Social Media Essentials

5 Step Guide To Social Media

Nothing happenedOver the last three years, social media has continued to expand in terms of usage, platform options and marketing influence. In part, this growth has been fueled by the exponential growth in ownership and use of mobile devices, both smartphones and tablets.

Social media is defined as the platforms that enable the interactive web by engaging users to participate in, comment on and create content as means of communicating with their social graph, other users and the public. It allows interaction using a wide variety of content formats that can be communicated one-to-one, one-to-many and/or many-to-many. (To help you further, here’s thirty definitions of social media from experts.)

5 Steps to guide your social media efforts

Social media has moved beyond the testing phase. Therefore it’s critical to think through your social media interactions. It’s no longer good enough to have a teenager who knows Facebook run your social media strategy.5 step social media guide

  1. Start with social media guidelines. Don’t just jump into the social media pool. Make sure that your employees and customers know what they can and can’t do. While you’re at it, don’t overlook the need to create a process in case of a social media firestorm. Understand that you and your employees have a responsibility on social media.
  2. Create a social media strategy. Use this handy seven step approach to get your marketing on track to succeed. Here’s a 50 point social media checklist to help you.
  3. Fuel your social media interactions with fresh content. Create a content marketing plan that’s integrated with your social media. Further, develop your social media calendar.
  4. Determine if you have any holes in your social media strategy.  Just because you’ve had members of your organization active on social media platforms, don’t assume that your social media strategy is on track.
  5. Track your social media results. This means you need to show real progress towards achieving top level objectives. Check out how seven experts tell you to drive social media ROI.

7 Social media platforms marketers need to consider

Over the last three years, marketers have gained increased experience at leveraging the power of social media to achieve business goals. While once it may have been sufficient to have a Facebook page, you now need to leverage the power of a combination of platforms. Here are the top seven venues. (Here’s research to support this list and thirty-one additional actionable social media marketing tips based on it.)

  1. Blog. Blogs are the grand daddy of social media platforms. They’re owned media entities that provide you with a homebase on social media. Even better, from a marketing perspective, they’re a content management system and support search optimization. Based on Hubspot research, you must publish new posts at least twice a week to get most of the power of publishing multiple times a day. (Here are my lessons–what I wish I knew when I started blogging.)
  2. FacebookAs the 800 pound gorilla of social media, Facebook is a must have in any business’s social media portfolio. It’s where you gather social proof. Make sure that you encourage your prospects, customers and fans to follow you on Facebook. Need additional pointers? Mari Smith, Amy Porterfield, Andrea Vahl and Jon Loomer are the go-to resources. (Here’s   recent Facebook research with charts.)
  3. YouTube. Often considered a video platform, don’t underestimate the power of the second largest social media site and the second largest search engine. Make sure that your business has a YouTube presence so that you can show your prospects how to use your product and get found. Check out Greg Jarboe’s YouTube An Hour A Day.
  4. LinkedIn. Long known as a job hunter’s ghetto, LinkedIn is working hard to establish itself as a publishing platform. Research of the Inc 500 reveal that it’s the one social media platform where small businesses see value, often for hiring purposes. It’s a stand out among social media platforms since it has three diverse revenue streams. Expand your reach by connecting with colleagues and joining groups.
  5. Twitter. This platform forces you to condense your message to 140 characters. It’s where news now breaks and it’s an important barometer for seeing what’s resonating with your audience. Here’s a guide to Twitter Etiquette and How to Be a Twitter Chat Champion.
  6. Google+. As part of Google’s empire, you can’t overlook this social media platform. Actually recent data shows that its base is climbing. Make sure that you’ve got your presence established and are regularly participating.
  7. Pinterest. Considered the social media equivalent of scrapbooking, Pinterest’s strength is its ability to show products visually. It’s where consumers go to dream about their lives. As such, it’s helpful for marketers. Check out Beth Hayden’s book Pinteresting.

Social media resources

Here are some useful social media resource lists.

Social media can seem overwhelming at first. What’s critical is to establish your presence and develop a schedule so that you can manage to integrate social media into your business processes on a regular basis.

What’s your favorite social media suggestion? Please add it to the comment section below.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

P.S. To celebrate, our 1,000th blog post, we’re running a contest where participants must leave a comment on today’s blog post with a suggestion for future content. The winner will be selected at random by our webmaster from the list of comments left on this post until Sunday, July 14, 2013, at midnight EST. The winner must have a postal address in the continental U.S. The winner will receive an autographed copy of Social Media Engagement for Dummies by Aliza Sherman and Danielle Elliott Smith.

BTW-we’re offering a similar drawing for people who sign up for the Actionable Marketing Newsletter from now until Sunday, July 14, 2013, at midnight EST. (Don’t forget they still get our FREE e-book when they subscribe!)


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