A great question asked by John of SparesBoyz at the workhsop in Johannesburg on Monday 17th. where do you start exactly.
Research and listen
Personally, if I were in your shoes I would start by doing some research and listening to what customers are saying about products and services in your industry.
- I would firstly do a search on Google for industry related sites,
- Research keywords and look for what search terms are being used by customers
- Assess industry sites and think about what I like and don’t like
- See who my competitors customers are.
- Think of things that I could do better than my competitors
And most importantly I would think about the benefits, it is all about benefits, firstly, what is your customer’s pain and how are you going to fix it.
Once I have an idea of what my competitors are doing, who my customers are and how I’m going to fix their pain. I would work on my plan of action and decide which sites I’m going to target and set my goals and objectives.
Do a final keyword check, to make sure that you are happy with your chosen keywords and incorporate them into your bio, profile, website content and your blogs.
Profile and Bio
Then comes the profile. I would right a short and clear tag line which tells my audience exactly what it is I do and who my best customers are and work on a short bio which will make me stand out from the crowd.
Work out your branding if you haven’t done so already.
Content is king. Start writing some content. If you feel you are not good at writing, then hire a copywriter but sometimes we have the tendency to under estimate our own abilities. Just be natural and be yourself. If you need some copywriting done, we have a service which can assist in this area. Sometimes having a good combination of using a copywriter and writing your own content for blogs and articles reduces the workload of having to do it all yourself.
Set up a blog
You must have a starting point, your blog is like having a shop window where you get to display everything you have to offer and where you get to display your expertise and this is where you content and keywords come in.
Network, network, network, follow, connect and participate. Social media is all about networking. We have all done it offline and done it all our lives.
The basic starting poings I would recommend is Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook from there I would then decide whether I would like to join another site which may be of benefit to me. Generally I would choose a local community site.
Don’t give up
Lastly, don’t give up, keep at it, be consistant and the results will come.
Lastly, and most important
Have lots and lots of fun. Social Media is all about getting to know people.
If you need social media assistance and would like to know more about our services you can contact me via Twitter: @romanythresher or Skype: directassist. We cater to both UK and South Africa.
Scaling Social Media by Chris Brogan
I was visiting a website yesterday and reading some content disturbed me a little.
Under their services it stated that they can set up Facebook and some other social media accounts on your behalf. Now while this sounds very helpful. If you read the terms and conditions on some, if not all social networking sites it clearly states that only the account holder can open and access the account. You can set up administrators for some social network sites otherwise you may need to get permission from site managers to have someone access your account on your behalf.
Facebook is one of the sites which do not allow any access at all. I made contact with Facebook and their reply was that this option does not exist at this present stage. I know other social sites if you inform site managers, they do allow personal assistants / virtual assistants to have access. Now I know this may in some ways sound rediculous because in most industries personal assistants have access to very confidential information in order to assist the people they work for. In fact many other industries such as accountants, IT also have access to very confidential information, so I find it a little unrealistic of Facebook not to allow access, are informed about it and it is made clear to the account holder that they are responsible of all and any content submitted on their behalf.
I thought I would share this because as the account holder it is important for you to know and be aware of what the terms and conditions say before you allow someone to setup an account on your behalf. I have known people to be banned for allowing others to set up accounts without permission. There has also been some heated debates on certain sites regarding this issue.
If you are looking for a cost effective way of marketing your business then social media is the way to go. I will warn you that it will take time, patience and effort and a lot of the time you will think that nothing is happening and you are wasting your time. However, it is a great way to establish yourself in the market place. Social media also gives you the opportunity to engage with your target audience and listen to the needs of your customers. What is very clear is that your marketing strategy must be transparent. Listen and engage in conversations.
1. Where to begin
Establish what you want to achieve from social media. What is your objective and why you want to use social media?
2. What do you want to use social media for? Perhaps…
- To get feedback on your products or service
- To offer advice ad information
- To generate new leads
- To form alliances
- To inform your audience of special offers and product information
- To meet people
- To promote events and workshops
- Share stories and experiences
Find out which social platforms will be of benefit to you. Find out where your target market hangs out and listen to their conversations. Use keywords and do a search on your type of business. See what sort of questions people are asking. Your audience may not even be talking about related products/services but converse on other topics. Be aware of popular trends.
4. Find out who the influencers are
This may not be the top businesses in your industry but it may be a group of people who have influence and access to your market in your local community. Who has a good following of people who write blogs and are based in your local area.
5. Brand Awareness
Brand awareness today is all about transparent and who is talking about you. This means, are people twittering about you, your links, sharing your content and recommending you to others.
6. The bare minimum, what you should be doing daily
- Blog on your blog site at least 2 to 3 times a week
- Blog in the social communities you have chosen to focus on
- Take part in forums
- Post comments on blog sites relating to your industry
- Post comments on blogs in your chosen social communities
- Engage in conversations, get involved in online chats and groups
- Build relationships
- Network and attend networking events
- Collect information via your website and blog site
- Collect contact information from people you meet
- Distribute a newsletter at least once a month
- Offer to write blogs on other people’s blog sites
- Invite others to write on your blog site
- Twitter regularly, offer daily tips, special offers, RT interesting tweets, give recommendations
- Make sure your blog is always twittered
- Bookmark blogs and sites you find interesting on Digg and Stumble Upon and post comments
- Write some reviews
- Do some video’s, video’s are in and post them on Youtube and other video sites
- If you have podcasts, blog about them and post links to some free podcasts
- Run a few teleseminars
This list is not exhaustive and I am sure I have left out a few things.
Give people the opportunity to get to know you, if you join a platform and you sit on the fence. How are people going to get to know you? How do you expect people to meet and engage with you. If you are sitting on the fence, maybe ask yourself, “why did I join”. Don’t be afraid, jump in, the value is to get people talking to you.
7. Time well spent
In order to be successful you need to be proactive with social media. Social media requires regular if not daily focused activity. Set yourself a time slot each day. If time is a factor, I recommend you hire a virtual assistant who is well informed in social media to help you manage your social media on your behalf.
8. Time saving tips
Use a digital dictaphone and record your thoughts and then send it to a virtual assistant for transcription, this can be a big timesaver. The average person types at approximately 20 wpm. A virtual assistant types at 60 or more wpm. Once transcribed you can then tailor it to your style and personality and make amendments. When it is ready to be published, again use your virtual assistant to publish the blogs on your behalf. Let them know where you would like the content to be published.
Signature is extremely important. Your signature should always include your name, surname, company name, website address, twitter address. Preferably a company logo or promotional image. Type and set up your signature in a wsywig html editor. Once done, open the html box, copy the text and then past it in notepad. Save and now every time you do a post you can copy and past your signature.