Photo credit: Gueorgui Tcherednitchenko (Flickr)
Social media may have become mainstream, a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners still struggle to make sense of it.
They struggle because they have jumped on the bandwagon on impulse, without properly educating themselves on what works and what doesn’t.
So, today, let us go back to the basics. Here are some tips to help you make your mark.
- Plan, plan, plan – Being on social networks is not enough. You need to have a strategy in place to attract followers and create engagement.
- Fill out and optimize your social media profiles – Use your real name or the name of your company. Upload a professional profile picture of yourself. Tell us exactly who you are and what you do in your bio. And do not forget to include relevant keywords, skills, links, and your tagline if you have one.
- Let your content and actions speak for you – Best-selling authors and self-proclaimed gurus are a dime a dozen. So, instead of telling the world how great you are, focus on what you can do to turn your followers into advocates. No one likes show-offs.
- Promote your content in a smart way – Do not just drop links and leave. Take the time to introduce your posts. Tell your audience why they need to read you. For an excellent article on the topic, read The Anatomy of a Perfect Google+ Post by Dustin W. Stout. Most of the tips work for all social networks.
- Promote other people’s content - Creating articles, videos, and presentations is great, but you cannot cover all the news and topics in your industry. So, why not add curation to your strategy?
- Interact with your audience - Every social media pro I know talks about the importance of focusing on the “social” side of social media. Unfortunately, many companies fail to understand this concept. They often forget to answer public comments and questions; and when people leave negative feedback on their pages, they either delete it or start paying attention when it is too late. Be proactive and active. Let us know that you care.
- Keep an eye on competition - Many businesses in your niche use social media. So, why not take advantage of it to observe what they do and learn from them? Use TweetDeck, HootSuite, Mention.net, and Hyper Alerts to monitor their activity on social networks. Feedly is also very handy to follow your favorite blogs in one convenient spot.
- Do not try to be everywhere - The best way to fail is to do too many things at once. Instead, go for small, attainable goals. And only stick to a limited number of social networks. You will never be able to serve your audience well if you are all over the place.
- Embrace Google+ - Do not listen to haters. Google+ does not suck at all. Actually, it is one of the best social media platforms ever invented! Your public posts are indexed in Google Search. Most members are technically savvy, know the netiquette, and share educational and thought-provoking content. There is no Edgerank. And most importantly, some of the features (e.g., Hangouts, Ripples, and Local) are unique.
- Take advantage of Google Authorship - Authorship allows you to claim ownership of your content by linking it to your Google+ profile. Once implemented, people will see your picture next to Google search results highlighting your stuff.
For more information on Authorship, read Demian Farnworth’s excellent article. To learn how to implement the feature, visit http://www.google.com/insidesearch/features/authorship/index.html.
Did I miss some tips? Feel free to share yours in the comment section below.
by Cendrine Marrouat
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License