Getting Started with Social Media
Many business leaders recognize the value of social media. They understand that social media can help them to achieve their goal of increasing revenue, lowering cost and improving cash flow. But many executives, on the other hand, say that social media is a huge time vacuum and a drain on their employees’ resources – mainly because there is no clear concise roadmap as to how to get started with social media.
Roll up your sleeves and let’s get started with the basics of social media marketing.
- The first thing that an entrepreneur should do in order to get started with social media is to register a domain name, find a reliable web host, and install a blogging platform such as WordPress. By default, WordPress will use URLs with a lot of question marks, which will limit your search engine traffic. There is a quick fix for this. Before posting any articles to your new blog, access your WordPress administration back-end to change the settings so that your blog articles will have search engine friendly URLs. Click “Options”, “Permalinks” then choose “Date and Name based”.
- Setup an “About Us” page on your blog that explains what your blog is about, what your background includes and most importantly, what you are about.
- Install analytics software, such as Google Analytics so that you can track your visitors and see where they are coming from, what is the most popular page on your site and what is the most popular exit page on your site.
- Install a Sitemaps program, such as https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/. This software will create a sitemap of your website and, from within your Google Webmaster account, you can tell Google about your site as well as list the sitemap filename.
Now get ready for Social Media…
- Setup a Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn account. Your profile is the most important step in this process. Be sure to enter as much information on your profile as possible, such as your interests, what you are looking for (friends or networking) and some background information about yourself, such as a short summary of your resume. Post something original and unique that will cause people to become interested in learning more. A photograph is very important. People will be more eager to take the first step and interact with you if there is a photograph to go with the name.
- Provide the visitors to your blog the tools to promote your content. Social promotion buttons make it easy for your visitors to Digg, StumbleUpon, and share your content. For example, if you are active on FriendFeed, you should install the FriendFeed “comments and likes” plug-in on your blog. By providing an easy, direct link to the networks that you prefer for promotion, there is a higher likelihood that people will promote your content on the networks of your preference. Yes, quality articles will always get promoted, but sometimes people who would normally promote something may pass it by because they are too busy to go through multiple steps, as apposed to having all their options neatly laid out for them. WordPress has a number of easy-to-use plug-ins for social media. These include Twitter, Facebook, Follow Me, as well as many others.
- When you begin to build a network of contacts and friends, make the commitment to interact with them using the various features the networks have to offer. There are many people who will withdraw from your network if you do not consistently contribute to the community in some way.
- Setup a Feedburner account. Provide an easy way for subscribers to use RSS (really simple syndication) to subscribe. Use text links as well as graphics to promote your RSS feed. You can also add an email subscription form on your site. For those that do not use feed burners, they can be emailed your latest blog postings.
- Establish at least one social bookmarking account with Delicious, Diigo, Ma.gnolia. If you feel like you have the time and commitment, it is best to establish an account with all three services. Make Diigo your primary account for bookmarking. By doing this, you can use a Diigo feature that allows you to bookmark to all three services simultaneously.
- Establish accounts on social news sites such as Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit and Mixx.
- Take full advantage of all the Google services that are offered.
- Google Webmaster
- Google Analytics
- Google Calendar
- Google Docs
- Google Notebook
These services are web based and offer sharing or group collaborating features. You can also import the data publicly via RSS and a HTML page via your Google Reader shared link blog. The main point is that most of your Google data is easily accessed, managed, and integrated with the web.
- Tag your media, especially blog posts and bookmarks. The concept is really pretty simple. Tag the content with a word or a couple of words that you will remember when looking for the content again, making it easier to find in a search. Every click counts. The same concept applies to any other forms of social media that you create such as videos that you post onto YouTuble or Vimeo or images on Flickr or pod casts.
- Blogging requires consistent, quality content. Many professional bloggers get paid per post. Do not feel intimidated or believe that you need to compete with them. Work at your own pace. Quality writing takes time, plain and simple. Good content speaks for itself and is recognized.
- Be consistent and be patient. It can take months and in some of the more competitive industries, it can take years to see success. Remember, you are building Internet real estate, which is an asset and worthwhile of all the time and effort that you are spending to construct a successful online presence.
Follow good practices in social media marketing
Do not ignore negative comments. Interact with users and become a recognized expert in your field. By following these simple steps for social media, your connections and visitors will grow, which will in-turn increase your bottom line.