Here are a few quick tips to get your social media happening.
Customise your Account
Sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook all provide some level of control for users to customise their pages. Make use of all available features, such as background image, avatar, colour scheme, titles & descriptions, applications, etc., to ensure you are optimising the service's features and branding it as much as possible.
Link your Accounts
Most social media sites allow you to link your various accounts to each other in various ways. So, for example, you can post comments on Facebook and they will instantly appear on your Twitter account. The more connected your accounts are, the easier they are to manage and the less work you need to do.
Keep in mind, however, that different social media sites have different formats and often different types of audiences, so don't rely exclusively on linked accounts. Make sure you take the time to work each account separately and treat your audience according to the format and style of your presence. Twitter, for example, has limited space in which to post, while Facebook is more flexible. Simply posting all your Tweets on Facebook is not going to cut it. Assess the appropriateness of each post according to its relevance and suitability for the medium. Linking accounts is great for quick posts for cool links, quick one liners or alerting people to a new video you just posted, but not so good for ongoing conversations and contextual topics.
Follow & Friend Popular Opinion Leaders who Complement your Business
This must be done carefully and sparingly, but you can build personal relationships with highly influential people by engaging them in conversation, commenting on their posts and joining their other followers in conversation. If you can build strong ties, then you will get a flow-on effect to your own account and increase the possibility of influential people mentioning you, raising your profile and credibility.
Use YouTube More
People often forget about just how powerful YouTube is, with so much hype surrounding Twitter & Facebook these days. YouTube is owned by Google and as such, has a very strong presence in search results as well as using Google's searching and indexing algorithms to rank and filter YouTube videos and channels. YouTube is highly evolved as a service with many fantastic features, such as 'Insights' with valuable real stats to measure the success of your strategies. YouTube has many networking tools, like subscribers, tagging, linking and friends, to build a vibrant community around your content. On top of all of this, YouTube is an easy way to embed videos on your Website and for others to do the same.
Be Consistent and Keep it Interesting
This can be challenging, but is the essential ingredient to any successful social media strategy. You need to develop a habit of posting regularly and developing your style and content as much as possible. Experiment with what generates a response. Telling people what you are having for dinner is probably not going to work as well as asking a relevant and interesting, or controversial question about your topic of interest or your particular industry.
Formulate a Strategy
Don't just do random posts here and there – turn your social media activity into a formalised and disciplined business activity. Set aside time or hire someone on a regular basis, to manage your social media assets. Keep track of all your logins and passwords, diarise upcoming milestone dates to run specific campaigns leading up to an event, launch or sale. Determine which key words you might like to use to enhance your search engine ranking, then use those words in your posts and on your own Website. If you want to use social media for your business, you need to treat it as a business activity... BUT
Don't Try To Sell Too Hard
Social media is great for business, but it is social media. No one likes spammers, annoying salesmen and shameless self-promoters. While it is acceptable to post promotions and advertising on your own company channel, it is not so cool to go around posting comments on everyone else's channels to check out your Webpage and buy your stuff. Social media is about one-on-one relationships, so you need to focus on building those, rather than thinking it is some kind of free-for-all advertising medium. The businesses who build trust, share knowledge, help people and make friends online can do very well indeed.
Monitor and Analyse Your Strategy
There are many tools available, including Google Analytics, TweetStats and countless other free and paid services to track your accounts. Treat your social media like any other marketing strategy, that needs to be measured, costed and valued to see if it is worth it for the ROI. The more information you can gather, the more efficient and targeted you can become as you see what activities and sites drive the most traffic and sales, what key words and phrases are getting you great traffic and how your strategy is trending and evolving over time.
Don't Forget Your Website
Social media can be all you need to build your business, but your Website is the ultimate location for your customers. There is no point getting people all excited about your business on Facebook, then losing them all when they hit your Website and find something that is not professional or up-to-date. Websites drive traffic to social media, with 'Like' buttons and Google's '+1' too. You don't own or fully control social media sites, but you do have full control over your own Website. Make sure you maintain a site that is rich with information, including your social media feeds, and clearly communicates your expertise, professionalism and how much you care for your customers.
Social Media can play a significant role in your business activities these days. Taking it seriously and engaging with a professional and considered approach will ensure that you make the most of the networking opportunities that abound.