There is a real clamour for your attention and time from Social Media. I guess you are at least interested since you are reading this.
There are many benefits to be gained from active participation in at least one of the social networks, where it aligns with your personal, professional and business goals.
But finding the right network and tools can be a nightmare, time sink and distraction from your business objectives. Or maybe you are experiencing fatigue, needing to take stock, or kick-start yourself beyond the social and personal to the point where you are seeing a positive return for your time.
The information below should help you get to the next level.
Finding the right Social Media Networks
There are now over a hundred applications, or networks, that sit in the Social Media category and associated sharing apps. Choosing which one(s) to participate in is quite a challenge, particularly given the learning curve, time to establish a presence, time to create content, read content and converse to get dialoges going, and then start achieving some beneficial results.
Participating in Social Media helps to improve the ‘Know Me, Like Me, Trust Me’ aspects and helps to establish and re-inforce your reputation as a specialist. The more active you are the more visible you become, which helps you engage with others more quickly.
It can also help with ‘Find Me’, as it can improve Search Engine results.
Social media can also be a means to generate traffic for your Blog or Website.
Major social media applications and communities like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are reviewed on separate pages in this section.
An outline social media plan
Social Media – entry level
Register with say 5-10 social media networks is a good start. This will enable you to take a look around them while you set up your basic account and link to your website. It also allows you to secure your name, or something close to it, before someone else does. Registration is Free so it will just cost you say half an hour per network. Having a decent picture and a block of text you can use consistently will speed your progress.
Social Media – intermediate level
Pick 1-2 social media networks to focus on. For many sales people and business owners this means LinkedIn and Twitter. However it could be Facebook or Google+ as the other major networks. Invest time over several months to build up your contact network and post relevant messages regularly to build up your contact with people there. This is effectively building a channel through which you can share content and interact with people.
Social Media – advanced level
To accelerate your progress on results you need to increase your reach and depth of relationships. Creating valuable and shareable content is a prime way to do this. However the bar is being raised higher every day it seems, as everyone jumps on the content marketing band-wagon. The challenge is now to stand out from the crowd, to use the crowd to your advantage, and to be very closely aligned with the interests of your prospects, and where they hang-out.
The area of Social Selling is emerging, as social networks and sales increasingly overlap and share the same domain. There are some very interesting opportunities and challenges. One concept that I feel is important is how a network or media blends people and commerce. Much of the Internet/web is free or very low cost to the individual. The value of data captured about peoples behaviour is perhaps the unseen ‘price’ we pay for this. Data about us can be used for more effective marketing, and this has enormous potential value.
If a network becomes established for social purposes, Facebook for example, the introduction of business and commerce needs to be handled sensitively. If a network is established for commercial purposes, Amazon or ebay for example, it has the opportunity to add a social element to enhance the user experience while also serving its commercial aims.
At the end of the day all businesses, from the self-employed through to major corporations, need to make a judgement about whether it is beneficial to use, or (perhaps more accurately) to participate in, social media as part of their marketing and sales activity.
Social Media is here to stay
I think it’s fair to say that Social Media is here to stay. However it is still in it’s infancy, especially in a business, sales and commercial context.
Join the party now, in order to position yourself to benefit in the short, medium and long-term.