I've spent some time reading through articles written by the Social Media Superstars to find out what advice they give to newcomers preparing to build a Social Media presence. This distills a few of the basics. There's nothing new here, yet it's easy to overlook these basics in our enthusiasm to get connected!
Why Social Media (SM)?
Ok, you are overflowing with enthusiasm about it all and have pictured yourself as the next big thing in social media. So, you’ve set up a Twitter account and joined LinkedIn, ecademy and one or two other social media sites. Let me ask you some simple questions: why? What’s your social media plan? What do you want to achieve? How will you know when you’ve achieved it (once you’ve decided what “it” is!)
Try to use the same name all over the net; if you comment on the sites of other bloggers in your niche, it will help you to create a following if you always post under the same name. I got this wrong in my early social media days and am having to try to recover the situation – I am “Nic” at some sites, “Nico” at others where Nic had been taken (or where the site insisted on a user name with a minimum of 4 letters), Nicoliver at yet others and so on. At least there are services out that that attach an avatar pic to your e-mail address so people will recognise you from your photo, if not your name.
Define What Social Media Success Means for You
There are various ways success can be defined – which one(s) apply to you?
* Building up awareness and interest in a specific product or service?
* Building up awareness and interest in a brand?
* Getting more visitors to your site and getting them to come back regularly?
* Turning more visitors into subscribers and/or customers?
* Getting customer feedback about your blog/ offering or brand?
Who Are You?
What’s Your Story? Don’t lie, or copy someone else in social media as you will be found out, but what’s your identity? What do you believe in? What are you known for? Often, how you communicate is as, or more, important than what you communicate. What’s your style? What runs through your veins, what is a natural extension of you? Are you like Gary V, excellent in front of a camera? Or do you have a face like a bulldog eating a wasp but have a silk voice, ideal for podcasts? Or do you look bad in front of a camera and have a voice like nails scraping a chalkboard but can write very well, or make mash-up movies? Don’t try to be what you are not, or use a medium that you are uncomfortable with.
Focus on building on your strengths, not on overcoming your weaknesses, you’ll enjoy it more and be more afluent. Unless of course, you have a glaring weakness that is really holding you back.
Identify them, think of them as real people, not a Google stat! Who are your potential customers in the social medi world? What do they like/dislike? Where do they hang out on-line? How computer and networking literate are they? Do they just view networking as a social thing, or are they comfortable using it for business
Don’t panic if most of your customers aren’t online yet. You can use this as an opportunity to help them to get on-line, holding their hand if necessary, pointing them to a Facebook or LinkedIn group you’ve created just for them and people like them. If you think laterally, there may also be the opportunity to create new customer groups from those who arealready on-line but who you've not yet tapped into.
There are so many (too many?) social media communities, so you'll need to research, to take a few days to study them. Examine how they communicate, how welcoming they are, whether there are any “untouchables”, people who are perceived as being beyond criticism. Often that perception is supported not by the individual, but by their supporters, who leap to their defence at the slightest hint of criticism. All of this is important if you don’t want to inadvertently create a bad initial impression. Every one has a different culture and it pays to know the specifics in each case.
Social Media Research
Social Media research includes searching for your brand name, keywords, competitors. You software to decide if there’s enough interest around your keywords to justify investing your time and effort. Go to Yahoo or LinkedIn Answers and see if people are asking or answering questions around your subject and keywords. And remember one of the golden rules: community-related software may be free, but using it isn’t. There is always an opportunity cost for the time you spend
If your community is Internet-literate, there will be a social media meeting place for them somewhere on-line. You just have to find out where, and how to join them.
Six Simple things, yet so often overlooked – I wish I’d known about them when I first started on-line! And yet the irony is, that I did, we all do – I just didn’t apply it to the brave new world of Social Media.