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I’m looking to give my business a social media presence but am a bit confused by all of the “expert” advice out there. Help!

Friday, 13 May 2011 | By Craig Hodges
I’m looking to give my business a social media presence but am a bit confused by all of the “expert” advice out there. What are the first social media steps I should be taking?

 

In the early days of setting up King Content, we came into contact with more “web gurus” than we care to remember. The only thing we learnt from meeting half of them, was that anyone who refers to themselves as a “guru” of anything, usually isn’t.

 

The sad fact is, however, that a lot of so-called web professionals play on the fact that the average business owner usually doesn’t know too much about web design, SEO and social media

 

Like I was, they’re probably too busy losing sleep over cashflow, staffing issues and all the other more traditional business problems. The things that used to matter!

 

In the early days of online business, the most confusing aspect for the layman was web design. However, this soon became easily and affordably outsourced (thank God) and was quickly replaced by another grey area – SEO.

 

Meetings with SEO agencies might as well of been in another language for what most us tended to understand about Google’s latest algorithm changes and hidden website indexing.

 

However, with more and more online marketers popping up and information available on the web, SEO gets clearer by the day.

 

This leaves space for a new grey area for ‘web gurus’ to try and confuse us with – social media and online marketing.

 

Social Media fills most business owners with anxiety – especially those selling products which aren’t deemed fashionable or followable.

 

However, with planning, persistence, an awareness of your customers and an eye for quality content, social media can transform your business and generate far more leads than any expensive SEO campaign.

 

Here’s how we put together our social media strategy and the steps we took to make sure our social media presence knitted together and grew.

 

Some things we did from day one, while others we focused on in the later stages. But all of them done correctly will reduce your social media anxiety.

 

  • We decided which social media areas we wanted to target – for us this was Facebook (for the varied content we could utilise), Twitter (for snappy industry updates) and Linkedin (for the professional networking).

    This worked, however it was definitely quite a lot to manage. It’s best to not take on too many areas in the early stages in order to conquer each properly.

  • We linked our Facebook page, Twitter profile and Linkedin staff profiles so that updates would feed them all. As we had taken on three areas at once, we created auto feeds (especially from Twitter to LinkedIn), which helped subdue the workload.

    We then put our attention into Facebook and Twitter predominantly, letting LinkedIn grow automatically.

  • We developed a content plan. Structuring what we would say and when was by far the biggest help ion the early stages.

    It’s important to not look “static” when you first delve into the social media would so making a content plan (at least for the first two months) is essential.

    Ours featured status updates, specific dates to post links and acted as a reminder that we needed to keep on top of our social identity.

  • We experimented with different content/forms of media. Google loves varied media on webpages – why? Because so do their users!

    We made sure that video, photo and written content were all part of the above content strategy.
  • We never forgot the importance of our company blog and the staff voice. This to us was important as it acted as the brand’s opinion and was what we tended to use to try and ‘start’ discussions rather than follow them. The blog was a turning point for us in this sense.
  • We invited our clients and friends. In the early stages we found it extremely helpful to pull in help from those we knew already – the snowball effect has to start somewhere.
  • We replied to all customer comments. This showed we had a voice and an opinion. It made us look much more “real” and gained us valuable respect in the marketplace.
  • We followed our competitors and other business in the market and shared links with them. Once we had content and followers we started to make association with our competition and other industry professionals.
  • We began to lead and make discussions. We now felt like we had the power and the following to start being more active online.
  • All-in-all, we saw that our social media strategy had gone from “retweeting” and “sharing” related links on Facebook (active but still passive) to creating contacts, starting discussions and posting our own personal company content (the blog).

    We are now in much more of a leading position as control what’s said around us, rather than reacting to it.