I’m assuming you’re here because you read my last story in my blog entitled Developing a Social Media Program: Overview. If not, you may want to review it before starting this one but as each post is designed to be standalone, feel free to dive in!
In this post, I’ll define the first step in developing a social media program, Establishing the Social Media Footprint. This is the first of eight posts I’ll be blogging about separately.
Establishing the social media footprint involves deciding which social media applications (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) should be selected and how should they be used. Not all apps are necessary or appropriate and some may not assist in achieving goals and objectives. Care should be exercised in making selections here and in deciding how to use the app’s selected. The use of a personal blog is also addressed here.
The first task in establishing the social media footprint is to understand what your goals and objectives are. This will determine which social media apps are appropriate to accomplish these.
An individual looking to heighten her influence in a particular segment or developing her reputation as a subject matter expert (SME) would look to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. She would have a Facebook page but I wouldn’t expend too much time and expense here initially.
An organization such as a non-profit or a retail business with a consumer facing component to their work would put more into Facebook.
Once the goals and objectives have been determined the next task is to understand how the different social media apps will help accomplish these goals. This may involve going deeper into the goals and objectives and understanding what influences them.
For example, a business may have a goal of increasing revenues. Simple, right? No! Simply jumping into social media won’t make revenue appear. Where does revenue come from? Customers. Where do customers come from? Prospects. Are you with me?
What brings the prospects? Better yet, where are they in the first place?
This is why the selection of social media is important and comes after the determination of goals and objectives.
Social media gives the capacity to reach out to millions if not billions of possible contacts here on Planet Earth. What we have to understand is which of all these possible contacts are relevant to us. Once done we next look to where they are and how to engage them.
Social media is all about having a dialogue with these possible contacts. I said a dialogue. That doesn’t mean spamming them with “Hey, I’m here, use my products or services!”
A dialogue implies give and take. In fact, the rule of thumb in many social media circles is a 4 to 1 ratio of gives to takes.
Let me make it simple: for every time someone asks for something in social media, she should be giving away four times as much in value added. Yes, you heard me correctly, four times as much. Sobering isn’t it?
Giving away implies having something to give away. It’s called content.
Each social media app has its own rules for how content is distributed. But, there’s one thing there isn’t a social media app for, at least as most people understand the term. That one thing is a blog. (Like the one you’re reading right now.)
A blog gives you the ability to create your own, original content in the format that you wish to present it. To establish your own presence on the Internet. To have something to give away and invite others back to. The blog is the cornerstone of the social media strategy.
Thus, we arrive at the third task, determining how to establish a blog.
The first question is have one’s own domain name (like www.someddi.com ) or to piggyback on a free service like Blogger or WordPress. (Readers will find that I’m a big believer in free or near free social media services. I only recommend spending money when there is no other way or the value received makes the cost worthwhile.)
I recommend having a unique domain name. It represents permanence and discipline. Services like WordPress offer unique domain names for a price.
I went with registering my own domain name and hosting with an ISP using WordPress because some future goals and objectives will require the flexibility of my own domain hosted away from a service provider.
This puts us at selecting the blog provider. Besides hosting independently, I’ve mentioned two other options, Blogger and WordPress, which at their basic service offerings are free. Another option is a tool called workfolio.com which for a modest monthly fee (with a 15% discount for annual payment) offers good value in a unique domain name with website and blog capabilities.
All of these are acceptable alternatives which range from free to near free. Capabilities will range from basic to advanced and will be heavily influenced by one’s comfort with technology.
I’ve discussed how goals and objectives influence the social media app choices available. Then the importance of having a blog and the options available for setting one up. This leaves us with a framework to build upon.
This is something to think about for a while, not too long, if you haven’t before.
Think about it while waiting for my next installment Normalizing the Social Media Identity. Here, I’ll discuss how to have a common brand or presence across different social media apps.
There are eight steps summarizing how to initiate, maintain, and improve a social media program. Each of these represents tasks and interim deliverables. Third party tools are available to assist with these and enhance the social media app’s themselves. This ongoing series in my blog will discuss these.
In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!
I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.
I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me. Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.
I can also be reached at email@example.com.
My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.