10 Steps for Self-Sufficiency:
- Start small – with one, maybe two platforms at most. If you’ve already started a presence on several platforms shut down what you’re not using. As a small business, when in doubt, start with LinkedIn.
- Determine clear goals. For example: I want to use a Facebook Page to drive traffic to my website; I want to use my LinkedIn Profile to stay in touch with my clients so that even if they change companies, or their email address changes, I can still get in touch with them.
- Determine, as specifically as possible, who you want your target audience to be.
- Map out some demographic information about that target audience: age, race, education, income, etc.
- Do research based on this demographic information about which platforms this target audience uses. I suggest conducting this research at the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
- Plan to spend at least one hour a week on your social media presence (if you’re only managing one platform). If you’re new to this and will need to spend a lot of time learning as well as developing a system for tracking down content to post, plan on two hours. If you don’t have this kind of time, either scale down what you plan to do, or bring someone in to help you.
- Use a free application like Hootsuiteto help you manage your presence by scheduling out posts. Note: I don’t recommend scheduling out posts for a Facebook Page using Hootsuite. I suggest you do this within Facebook itself. Here’s a great resource on how to do this – http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/facebook-scheduled-posts/
- In general, try and make posts between 1-4pm. For more information on when to make posts check out this Bitly blog post.
- Plan to post about 5 times a week. A great way to track down content to post on social media is to set up a Google Alert.
- Be interesting and engaging. Throw out your sense of caution and be fun, casual, and informal. People want to know the authentic you on social media so let your personality shine through! One of the Facebook Pages I like a lot is Darigold because it reminds me of how being silly and fun can be successful.
My favorite resources:
- Social Media Examiner – great resources specifically for small businesses
- Social Media Today – good, short blog posts with great tips
- Mashable – all the most up to date news about social media, and some other fun techy stuff too
- Social Mouths – a little more advanced, but has some good intro articles and great infographics
Free Beginner’s Guides:
- Getting Started with Social Media: A Resource Guide – http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/getting-started/
- Mashable Social Media Beginners Guide –
- 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report –http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/report/
Creating and managing a successful social media presence is free, but it takes time and energy. To be successful be realistic with yourself about how much time it will take and then set aside that time intentionally and you’ll be able to reach your wildest social media dreams! And when in doubt, do a Google search. The secret to my genius is captured in this delightful comic from xkcd: http://xkcd.com/627/
Download this resource as a pdf file: Build Social’s Guide to Social Media Self Sufficiency.