If you are a new business, a startup, or even an existing business that wants to prepare a social media strategy and then put it into action, these are the three top things you need to know before you jump into social media:
1) Find out what social media platforms your existing clients and your potential clients are being social on. And how do you find that out? Ask them. Have yourself or your manager or members of your sales team call 5 existing clients a day for one work week: ask which social media platforms they like best and why. You’d probably be surprised at how much your customers would enjoy helping you make a decision. They might even give you tips if they own a business which uses these platforms for marketing. You can also poll your clients, but don’t forget to ask how they found your business in the first place. Whether it was through a Google search or Yelp or Instagram, this will inform you which platform you need to concentrate on.
2) Before you jump into social media with a blogging campaign, or join Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter, build up your content (blogs on your website, pins on Pinerest etc.) before you actually start participating on your chosen social media platform/s. You need to build up your numbers of followers on Twitter or Facebook, you need to build engagement on LinkedIn, you need to be included in circles on Google+ and you need a few nice comments on Yelp before you can take advantage of the marketing potential.
3)Know that it takes time to build engagement and you must be social on social media to build your marketing potential. Because large and small companies alike have been using social media for a while, they might have years of interaction and experience so they have a bigger reach. It’s not like it was in 2008 when I started with Twitter of Facebook. I was able to go from 0 to 60 miles an hour because my clients and potential clients were new to it and I was one of the few people they knew in which to “friend or follow.” It now takes longer because some of us had a head start.
It is no secret how I became a social media expert: I had an eBook I wanted to self-publish so I read books and went online to learn as much as I could about how to market eBooks. I will pause here and take a sentence to state that, yes, I am an expert at social media, but no one is an expert in all-things “social media.” Like most consultants, I have my specialties and I’m aware of what I don’t specialize in. Avoid “gurus of social media!” And consult with a social media consultant, read, listen and study. You can start with a consultation with me, listen to social media podcasts on Swell and go to SocialMediaExaminer.com before you jump into social media.