If you dive into social media without making a plan, you’ll make more mistakes than you need to. After all, you don’t want to go through a social media identity crisis in front of all the world to see.
Before any social media marketing campaign, and online presence, is launched, you need to decide what it is you want to project. How will you position yourself? What is it that you want to say? Who is the audience that you’re trying to reach? Since social media functions at its best when used to create relationships, think about the community that you want to engage, and how you want to present yourself to that community, before you jump in.
Now this is NOT license to take 6 months to get involved with social media. Honestly, with the pace this is all moving, the rules will have all changed again in 6 months! But it does make sense to take some time to plan out who it is you’re trying to reach and how you want them to perceive you.
When I began my journey into social media, I had some very clear objectives. I wanted to connect with direct sellers and direct selling executives, and provide a forum for the discussion of how to integrate social media marketing into the direct sales industry. I believe that social media will revolutionize the way that direct sellers do business, and I want to have a voice in the conversation. Knowing that, I created a social media strategy that took advantage of social media tools to reach the people I wanted to reach, and made an effort to provide useful information to these people.
So here’s how I did it.
- I was already on Facebook. I had built a group of friends, colleagues, etc., and once in a while I posted status updates and notes about my business. Most of the time, however, I just engaged the community through the sharing of information, pictures, etc, developing relationships and reigniting old connections.
- On Facebook, I also set up a fan page for my business, set up and publicized an application where users could send virtual gifts of our products to one another, and created “flair” with our company logo that I sent out to friends. We publicized opportunity calls through our fan page, and highlighted our charitable work here too. I taught our distributors how to use these tools to build their businesses.
- I began checking Google Analytics for the traffic our company website received from Facebook. We are able to see where web traffic is coming from, and to see how long those visits last, what pages they are looking at, etc. As I’ve mentioned before, Facebook began to consistently rank among the top 5 referrers to our website, with a visit length of 3-5 times the length of any other referrer. The pages that were most visited were our product and opportunity pages.
- I enhanced my professional profile on LinkedIn, since I was going to begin actively using it. I joined groups on LinkedIn that were relevant to my industry.
- In January 2009, I began this blog. I researched on the web the discussions going on about social media and direct sales (there isn’t much, unfortunately) and began to add my voice to the discussion. I published all posts to my LinkedIn profile, to my Facebook profile, and to LinkedIn groups that I had joined that were relevant to the direct sales industry. People began commenting on my blog posts, as well as in the LinkedIn groups. I have tried to personally respond to all commentors, in order to continue to develop the relationship.
- I joined Twitter, and began to try to figure out the tool. I observed more than I posted at first, in order to understand the cadence and the unspoken rules, and slowly began to add to the discussion. I searched for direct sellers and began following them. Many began following me back. I also began to follow giants in the social media world, so I could learn from them. All the while, I tried to add my thoughts about direct selling and social media, as well as helping out people in any ways I could, with all of my knowledge, whether related to direct sales/social media or not. I quickly learned that even with the little I know, I know more than some others about certain things, and so I am generous in my sharing of information. I also take the time to read the profiles and personally respond to those people that begin to follow me. It helps me to better understand what will help my followers.
As a result of this strategy, I have had the great pleasure of connecting with many well-respected leaders in my field, and have helped many people with their businesses. I am learning a GREAT deal, and believe that I am helping to lead my industry into its future with social media marketing. For me, this is greatly satisfying.
I share this strategy with you today because I think it’s important to really think through what you want to project, in order to make the most effective use of social media tools. I am learning everyday how to do this better, and I think that the leaders in social media marketing are constant students. Social media is a great big networking pool, and when you jump in with just a little bit of preparation, you will develop relationships that are beneficial, and that enable a flow of information that positions you as a giver as well as a receiver.
Has this post helped you? I would love to hear how it has, and also how you have crafted your own social media strategy. Let’s learn from each other!