(Note: It’s no secret. I’ve been PASSIONATE about social media since 2008! This text comes from a Social Media for Newbies doc I created a few years ago. I just dusted it off and revised it slightly but I think it is all still relevant.)
New to using social media? Here are some great tips I’ve gathered to help you out. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or want to add anything. Thanks for reading!
1. Determine what your purpose is for being in social media space. What is it you are trying to achieve?
2. Decide how you are going to measure your progress/success.
3. Decide which social channels you are going to use.
4. Begin creation of a Social Media Guidelines document to share with your employees/co-workers if you are doing this for business purposes.
5. Listen: Spend time researching your company/brand and your competitors. Find out what conversation is going on already. Set up google alerts for your company/brand and your competitors. Set up a generic industry word. For example, if you sell pizza, set up a google alert for the word “pizza”.
6. If Twitter is part of your social strategy (and it probably should be), decide exact name you will use on Twitter for your company – limit is 15 characters. Use exact name for your Facebook page. Plan this out in advance for brand consistency. For example, Cassanos PIzza is CassanosPizza on Facebook as well as on Twitter.
7. If you are planning to begin with a personal Twitter page, use your real name, all one word with no spaces, underlines or numbers. (There are exceptions, of course, and this may not be an option if your name is taken already.)
MY SOCIAL MEDIA RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
• Be authentic
• Be kind
• Promote others
• Know that relationship is everything (my first social media mentor Liz Strauss drilled this in my head and she was spot on!)
• Give, give, give, give, give, give…then you may ask someone for a favor (thank you Gary V)
• Be conversational
• Offer original, creative and interesting content that adds value for your followers
• Listen and participate
GETTING STARTED WITH TWITTER
• Sign up at Twitter.com
• Use a close-up photo of your face for your profile. If you use a silly cartoon image or close-up of your eyeball, people will be less likely to follow you back.
• Fill out your profile info fully. Be sure to include URL link to your company or blog.
• Begin tweeting! Don’t worry about being new. We were all new to this once. Fill up the page with tweets. The only people who will see what you tweet are those who are “following” you. So, if you have no followers, you are in effect talking to yourself.
• You won’t fully understand the value of Twitter until you have a decent “village”. I recommend aiming for 100 followers/following to begin. Having said that, this is NOT about numbers. Anyone can buy followers with software. No one is impressed if you buy 20,000 followers. Build your stream organically (naturally).
• A fast track to gaining followers is to follow me @CaroleBakerTV and send me a tweet. When my followers see me engage with you, often they will follow you as well.
• Promoting others builds social media cred. When someone says something worth repeating, retweet (RT) their post by copying it and including an RT at beginning of post or use the automatic feature on Hootsuite or on your smart phone app. You are allowed 140 characters per post, but if you have info that may be retweeted, only use 130 to allow someone opportunity to RT.
• Use Twitter to drive traffic to your Facebook page or blog. Most URL’s are too lengthy. Use a shortner tool like bitly.com.
• Budget your time. SM can be a time-suck.
• Use a free tool like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to manage your tweets and save time.
• DO NOT set up auto-responses to new followers. Take the time to personally respond to people. Some people disagree and there are exceptions but I’m speaking in general terms.
I hope this helps you as you wade into the social streams. Don’t be a stranger. Let me know if you have any questions by commenting below. Thanks!