Congratulations, you made it! Here we are at the end of this short but very important journey in increasing your online credibility and reach in the new frontier of social media.
I hope that you have learned a few things along the way at least, and I know that if you have been practicing what I’ve been preaching that you are well on your way to expanding your business.
While many of the tips I have given you are very specific, these last two are more of a big picture overview. Once you have the details of the other tips in place, these will ensure that you have a consistent voice and that you don’t slack up in the future. Let’s finish this strong!
7. May the Circle be Unbroken
You need to be on more than one social site. If you don’t have a website of your own, get one now. You don’t have to spend a fortune hiring web design experts or hosting services.
If you’re on a tight budget or bootstrapping your startup, you can use a service like Yola, Squarespace, WordPress or Blogger. Some of these will offer hosting services as well (a home or parking space for your domain name). You should spend the small amount that it costs to register a domain name, or even more than one. It looks more professional and the costs are minimal.
In addition to your website, you need a blog (a blog counts as a social site, and should be treated the same way when it comes to moderation and responses). This can be a page on your site, but I recommend having a separate site for it. That way your site can link to your blog and vice versa. Links, and the resulting traffic from readers clicking on them, will make the search engines happy with you and bring your sites to the forefront of search results much better and faster than a single site.
Which leads nicely into the next point. A site and a blog are necessary, but they don’t take the place of other social media sites. I recommend having a presence on Facebook and Twitter if nothing else. That was and, not or. At the very least you need to maintain a website, a blog, a Facebook account, and a Twitter account. IMHO (in my humble opinion – remember the tip on acronyms?), Google+ is also indispensable, and Pinterest should be leveraged if at all possible.
You can add many other sites if you like, and the more you can handle effectively, the better (tip 8 is coming, don’t worry). Once you have them established, you want to make absolutely sure of two things:
First, every site where you have an online presence should have a link to all of your other sites, and they should be easy to find. They can be under your “contact us” section, like on our site, or you can have buttons on the page that displayed even more prominently. On your Facebook, Twitter, or other social sites they should also be prominent in your profile section. Browse other sites to see what they have done and find what style works best for your company.
Second, your many sites should be consistent when it comes to your voice. If someone gets a different idea about you (or your products and services) when they visit different sites, it will be confusing at least and give them pause about your credibility at worst. You are one company, not four or five.
8. It’s Not a Hobby
Drum roll, please. You want a tip for social media success? Here it is, the fabled tip 8. Ready?
DO EVERY TIP YOU’VE READ BEFORE THIS – EVERY DAY, EVERY WEEK, EVERY MONTH, UNTIL YOU DROP. Clear enough?
To paraphrase the great Winston Churchill, never, never, never quit. This is your business, not something you play around with in your spare time. Take it seriously, because it is serious. Social media is every bit as important as any other aspect of your business, and you need to treat it that way.
So how do you make the time to put in the effort necessary to do this properly and effectively? I have two answers for you (no surprise there).
If you have the financial means, I highly recommend hiring a full-time social media manager for your company. You’ll be ahead of the curve, since this will be the norm for businesses very soon, and already is for those who are forward-looking. If they need to have additional responsibilities for now to justify the cost, so be it.
Make it a goal for this year if nothing else. Next year is too late. And please, please, please don’t just assign this to your HR person or your sales manager. You might as well let your janitor handle it.
Finally, invest in social media management software. This is a business expense that you can afford now, no matter how bootstrapped you are. The time you will save and the amazing things that you can do with it will be worth far more than you will spend. If you want a less biased opinion on the software I’ve linked to, read this article by comedian Max Goldberg.
Now, Do It!
You’ve just been given 8 tips that will literally transform your business for the better, but only if you put them into practice. You can mull them over, put them off, or dismiss them if you like. No one will force you or yell at you. Rest assured that you will be putting your long-term success in peril if you do, but it’s your choice. I don’t claim to have been the originator of all of these ideas, I’m just a half-decent communicator who has done his homework. I offer them to you because I really do want you to succeed.
It’s been fun writing this for you, and I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed reading it. I will leave you with a final thought that applies to social media and to life in general. I’m making it my mantra for 2013.
Serve others with no expectation of reciprocation. It will always come back around, I promise.