools" in your social media tool chest—and talk about how you can use each of them to improve your online celebrity status.

Facebook. Facebook is the king of social media sites, at least for the moment. It is a versatile platform that offers many opportunities for marketing and branding. The most obvious, and often most effective, is simply using pictures to tell your story. Studies have confirmed that pictures are the most engaging form of content for Facebook users, by a significant margin. So take advantage and share pictures that tell your story. This might mean a shot of you and your team huddling with a client, it might be an image of a gorgeous new product line, or it might be a picture of yourself giving a speech to a big audience. I’m even known to use Facebook to fill the world in on my latest shopping trip, night out, or Gators football game! Keep in mind that business owners and executives tend to spend more time on "professional" networking sites like LinkedIn—so if your primary marketing strategy is B2B, Facebook may not be the best fit.

YouTube. When it comes to branding business owners as celebrities, few tools are as valuable as video. A well-produced video is incredibly powerful—whether it’s a short "introduction" to yourself and your business, a commercial, or even an in-depth documentary that serves to tell your story and the story of your business. And as you probably know, YouTube is the leading site for hosting and sharing these videos. But the platform allows you to do more than just display videos—you can create a customized profile, include information about you and your firm, and even interact with your viewers. If video is part of your marketing and branding strategy – and it should be – then YouTube is an essential element of your social media presence.

Twitter. Twitter has a very diverse user base, including healthy numbers of consumers, business owners, and professionals – not to mention musicians, politicians, and other celebrities. The format ("tweets" must be 140 characters or less) doesn’t lend itself to in-depth communications or impressive visuals, but it does offer the opportunity to post concise, relevant information for your target market to consume. Twitter is a great way to keep your audience up to date on your latest adventures, as well as to drive traffic to recent blog entries, articles, and to your website in general.

LinkedIn. LinkedIn is far and away the most popular social networking platform for professionals, and currently has nearly 200 million members. In addition to strengthening current relationships and interacting with potential customers in your market, LinkedIn offers the opportunity to reach targeted professionals through paid ads. These ads can be targeted to specific industries, physical locations, and even job titles. Similar to Twitter, LinkedIn is also a great platform for sharing blogs and articles. It also offers topic-focused Groups that allow professionals to discuss specific topics.

Instagram. Instagram has burst onto the scene as a photo-sharing service. In this respect, it is similar to Facebook, but with much more limited functionality. However, if your business lends itself to great photo opportunities, Instagram is a perfect fit. You can approach it with a similar mindset as you do Facebook—look for pictures that tell your story. In fact, many businesses share their photos on Instagram, and then add them to Facebook as well.

Pinterest. Pinterest is a picture-oriented "lifestyle" site. It allows users to share and discover new interests, by "pinning" pictures to "pinboards." It’s similar to posting content on a Facebook wall, except that each user has multiple boards and can organize them around a unifying theme. (For instance, "arts & crafts", "for the home", and "recipes" are all common.) On a personal level, you could probably guess that Pinterest is right up my alley. Check out my profile (http://pinterest.com/lindsaydicks/) and you’ll see the collection of recipes, clothes, and craft ideas that I’ve shared. But in addition to being a fun way to share interests with friends, Pinterest is a great place to share pictures and other visuals that relate to the "lifestyle" your business focuses on. For instance, as a real estate broker or a home stager, sharing great photos of your latest listings is a perfect fit.

One quick word of caution: before you jump head-first into social media, it’s important that you evaluate your website. Your site serves as the "hub" for your online presence, and if it doesn’t mesh well with your social media presence, you’ll be unable to create the CelebrityExpert® brand that you’re going for. So be sure to take care of "first things first!"

Social media is fun—but more than that, it represents a great opportunity to connect with your customers on a frequent basis. But like anything else in life, if you don’t take the time to learn the "rules of the game", you can’t use it effectively. We’ve covered the basics here today… but as always, feel free to get in touch with me if you’d like to learn more!

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