Hmm. Facebook. Check. Umm…Twitter – check. Something more business minded…LinkedIn – check. Now substance. Where can I get my voice out there? A blog – check. It started with social interaction between lost school buddies, and gradually lead to an appetite for building relationships. My social media strategy is just that – a strategy. I’ve got a way to keep up to date with my friend’s actions on facebook. I’ve got a way to interact with business people on LinkedIn, and I can read Twitter instead of my local paper – I get to choose the content. However, my biggest thrill is doing this…writing in my blog spot. It’s a way of venting for the day, of expressing, of vocalising…everything and anything. So far I’ve written about, love, real estate, productivity, economic developments, bad drivers, healthy living and today, a subject I have almost no idea about – social media. However since dabbling in all things social on the world-wide web, there are some things I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Tweetdeck and other “linked” programs can work for some but not all. You see, this is where you write something and then with one push of a button it spreads it across all your linked social media sites. Handy right? Well, for some yes. For others it could be disastrous. Before hitting “send” on the convenient “one-stop-shop”, ask yourself who is your audience in all the mediums? Could clients be reading about your hangover on Facebook? Do business associates need to know about your Mad Monday? Understand that these functions are there to use, but question whether they’re there for you.
2. @ = a mention on Twitter. # = a topic. Now I didn’t get this for ages. And remember this is a blog for dummies like me. If you want someone to read something you are posting, simply add @ and their user name followed by whatever it is you want them to see. If you want a whole community of like-minded people to read something, you add # followed by the topic of interest. For eg. @adamdrummond cool blog you should check out about animals wearing clothes #pets. You can try to get even more specific by going #petswearingclothes but there may only be a few people who relate to that topic. #pets would have thousands. This is a way to open up discussion and followers with similar “tweets”. If you want your tweet to be private between you and someone else, just hit “message” instead. That way it goes only to their inbox.
3. Read someone’s tweets before choosing to follow them. Right, so you’ve set up a Twitter account and you have no one following you. That’s perfectly normal. Your first followers will be models from Japan, Switzerland and Canada. Just because they follow you doesn’t mean you have to follow them. They’re most likely obese men in their mid 40′s eating chips whilst “tweeting”. The best way to work out whether someone is worth following is to read their last 5 or so tweets. If they have something good to say you will know it instantly.
4. Ask yourself who your audience is in each medium. I touched on this earlier, but it really is important who you want to reach and why. For instance in twitter, you have some people recording a diary like journal, others writing specifically for their industry and some who don’t write at all – they just sit their anonymously and read. All of those are fine, but you have to choose who you are, so that your voice makes sense.
5. Facebook is the most social of all mediums – so try to keep it that way. If you are a “friend” and not a “page”, then facebook should be about social things. The content should be 80% bits about you, friends, family and 20% about your business. The worst facebook friends in real estate are the ones that post listings every day or open house times. They are for facebook pages only.
6. Blogs are for brave souls. I have to admit it’s a bit daunting posting your first blog. After all, who’s going to agree with the things you state? At the end of the day always remember that a blog is just an opinion. And you have to be prepared for people not to agree with your opinion so don’t get hurt when you receive comments that are negative. Blogs are supposed to stimulate conversation, discussion and debate. It’s a great way of articulating how different we all are as human beings. My opinion is though, that all posts should have an identity. One of my pet hates is an anonymous post from someone being spiteful and negative, sometimes offensive. If you have an opinion, show yourself. It’s a great way to demonstrate credibility.
7. Unfollowing is easy and no one gets hurt. If you feel your twitter account is cluttered with stuff, just unfollow the people who are posting things least of interest to you. Nobody cares or gets offended. In facebook you can “unfriend” people, which is slightly harder to do, but they don’t receive notification of being “unfriended”, they just stop receiving your posts.
8. LinkedIn is business only. Well at least 90% business and maybe 10% general interest. This is really a way for online networking with other business people. Everyone is still getting used to LinkedIn and its features even though it’s been around so long. It’s great for recommendations and even has a handy pdf you can print off with testimonials from other business people. It looks pretty professional too.
9. Don’t aim to get business from social media but understand it can be a bi-product. Just by having a presence in social media, your name is being read each day by possibly hundreds of consumers. Whilst you’d be mad to poach these people for business directly, you should be aware that some people will contact you through these social mediums about your work. And they often expect a reply as fast as an email. So it helps to have your social media sites handy on your smart phone. That way you can answer messages straight away that relate to business.
10. Learn more every day. Social media is a great way to learn things faster and more efficiently. I choose which posts to read and each day there are literally dozens to choose from, that lead to beneficial websites littered with information that is relevant to me. It’s like being an Editor in Chief of your own publication.
So hopefully this has helped those who are starting out in the social media scene. Eventually you can add video posts, audio podcasts the list goes on. But always remember to ask yourself: who am I reaching and why?
For more developments in social media, read this.