Saturday, November 20, 2010

Building a Firm Foundation for Your Social Media Strategy

Have you come to the conclusion that social media is not going away? For those of you who are just getting started, here are some tips to encourage your progress. You will be pleasantly surprised by the personal interactions you can have online with your existing friends, family and professional connections.

Most people get bored with twitter because they follow a few friends that they know are on twitter and a few celebrities or big brands. Twitter is best used by finding new friends who are real people. Do a search in the Twitter search box for a subject that you are interested in or the industry that you work in. You may notice a word with “#” in front of it. This is called a hashtag. All of the people who are tweeting about that topic are including that particular hashtag so that you can do a search with the hashtag and only see tweets related to that topic. This is a good way to find, and follow, people who are tweeting about something you are interested in. You should monitor the list of people following you so that you can follow them back if their bio sounds interesting. Don’t be afraid to talk to people! Just send a message by including the “@” in front of the person’s name, i.e. @elizabethglau.

If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest country in the world. Companies are becoming better at engaging with their customers on their fan pages through contests, events, and give-aways so make sure you find and “like” your favorite brands on Facebook because you might get something for free!

LinkedIn is the preferred professional network. Anyone with a job or looking for a job needs to be on LinkedIn. Connect with everyone in your rolodex, then every time you go to a networking event, conference, etc., invite everyone whose card you received. LinkedIn is an excellent way to refer your professional contacts to each other. If someone asks me if I know a good financial advisor, I can do a search to see who I am connected to and forward their profile to the person who is looking. This way, they can view the advisor’s experience, skills, recommendations and even click over to their Web Site, blog, or twitter account to research them before hiring them.

Have fun making new friends and connecting with old friends. You might find that it increases the amount of offline socializing and networking that you do by keeping up with what is happening in your online communities.