Social Media 101 – Step 4: Get Rolling…

SRWell, well, well – you’ve waded through the incredibly important first 3 steps. You’ve defined who you are, you’ve defined your audience, and you’ve defined what you need to say. Now what?

Get rolling, son. Get rolling.

How do you get rolling? Well, the first order of business is to decide where to start that ball rolling. There are about 7 billion different social networking sites (and sites that are not really social, but considered part of the tool box) out there – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube – too many to mention. I’m going to focus on what, for most businesses, would be considered the top 3 – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Google+ is going to wind up being a heavy hitter at some point, because Google is just ubiquitous, but it’s a little early yet to focus too much energy there.

How do you get rolling? What’s the methodology to starting? It’s pretty easy. And – if you already have these outlets set up, you can skip to Lesson 5. Well, as soon as I write lesson 5. Unless you have a time machine. If you have a time machine, please contact me. I have some ideas…

Now, since you’re obviously pulling your hair out and saying “James, just get to the point. I appreciate the banter and the small talk, but I’m really just here for the information, I offer the Incredibly Helpful and Informative Tip #4:

Lesson 4: Get Rolling…

You’re ready to go. You’ve got your info in hand and you’re ready to sign up and start making your waves in the Social World.

If you’re like the vast majority of businesses out there, you’re going to see the best bang-for-your-buck from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Well – if you want to be on those, you gotta follow a couple of steps, keep your branding and message consistent and keep it going.

PLEASE REMEMBER THIS – IF NOTHING ELSE: Social marketing is NOT a quick fix. You can be at this for a long time before you start seeing a real, quantifiable return. Don’t expect a thousand people to beat down your door tomorrow, just because you’re using some terrific tools, advice and strategies. Be patient. You’re starting a ball rolling down a not-so-steep hill. It’ll be slow at first, but it’ll pick up momentum – as long as you don’t stop it. Gravity wins. Gravity always, always wins. Don’t fight against nature, son.

You’re ready, but where do you go from there? I’ll tell you where:

The Exercise:

Part 1: Facebook. Don’t have a Facebook page? Tsk, tsk, tsk. Actually, it’s pretty easy. On the screen where you sign in, at the bottom below the green button, you’ve got a nice little link that says “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business.” Click there. Pretty easy. You can also watch this incredibly informative video. Thankfully, Facebook has made the whole process pretty simple and obvious. Just do it. Then, make it pretty or hire someone to make it pretty. This is important. Consider Facebook a mini website. You wouldn’t allow your website to look like crap (please, God, tell us your website doesn’t look like crap) and you shouldn’t allow your Facebook to look bad, either. This is what people are going to see when you start attracting new customers, leads and business contacts. First impressions are important. Fill out the information, fill it out honestly and completely. VERY important. Please know, too, that this new Facebook page is NOT your personal profile. It will be linked to your personal profile, but folks won’t be able to see your latest booze-filled rant on how bad the Steelers suck. Well, as long as you have your privacy settings correct. Your personal profile and your business page are 2 totally different things, and must be treated as such.

Part 2: Twitter. Twitter, for as insanely noisy as it can be, can be an important avenue. You can “microblog,” and you can have it pull links and feeds from your main website, Facebook and just about any other social marketing effort you might be involved with. The nice thing about Twitter is that is IS so limited – nobody’s expecting you to write the Magna Carta in a tweet, so you don’t have to try quite as hard. You still want compelling content – but it’s not quite as stressful. Sign up for a Twitter account here. Again, fill out the information as fully as you can. Add your profile pic or your company logo. Change up the background. Make it yours. This is important – nobody wants to come to your Twitter page and see the default settings. This is your brand – your identity. Consider it a business card. You’re not going to hand someone a blank business card, are you? Own it – that goes a long way.

Part 3: LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great service. You can link to a bazillion business people all over the globe. You can join groups of similar interest, start your own groups and really get your name and your business out there. Sign up for LinkedIn. Again, you’ll want to be as thorough with this as you possibly can be. Add YOUR photo to this. Don’t use your business logo here – you’ll want to show people that you’re a human being, and as good as your logo may be, it’s just not human. Once you’re in, start poking around, let it pull some contacts from your email and you’re off and running. LinkedIn is really good at suggesting contacts that you might know. It’s worth the try to contact and link to folks – you never know who’s going to be looking for what you’re providing.

So now you’re ready to start posting, finding and mining for leads, likes, contacts and followers. That’s the next bunch of tips. If there’s nothing else that I can stress in this series – I want to stress consistency. Stick to your message, stick to your style and stick to posting/tweeting/blogging, etc. You’ve got to stick to the social thing for the long haul to make it work for you, and you’ve got to stick to your message and style – that’s all that’s really going to work. There are now magic bullets in social marketing. Anyone that tries to tell you otherwise, well…

Next up is Step 5: Facebook Strategies…