In the spirit of Rich Moran’s “business bullet books”, here are three steps towards making social media work for you.
Step 1: Getting Onboard
Pick what services should you be on.
Choose Your Platform, Carefully: Depending on your audience, do you need to be on social networks, discussion forums (e.g. Google Groups or boards.ie), or something else entirely?
Spread Too Thin? Don’t waste time on a platform if your customers just aren’t there.
The Social Network Choices:
- Twitter: What’s happening? Info streams.
- Facebook: Everyone’s here, eek!
- LinkedIn: The business network.
- MySpace: Only if you’re selling music…
- Bebo: Nearly kaput, even for 13 year olds.
- Google+: Too early to define; no business pages, yet.
Decide exactly who you are.
Create Your Identity: Try and get a common brand that you can use across one or more platforms of your choice.
Pick Your “Forever” Username: Have a consistent username for your Twitter account or Facebook page.
Promoting Your Identity: Make sure you tell people about your social media identity where appropriate, e.g. in your e-mail signatures, on your website, in presentations.
Step 2: Joining In
Be part of the conversation.
Respond To Others, Meaningfully! There’s no point being a standalone broadcaster on social websites. You must engage with others, not just via your own channels.
Choose Who You Are Talking To: If you want to be a person of influence using social media, then the way to do it is to acquire engaged followers who are themselves active on the service.
Tell the world about your company, your services.
Use An Integrated Strategy: View this great video from Deanna Lee (Marketing VP at the New York Public Library) about how social media is just one part of your communications strategy.
Marketing Your Brand: If you don’t already have a sufficient community of interest around your company that you can leverage into an online community instantaneously, you may want to think about using targeted advertising, if available on your platform of choice.
Step 3: Keeping Up
Stay up to date with your interests and competitors.
Monitor Keywords: Set up searches for your own brand in TweetDeck, but also for keywords mentioning your competitors and your topics of interest. Make sure you use variants in your searches so you don’t miss out on anything, e.g. “NUI Galway” OR nuig OR nuigalway.
Think about what’s coming around the corner.
The Semantic What? The next generation of the Web, encompassing the notion of “Linked Data” whereby it’s not just pages that are linked on the Web, but rather data with an associated meaning.
The World Is Going Hyperlocal: You may need to think about a web where one’s geolocation is strongly tied to their activities online: Facebook Places (now integrated with status updates), Foursquare, Layar, and more.
I will be speaking on these and other topics at the first Irish Executives Summit in Galway next week.