If you’re a business and haven’t integrated social media with your business, here are 10 steps to get you going. You don’t have to do all of them. Grab a couple and get going.
1. Start a Blog – What do you do with a blog? Your company blog should focus on the company’s expertise and knowledge and how that can help potential customers even at the blog post level. Don’t just outline what you can do for them IF they become clients or customers, do it NOW in a blog post. Give them something that will help them now. Post to the blog on a regular basis if possibly. Let people know you’re alive.
If a potential customer comes to your company’s blog, you want up-to-date blog posts. Decide realistically how often someone can blog about your business. An informative, knowledge-rich blog post once a week or two can go a long way. I recommend 300-600 words if appropriate for your business. Heck, give them your editorial schedule if applicable. That way they’ll look forward to it.
2. Blog Posts – What type of blog posts to include on your business blog? Informative information about your product or service. Not a diatribe that talks around your product or service but something that conveys your expertise.
What would you like to read about a product or service you’re about to invest in? Yea, we all like to visit a business website for a quick overview of what your business is about, but a “live” blog tells us your heart is beating.
Does it make sense in your business to provide case studies? How about lists that can help potential customers right away when they visit your blog: “10 steps you can take now to improve your _____.”
3. Who should Blog? – Who should write the blog posts in your company? How about the people who work in the business and are excited about what they do and what the company does? Can you provide an incentive for employees who write blog posts for the company like going home early to write a blog post? Closer parking to the front door? Jeans day, or two or three? Find the champions of the biz, the “Go Doers”.
4. The Company Newsletter – Sure you’ve got a newsletter or everyday news that you update on part of your website, but how about cutting it up into 140 characters or less and get it out using Twitter. Can you cut up your newsletter into small 140 character chunks of news that you can sprinkle out over twitter every 2-3 or 3-6 hours during the day. Post to twitter a total of 12 times a day or 8 or 6, whatever makes sense for you.
Use HootSuite to enter all or some of your tweets for the day with links back to an appropriate page on your blog or website for more information about a specific tweet. Use HootSuite’s scheduler to send them out over the course of the day. Don’t spam by selling and selling and selling.
5. Twitter – Talking about twitter, create one account to get started and then over time consider adding more twitter accounts if you can manage them. Ask the question, “Can we split the focus using multiple twitter accounts and how would that help us?”
Let’s say you have a business twitter account with general information and news, and a second account that just tweets the deals of the day, assuming you’re in an industry that has products for sale, etc. Can you take that model and apply it to your business.
However, if you’re using twitter, try to remain active with one account before splitting it up into multiple twitter accounts. Can you provide tweets 1-3 times a day? I would set no less than 3 tweets spanned over your typical work day (8-5) to start. Don’t tweet multiple tweets at the same time. Ask your twitter followers to retweet by simpling saying, “Please Retweet.” Don’t over do it though. Make sure it makes sense. Also, leave 10-15 characters out of the maximum 140 characters for retweeting.
Just like the blog posts, are there employees who are champions for the company that can setup the tweets for an incentive. Also, do you email employees about contests and winners of those contests? Let’s say you’re a sponsor of a local sports team and you’re giving away tickets to those games. Get that news out of the company and congratulate the people who won the tickets out on twitter as well. This is one way that lets people outside your company know what you’re doing for employees. But don’t be fake about it, be real, there are real people watching and listening.
6. Videos – Can you create videos under 5 minutes to help your potential customers? You can use Screenr for free to record less than 5 minute videos that you can then upload to YouTube. While on YouTube, create a Channel that people can subscribe to and put a link on your blog that points to your YouTube channel, encouraging visitors to subscribe to your YouTube channel.
When you upload your video to YouTube, make sure you put a link to your blog or relevant article back to your blog or website in the description area of the video. Pick meaningful tags as well but don’t over do it. Check out what other companies in your field are doing on YouTube and use that as an example.
7. Social Networking – Are some messages too short for email inside your company? Can departments become more effecient if they use a tool kind of like twitter to communicate but not instant messaging? If you have your own email domain, for example yourcompany.com, then consider joining your email domain to Yammer. Yammer is just like twitter except it’s for inside the company only. It uses your email domain to keep messages inside your company.
8. Research – Watch your brand. Investigate your competitors. Research what people are talking about that relates to your product or service. Social media services like twitter allow you to search on specific words and phrases to alert you of any discussion that you’re interested in. Use Google Alerts so you get emails or subscribe to those alerts in an RSS reader.
Subscribe to key blogs in your industry by using Google Reader. You can read through the news in your industry quickly with an RSS reader like Google Reader.
9. Facebook – Facebook pages are all the rage. Don’t just create a “normal” facebook account and think you’re done. Create a page that includes some of the built-in facebook apps like videos, links, a full-fledged welcome screen, link your blog posts to your facebook page, discussions if appropriate, photos, notes polls, etc.
10. Time – Yes, it all takes time so don’t forget your main product or service. That comes first. Make your product or service killer and people will flock to it and tell other people about it. No social media campaign will make mediocrity better. There are ways to tweak your social media time and I’ll be exploring them here so make sure you subscribe.
Gotta pass every post, tweet and facebook wall post through a committee? Don’t know if that will help you online. Execute, Execute, Execute, Now, Now, Now.