I created this five-part model – the ABC’s of Social Media – to simplify your social media efforts. Many folks come to social media and attempt to short-circuit the process by over-automating, over-broadcasting, over-delegating and miss out the vital component of connecting, engaging and building relationships.
Once you’ve confirmed your target market uses Facebook and Twitter, and you’re happy with your brand, messaging and systems for capturing leads, etc., here’s how the ABC system works:
First, set up systems to automate your broadcasts, feeds, updates, content. On Twitter, this could be using Twitterfeed to automatically post your blog feed as tweets. To pre-schedule tweets, use TweetLater and/or Hootsuite.
To update multiple social media sites, including Twitter, your Facebook personal profile, multiple Facebook Fan Pages, LinkedIn, FriendFeed and many more, Ping.fm works extremely well. To pre-schedule updates to multiple social sites, the best choice is HootSuite > Ping.fm.
Import your blog post on Facebook using the Notes app and/or the Networked Blogs app.
Aggregate all your social feeds into FriendFeed and add the FriendFeed app to your Facebook Profile.
There are many more ways to automate; these are a great start. However, I do recommend not over-automating. Pre-scheduling and auto-broadcasting are great to ensure you at least have some content going out daily. But you’ll also want to generate real-time content/broadcasts too.
Broadcasts are what I call regular tweets (as opposed to @ replies), Facebook status updates, posts on Facebook, blog posts and more. In fact, any way of pushing your message “out there.” This could be seen as more traditional “push marketing” though you’re not being pushy, per se. It’s important to broadcast your content and, in fact, broadcast others’ content in the form of retweets, favorites, social bookmarks and the Links app on Facebook.
Now the challenge with many businesses using social media is they stop at “B” – in other words, they just repeat the cycle of automate and broadcast, automate and broadcast. It’s hard to know who’s behind the Twitter account or Facebook page. It’s all about pushing content and there’s hardly any engagement. So the third step is vital to your success in social media:
On Twitter, this is the art of joining, initiating and responding to conversations via @ replies. Using popular third party clients like Tweetdeck, or Twhirl , you can easily track and respond to @yourname mentions.
On Facebook, create Friend Lists with your key contacts, drag that friend list to the top of your News Feed and now that’s your default view [see screenshot to the right]. Then, even in just a few minutes a day on Facebook, you can easily connect by commenting appropriately.
Acknowledge your friends’ birthdays on both Facebook and Twitter. [On Facebook, all your friends’ upcoming birthdays are listed on your Home Page on the right; you can also receive a weekly list of upcoming birthdays via regular email: click Settings > Account Settings > Notifications > under the first segment (Facebook) click Show More > make sure “Has a birthday coming up” is turned ON.]
Look for other occasions to celebrate and acknowledge. And, look for ways to introduce and promote others, compliment, add value.
Subscribe to a number of popular blogs and regularly post your comments. When writing your own blog posts, encourage your readers to comment by asking stimulating questions.
If you’re serious about integrating social media into your marketing efforts, before long you simply cannot manage everything yourself. Depending on the size of your company, you may well have a member of staff who’s sole responsibility is to be the voice and face of the company, often called a “brandividual.”
Or, you may choose to hire a competent, trained VA (Virtual Assistant) or social networking assistant – at least to help set up and manage the basics. I usually recommend you do not delegate your voice, though most of us know some celebrities have “ghost tweeters!” [There are many sources to find good VAs, including on Twitter via the directory Twellow.com – that way you can find, follow and monitor their style before even contacting them.]
One major task you can delegate is to track and monitor your reputation by setting up Google alerts and tweet alerts (via TweetBeep and/or TweetLater which is a suite of helpful Twitter tools). Look for your evangelists who are always singing your praises so you can connect, empower and incentivize them more. And, also look for negative activity that needs to be responded to and ideally nipped in the bud. [The best book on reputation management is Radically Transparent by Andy Beal and Judy Strauss.]
As quickly as you set up your social media systems, something new comes along or the big sites introduce new features. Facebook are constantly adding a tweak here and there, sometimes minor but often major. It’s important you stay informed and regularly evaluate how your systems are working for you. Are you meeting your objectives? Are you getting a good ROI (return on investment) and ROT (return on time). Have you thoroughly researched where your target market hang out most and are you reaching them effectively? How can you think outside the box, get more creative and innovative to stay ahead of the curve?
Let me know your thoughts on my ABC’s of Social Media model – did I miss anything critical? Does it help you better understand how you can effectively use the giants like Facebook and Twitter? Please do retweet this post too, assuming you found it valuable!