Social Media Strategy – Getting Started 101

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How to get your Social Media Strategy Going

Social Media

Getting started with social media is fun and exciting so here is a quick guide to help jump in.

So what is this hype about social media? Why is it something that everyone is talking about but no on is really telling you how to use?

[pquote_right]Social media is the fastest-growing marketing channel in the world. Spend on social media marketing in the U.S. will grow annually at a 34% compound rate through 2014, according to independent research firm, Forrester research, Inc. By then, social media market­ing will amount to a $3.1 billion industry, surpassing email marketing in terms of spending, Forrester said in a 2009 report.1 [/pquote_right]

Social Media is really taking something that we do everyday and expanding it. Now we are able to use various social media channels to share and learn.

Remember when you met with a friend or family member and you asked something like,” hey what movie should I go to”, or I need a new car where should I go”, you would happily respond, “I saw this movie the other night, or I use the dealership and the guy I work with is named John”.

This is the social in social media. Now we can do this on a bigger scale. Not with just close friends or family but with communities of people looking to learn and share.

And it is a two-way communication channel, meaning you can share your knowledge and you can learn from someone else.

It used to be content was the king, well now so much good content is being produced everyday how do you find what you need? Google is the answer most will give, however you must now also include social media.

What Social Media Channels Should I Use?

Getting started with a social media can be a daunting task when you look at all the social media channels that are available. Here are some examples of social media channels that are available for you to use right now:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • MySpace
  • DeviantArt
  • LiveJournal
  • Tagged
  • CafeMom
  • Orkut
  • Ning
  • Meetup

This is just a few of the many. Now it comes to the question how to do you manage all this. You don’t

Just like you don’t go to every pub or restaurant you have to find a few that you are willing to participate in. For the sake of today I will make it easy for you and keep our discussion around the following:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+

These are the main social networking sites out there right now. What that means is roughly about 85% of all the users on social media are using one our all of these channels.

To decide what channels work best for you, then decide on what you are using it for. If it is for business where are your clients? What is the demographic of those potential clients or contacts? This will give you a great insight on where to spend your time. This is important because if you are not focused in your usage, social media can be a huge time suck and that is not the point.

Best Practices of Getting Your Profile Setup

You will want to make sure that when you setup your social media profiles that you do it right. This includes a completed profile and a picture of yourself.

Things you will want to do to create a great profile:

  • A picture of yourself
  • Your real name (We will discuss some notes on twitter later)
  • A detailed description of who you are and what you do.
  • Services you offer
  • Education
  • Interests

How Often Do You Participate?

Level of Participation varies, depending on what you hope to accomplish. Social media is not just telling everyone what you are doing it is also finding out what others are doing. Some recent research on effectiveness of social media has been done and from that and our own results here are some guidelines.

[info]Now in this I have broken it into two different groups Twitter, then LinkedIn-Facebook-Google+ the reason is that twitter is really more active channel so the participation level is a little higher.[/info]

Twitter: To clarify on some jargon about twitter. It is what is called a micro-blogging platform. Meaning it is about saying something in 140 characters or less. And when you make a post to Twitter it is called a Tweet!

So the usage level will vary by user but a good guideline is:

  • 20+ tweets a day with no more than 2-3 tweets of your own content.This means that you have to participate in the community you are hoping to influence and share other related content.
  • 5-10 Retweet’s, this is retweeting someone’s tweet to your followers. This is great way to find and share good content and increase your following base.

Facebook – LinkedIn – Google+: These platforms are a little different because you can post more than 140 characters and you can also include rich media like photos, videos etc.

  • Connect with at least 5 current or former business associates each week
  • Search and find groups related to your topic and join them and become part of that community.
  • Start or Participate in 2-3 discussions each week (LinkedIn)
  • Participate in the Answers section of LinkedIn and answer questions related to your topic. Try to answer 2 questions per week.

Tools To Do The Work

A number of tools are available to help with this process because at this point you are probably thinking that you could never do all this work. However, with the right tools you can improve the efficiency of what you are doing and keep the workload to a minimum. It will take some time to get everything setup but once done, you can keep your workload to 10-15 mins/day.

Suggested Tools: 

There are a number of tools available to use for managing your social media. To learn more you can read our review of Hootsuite and Sprout Social. Also, we did an interview with the CEO of Sprout Social so if you would like to learn what is in-store for them it is worth the read. We currently use both the tools listed below and like them both.

Is This Worth it

Yes, if you did not think so then you would not be here right? Like anything it is an unknown to start, so with some proper planning and focusing in on Social Media as a communication tool you can and will find a Return on investment.

So once you get setup, be sure to connect with us and we will be happy to follow you back. You can also post your social media links in the comments below so people can join you.

Reference: 1 Forrester research, inc. “U.S. interactive Marketing Forecast, 2009 to 2014,” July 2009.

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