Blogging, Tweeting and updating Status on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ is all very well, but who is actually reading what you write and publish, and how do you connect with the right people?
Here are three ways to increase your readership, with a focus on quality, and a fundamental strategy for Social Media success.
Invite people you know from the past to connect
Most Social Media networks provide an easy way to import your current contacts, from your email system such as Outlook or gmail, or to invite them to join by making it easy for you to send invitations to people.
Being systematic about connecting with family, friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues, customers, suppliers and so on is a great way to build and develop existing relationships in the new social communities.
It can be helpful to provide a reason and benefit of connecting in Social Media, to persuade your current contacts to connect.
Invite people you have contact with now and in future to connect
As you make new contacts outside of Social Media, and especially off-line as part of your marketing, sales and business activities, such as face-to-face networking, inquiries, and so on, invite them to connect with you on your Social Networks.
You might do this as a direct invitation, as well as by adding Social icons to your website and emails, adding links to your email signature, to your letterhead and stationery and more.
Offering something of value, such as information, training and how-to advice or even financial offers, as an incentive to connect will help to increase take-up.
Make it easy for people who are interested in your topic online to find and connect
Being found online by people who don’t otherwise know you is one of the major benefits of Social Media, especially where you want to increase your marketing reach beyond your current levels.
Creating a Blog
A blog is an ideal way to attract and engage with people who you don’t yet know, as well as providing a good core for nurturing existing contact and relationships. A blog is a great way to publish articles that are consistent with the area of expertise for you and your company.
Writing interesting articles that your target audience will want to read and then to share is the key to success in the blogging world.
There are various ways to promote your Blog, one of which is to register it with Blog Directories, such as Technorati. The Technorati registration process allows you to add a 1000 character description, to select 3 categories and add 18 keyword phrases. They will then send a shortcode to verify that you are the Blog owner – such as the one below.
Answering questions in LinkedIn
With LinkedIn a great route to be found is to answer or to post questions in relevant topics and to join Groups. People with those interest will see you when they visit the area, and if they receive email updates from LinkedIn based on their profile choices.
With Twitter you can add HashTags (such as #Bristol or #SocialMedia) within your Tweets to highlight relevant words, so that people who are monitoring those topics, and who perhaps have a column set-up (in their Twitter dashboard such as Hootsuite) to display the query results grouped together, will see your Tweet along with those of other people.
Being found through Search
The SEARCH aspect of Social Media, and especially for your Blog, is very important. You want your articles to be picked up by the Search Engines. This can be improved based on how well you have optimised them for keywords and phrases that align with what your target reader is likely to be looking for, and other techniques.
One fundamental strategy for success
Go where your customers go.
The ‘easy way’ to approach Social Media is to focus on strategy 3 above, since this is more contained, and under your control. However, many providers of products and services similar to yours will also be using the same ‘easy’ approach. The danger is that you risk communicating with your competitors and not reaching beyond them to your potential customers.
One way to offset this, and one of the strategies to Turbocharge your Sales Funnel, is to go where your customers are. And to use some tactics that mean your customers are helping you to reach out to people they are connected to. Chances are these people are more likely to be your prospects. So, who are your customers connected to on Twitter and Linkedin? What phrases would they search for? What Blogs do they subscribe to?
Persuading your customers and contacts to connect in Social Media can be tough. Creating content that they value is the starting point, but it is by no means the only activity. Having a process in place to engage and then nurture your contacts through the sales process, or more specifically, through their buying process, is the key to a successful Social Media strategy, and a decent Return on your Investment of Time.
So, in closing, I encourage you to ‘Think like a prospect rather than a vendor’ as you approach Social Media.
PS. Technorati Shortcode looks something like: 5PHBMGWJG96R