If it ain't real it AIN'T real interesting!

If you've been reading along with this series you should have some ideas for what you want to say on the various social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You have (hopefully) explored the available tools to help you stay on top of all of these various platforms and selected the method you want to use. Before you start tweeting or updating statuses HOLD ON! WHAT you say, WHO you say it too and WHERE you're saying it makes a BIG difference!

First it is important to consider WHO you are targeting with your message. I am always baffled by messages sent over social platforms that have absolutely no relevance to the audience that's receiving them. If you have mostly friends and family on your Facebook account there is absolutely no benefit to singing the praises of your DJ skills in your status. Those people presumably already think you're the greatest DJ in the world and are likely to hire you should the need arise. Likewise if your Twitter followers are comprised mostly of fellow DJ's there's absolutely nothing to be gained from posting your latest package discounts, or purely promotional material (not unless you're seeking to arm them with material to use when speaking to their prospects). You need to craft the message to meet the audience. As a general rule your Social Media message needs to be less "Madison Ave." slick and more "Main St." down to earth and "real".

Let's look at  3 major social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) and evaluate strategies that might be truly effective on each.

Twitter - If you're like most DJ's your Twitter account started out with you following a TON of fellow DJ's, some other local vendors, and your personal connections. There's probably a handful of "Spammers" in there who decided to follow you in hopes that you'd return the favor. So WHAT do you say to this group? Well here's a place to share your philosophy on DJ'ing. Use Twitter in this instance to have a "discussion" about what you think a DJ should do as a professional. Tweet upcoming workshops and client meetings (without the clients last names or the location) and include any interesting links to articles that you found relevant. You are seeking to establish your expertise with this group. Fellow DJ's can agree or disagree but they will pay attention. Other vendors will likely begin to Tweet questions directly to you or may take the opportunity to ReTweet your messages giving you exposure to their followers which is GOLD! Good quality Tweets to other vendors is how you'll build your follower base through those ReTweets.

Facebook - Two words for you...FAN PAGE.  Do not use your personal Facebook page to promote your business( note-this doesn't mean you won't be posting things from this account or that you shouldn't invite clients to be friends-we'll discuss this in a future post).  If you use your personal account it means that you will have to censor every video, joke, etc. and the potential for turning a potential client off with a raw comment from an old high school buddy is all too real.  Create a Fan Page that's dedicated to your business.  Use the add friends through email or from your current FB account to populate this page, not with family or friends, but with clients and, preferably, potential clients.  If you can't find your existing clients on FB with these tools send them an email with a link to your new Fan Page and ask them to "Like" your page. (If you're a GMail user I highly recommend getting the Rapportive plug-in for GMail.)  You can do so much more with a Fan or Business Page to promote your business, make special offers, run contests and engage clients than you can through a regular profile.  It also makes your business searchable on FB!  Just be sure to claim your vanity URL from FB so that your fan page address is something like ....facebook.com/YOURBUSINESS  not some crazy long string of numbers( you'll need at least 50 fans in order to do this)!  I will be delving into the specifics of setting up and customizing a Fan Page in upcoming posts.  So now...what do you post here on this Fan Page?   Well ultimately this is where you want to discuss your business but be aware that the "Millenial" generation (those 20 something brides and younger) can smell bullshit advertising from a mile away and automatically shut off the message as noise.  Hence the title of this article.  If it ain't real.... BE GENUINE!  Just be yourself.  Talk about what it is that you do that makes you different.  Post statuses that would be something you would say in a Face-to-Face meeting.  Talk about equipment purchases and why they will better enable you to do your job.  Express your professional opinions.  Post video clips and photos from your gigs (btw - Brides want to see pictures of brides!  Not of your gear.  One or two photo's of your set-up ok, every other picture, not so much! Be sure to take a picture of the Bride at every wedding or the crowd at every club).  Try to avoid superlatives ( ie. best, greatest, ultimate, fantastic) these sound like advertising and aren't effective in this setting.  Tone down the rhetoric and turn up the personable.  You should shoot for a ratio of posts by and about you of 3:1 to posts of links to other useful articles and content from elsewhere.  Post a link and then post your thoughts in the comments!  Start a conversation about the cake cutting ceremony by posting to your favorite cake designers blog, website, or flickr page then LET THEM KNOW you gave them a shout out!  If they have an account they'll likely drop by and comment.  If you post about a venue send the catering manager an email (or better yet send them a friend request!) If the venue has a fan page drop by and leave a comment telling them you just raved about their venue!  That leads me to what should be obvious but this is NOT a space for ranting or complaining.  Remember what your Mom told you? "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all!"  It's not good business and it looks ugly to those who stop by.

LinkedIn - This service is where you meet your colleauges.  This is where you should be connected to every single catering manager in your area and if they don't have a LinkedIn account you need to invite them to join.  LinkedIn statuses can be similar to your Tweets but "buttoned up" like you're wearing a suit and tie and posting from a boardroom.  This is DEFINITELY your opportunity to show that you are an authority in the DJ world who knows how to act like a professional business person.  Make connections to everyone and anyone in the business world but always remember this is the realm of the suits and ties.  The eyes that are watching are expecting a different kind of behavior and decorum.  If you truly want to leverage the massive power of LinkedIn then you need to speak that language in that way.  DO NOT ADVERTISE...ADVISE.  Unless you are posting a job offer this is not the arena for bald faced advertising.  You will be seen as spammy and irrelevant.  Join groups and participate in their discussions to increase your connections and ABSOLUTELY write recommendations but only for those vendors and fellow DJ's in whom you have confidence and who you truly respect.  Ask the vendors who have worked with you to recommend you.  This is how you access other peoples connections and build your cache on the LinkedIn platform.  Again don't shoot over your head.  Be REAL!  The real you...just the professional, buttoned up you.

There are of course other platforms (FourSquare, Tumblr, etc) and these rules apply to them as well.  WHO are you posting too and WHAT do you want to say to that specific group? Say the right things to the right people and say them naturally in your own "voice" rather than like a TV or Radio commercial.  WHERE will the post go?  Different platforms call for different messages.  The expectations on Twitter are different than on LinkedIn and Facebook.  Use the appropriate tone in the right space and you're likely to receive the results you're looking for.

As always I welcome any email or comments.  My contact info can be found in the sidebar and comments can be left below.

NEXT UP :  Social media marketing OFF-LINE! 

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