How much time should you put into social media? Some people believe just a few minutes a week is enough, while others believe it should comprise of the majority of your time. The reality is somewhere in between.
Social media today is an integral part of any successful business. Almost everyone is on these networks, from your partners to your readers to your vendors to your clients. That said, there’s still only so much you can do every day on social media.
Approach social media with an 80/20 mindset. Of course it’s possible to spend 8 hours a day on social media. But chances are, in about an hour you’ll have connected with the most important contacts and said everything you have to say.
After the first hour, you’re more or less just spending time doing things that may or may not have much of an impact on your bottom line. Instead of doing this, it’s best to just commit to spending one hour a day on social media.
This consistent attention will allow you to make connections with all the most important people, while spending the rest of your time on the rest of your business.
Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy is About Cultivating Relationships
Don’t think of social media like TV advertising. With TV advertising, your goal is to “touch” as many people as you can. Each person might not know much about you or your brand, but you’re okay with that. You just want to make a small impression on them.
Social media Marketing is different. Think of social media like a business mingler. There are a lot of people there and you might shake hands with a large number of people.
At the end of the day however, you have to pick and choose just a few people to get to know better. These people could turn out to be customers, they could turn out to be joint venture partners, they could turn out to be mentors.
On social media, it’s simply unrealistic to get to know everyone who’s following you. However, you can and should pick a few high impact people to develop connections with. Exchanging a message or two a day is quick and easy, but can result in powerful business connections down the line.
Schedule it in – It’s Not Optional
A lot of people treat social media for business as an optional activity. After all, browsing Facebook and Twitter can seem like a trivial activity on the surface.
It’s not. It’s a crucial business networking tactic that simply cannot be ignored. And unlike other marketing tactics, you can’t makeup for it by stuffing in more time later.
Spending 7 hours one day on social media is not the same thing as spending 1 hour a day on social media. You can’t have conversations in a day, you can’t develop relationships in bulk and you can’t stay in touch all at once.
Instead, it’s something that has to be done every day. So schedule it into your daily schedule, just as you would any other important business task. Social media marketing isn’t something that can be neglected. If something comes up, move it to another time, but never skip it.
Social media today is crowded. Incredibly crowded. In order for you to stand out, you need to create something truly unique. Something that people will look at and think “wow, that’s special.”
How do you make your Facebook page stand out? How do you make it look different than all the other Facebook pages out there? Here are the five top ways.
1. Claim Your Facebook URL
Having a custom Facebook URL makes your brand look more professional. It’s better for search engine listings, it looks better on marketing materials and it’s easier for people to pass along.
If you have a custom Facebook URL, you’re much more likely to get referenced to on internet forums and blogs as well.
Claiming a Facebook URL takes less than 15 minutes and should be the first step of any Facebook page you’re serious about.
2. High Quality, Custom Page Photograph
Your page profile photo has a huge impact on your page’s first impression. It’s one of the most prominent graphical areas of the profile page.
Your photo should be crisp, it should stand out and it should appear highly professional. It should be related to your brand in some way, but ideally should be more than just your logo.
If you’re not a professional graphic designer, try to talk to one and have them work up something that’ll really shine.
3. Create a Strong Landing Page
Facebook has what’s called a “Welcome tab,” a page that first time visitors see when they come to your page. This page should be carefully designed to craft a powerful user experience.
Your welcome tab page should clearly communicate what your page or your brand has to offer. It should have a compelling headline that catches attention while the rest of the body copy should try and get them to “Like” the page.
The welcome page needs to serve two functions: Presenting a strong brand image for your company, and getting people to like your page.
In the social sphere, if you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything. You can have all your logos in the right place, all your design elements aligned and all your social media “techniques” in place and you still won’t get the kind of following and sharing that you really need to promote your brand.
To succeed in the social sphere, you need to get people to trust you. Trust is what makes people feel safe about giving you their credit cards. It’s what makes people feel safe referring their friends to you.
So how do you establish social media trust? Here are 10 tips to help.
1. Use Graphical Trust Builders
Use a few select graphics that help build your social media trustworthiness.
Some of the best graphics are media appearances, like radio or TV logos. If you’ve been on ABC news for example, put an “As Seen On ABC News” logo on your page.
Other examples of graphical trust factors include before and after photos, as well as testimonials with a person’s picture next to it.
2. Increase Social Proof
Social proof is the idea that people are more likely to do business with you if they know others are also doing the same. They’re more likely to like you if a lot of other people have already liked you.
3. Build Strong Real Life Relationships
Real life relationships are the lifeblood of your social media. It might seem counter intuitive that your online contacts are dependent on your offline contacts. But it’s true.
Even among a follower base of 100,000, you’ll have a core group of just a few hundred people who are true cheerleaders and champions for your brand. Among those people you’ll find that many of them are people you know in real life, or are people who know people you know in real life.
Strong in person relationships build the backbone of any online community. Don’t neglect them just because you went “Web 2.0.”
4. Be Consistent With Your Online & Offline Message
Don’t use the internet as an excuse to veer from your message, your values or your business practices.
Your social message should match your offline message. Your branding should be the same and the way you treat your customers should be the same. Otherwise you’re sending mixed signals and endangering your brand.
5. Be What You Preach
If you’re an SEO expert, you should be highly ranked. If you’re a graphic designer, you should have a well designed website and Facebook page.
You should be what you preach, both online and offline. Social media users are very wary of people who say one thing then do another. Make sure your image is consistent with what you advocate and want to be known for.
Since Google+ first garnered its 20 million users in record time, it has very quickly dropped out of the spotlight. Today, over 80% of its profiles are inactive, meaning most users who signed on to Google+ no longer really use the site. Many speculate that Google+ is by and large dead.
That isn’t true. Google+ was launched as a hard shot at Facebook and social media in general. That shot clearly missed. Few people would dispute that.
However, as a social network, Google+ is still very much alive. It has a core group of users that still use the network religiously. Google is using its +1 feature more and more to gauge the quality of websites, which influences search rankings.
Google+ isn’t dead; it’s simply misunderstood. People are still comparing it to Facebook, which isn’t a good comparison. Instead, it’s a completely different social network altogether.
Users Make the Network What it is
Social network programmers don’t always get to determine what the social network’s eventual goal is.
LinkedIn wasn’t originally built as a social network. It was meant more as a profile viewing tool for professional connections. However, as the social networking field exploded, LinkedIn had to adapt and added many of its social networking features.
MySpace wasn’t built as a music platform. But as Facebook overtook MySpace as a generic social media platform, MySpace had to adapt. Today MySpace is still fairly successful as a platform for musicians to showcase their music and connect with fans.
Orkut was launched as a generic social network, but quickly died off due to lack of hardware and engineers. However, for some reason it really took off in Brazil. Today it’s the largest social network in Brazil, something Orkut’s creators would have never expected.
The bottom line is, the creators of a social network often don’t have much of a say in what the network eventually becomes. No doubt Google+ was designed to overtake Facebook as a generic social network. That hasn’t happened and probably won’t happen. But it’s shaping up to be something very different entirely.