Your Roadmap to Social Networking
In the last couple of posts I've been working on helping you figure out your target audience and find your unique positioning on social media networks. These are crucial first steps to becoming a social media success. Now that you have these items clear in your mind, you’re ready to start experimenting with how you’ll participate in social media.
One of the great things about working online is as you move forward you can reshape and adjust your plans with what's working and what' not. Nothing is ever set in stone. It’s not necessary because you'll find that even if you did have everything all figured out now, your audience and their needs change over time. And if you’re smart, you’ll evolve with your audience.
So with all that in mind, let’s look at our big 5 networks to see how you can fit in.
Facebook is a very visual social network with a lot of great possibilities for sharing. Video and images tend to do well. Of course, you can share text content as well and you will probably find that if you add an image to your text you will get more views, shares and responses to your status updates.
Facebook gives you the ability to create polls for your audience which is a lot of fun for participants and enlightening for you. You can also share your company history through the Milestones feature, keeping in mind what would interest your audience most.
Facebook offers in-depth analytics giving you plenty of clues on which type of content does well and which doesn’t. Utilize these analytics learn how to hone your presence on this network.
Twitter is a more text-based social network that requires you to be concise in your sharing since you only have 140 characters to get your point across. You can post images and link to videos, but users will have to click through to view them.
One of the biggest advantages with Twitter is to use the RT (retweet feature) and @ (replies). RT allows you to share another user's useful update with your audience, which is another way to foster goodwill among like-minded users. Putting an @ before a username, allows you to communicate directly with users on Twitter and can pave the way to new connections.
When using LinkedIn, the key isn’t in the number of connections you make, but the quality of those connections so put your focus there. This is really good advice for all networks but especially LinkedIn because you tend to connect with similar business people who may use your services or recommend you at some point for your products or services to others online or locally.
Your approach to LinkedIn should be that of an information sharer and connector. Connect people who should know each other and offer help by answering questions and getting involved in groups.
Pinterest is the most visual network out there right now. Its essentially a collection of images linked together. Videos can be shared too, but aren't as popular.
To build your own presence on Pinterest choose images that are visually striking, professional looking and make people feel some type of emotion. Images that you share should be appropriately categorized and be sure to include a description that adds to the user experience.
Google+ is another very visual network with a lot of images and, in particular, videos being shared.
One of the most unique things at Google+ is Hangouts. Hangouts are a way to connect with others though group video and/or audio chat. It’s perfect for planning, getting to know your audience and brainstorming groups so be sure to take advantage of it.
Google+ also offers their Circles feature, which allows you to categorize your contacts in any way you choose. For example, you can make circles for your family and friends, affiliates, customers, mastermind groups and more.
Many people try using social media integration tools that simply broadcast their updates across all networks. This is a short sighted approach because each network is just a bit different. Many people will follow you across multiple networks and if you post the exact same thing on each network they will grow tired of it. Your audience expects interaction from you not just canned updates. Take the time to deliver the right information to the right audience on the right social network and you’ll have much better results. While I do encourage the use of social media integration tools, it’s important to use them wisely.