It’s time to turn on Twitter

It’s a way to build relationships,over time

Like it or not

Like it or not

You can’t afford not to be on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Just don’t spend all day on it; start slowly, and if you don’t have the time or expertise, pay someone to do it for you.

“Just keep it simple. Don’t bite off more than you can chew,” suggests Brenda Garcia, with Thrive Solutions business consultants.

Garcia was one of the presenters at Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce social media summit last week and said later that social media allows a business to develop long-term relationships with a potential base of customers.

By showing your personal side, putting up good value articles about whatever concerns you, demonstrating that  you’re interested and trustworthy and limiting your sales posts to about 15 per cent of total, you can nurture a network of followers who may remember you when it’s time to look for your services.

“I really think every company out there can use social media to their benefit in some way,” said Garcia.

But it does take time – like any other relationship.

“Basically, social media is just like any real-life relationship. You have to put in the time to maintain those relationships.”

You also should be courteous, by replying if someone Tweets about you or maintaining contact with Facebook friends.

“It’s just like real life,” said Garcia.

Chamber executive-director Jesse Sidhu organized the event as the chamber tries to move its meetings to an educational focus.

“Social media should be part of your marketing strategy, not the other way around,” said Sidhu.

It should be used in conjunction with other efforts to build a business’s profile, such as marketing, print and radio advertising.

It’s up to each business to decide whether to hire someone or try it themselves. If it takes too much time, it’s taking you away from sales and your regular business, he adds.

Garcia says businesses should look at hiring someone if they’re struggling, just like she brings her car for a 10-minute oil change rather than spending a week trying to do it herself.

Using HootSuite is a timesaver for her. That allows Garcia to make one post simultaneously to the different social media sites and to time their release on any schedule. That came in handy when she went on vacation for a week and sent out her posts in advance, allowing her to respond to any feedback by cell.

Garcia is organizing a Tweetup so that all the Twitter users can step out of cyberspace and see each other in person.

That takes place Aug. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Buffalo Club Bar and Grill. NonTwitterers are also welcome.