Creative thinking that delivers results

21 Mar

Getting Started (Successfully) with Social Media

Category: Social media

My friends at Klout sent me a message recently asking the thought provoking question: “What 3 suggestions would you give to companies (or individuals) just starting out with social media”?

This question got me thinking… I've never written a blog on such a topic! So after crafting my response to Klout, I decided to dive into my next blog, so here it is!

There are some basic guidelines businesses need to follow in order to start their social media efforts on the right foot. The big problem with social media that everyone should recognize is that it's so easy to start off down the wrong path, wasting a lot of time and money in the process.

My three simple principles for successfully starting a social media program are:

  • 1. Keep it simple (stupid i.e. KISS) - there's no need to have your toe in every social media service out there, especially to start. Pick the 1-2 that are most relevant to you/your business/your audience and focus on those for the short to medium term (up to 6 months). If you're then comfortable with what you're doing, then it might be a good time to expand into other services.
  • 2. Think like your clients/audience - try to understand and even anticipate what they may need from you and how you can add value to the conversation. Use this to develop a plan for curating and developing content, both yours and from others that can be used to promote your thought leadership.
  • 3. Develop a social media marketing strategy/plan – this is arguably the most important step of the process, and one many businesses fail to even consider as they rush to fire up the tweet, blog or “Like” engine. Your plan should be your focal point for why you're doing social media in the first place, what you're trying to accomplish and how you plan on achieving this. If you don't know where to start with this task, we can help .

And if I were to add a 4th item to this list (which I will here), it would be to set up subscriptions and alerts to pertinent and valuable content resources in your particular field of interest.

Signup for their email newsletters, blog posts and news items as you see fit, and tweak these over time if necessary to get more relevant content for your audience. Let these resources be your ‘research' into your industry; share them with your audience to add value and start a conversation.

There you have it, a practical and strategic way to enter the realm of social media while avoiding the unenviable task of spinning your wheels unnecessarily as you hop from one ‘hot' social media trend to the next.

Post Script

In  presenting this content to group of small business owners a few weeks back, we added 2 more items you should consider for your social media efforts:

  • 5. Evaluate your Results – once you’ve been doing social media marketing for a while, sit back and determine how it’s going. How well is your audience engaging with your content? How interesting is your content and posts? Is there anything you should be doing differently, and if so what and how? Are you posting at the right times to fully engage your audience? Critically assess what you’re doing in social media – and how you can do it even better!
  •  6. Time – Social Media is about consistency and interacting with the people following you. You can’t do social media periodically and be effective and successful at it. Do you or your staff have the time to do this effectively?  If not, look at alternatives to simplify your tasks or look to others that can help, for example with blog writing.