Tips on "getting started" in social media

I had the pleasure of speaking on “Leveraging the Power of Social Media” to a group at the First Coast Apartment Association in Jacksonville, Florida last week – with a great deal of very lively discussion – and wanted to share some of the tips that seemed to be valuable for the attendees just starting to dip their toes into social media waters . . .

1) State your brand story before getting started

a) Who are you?

b) What makes your company or product special?

c) What do your customers love about you?

d) Consider developing a mission statement

Defining your brand will help guide you through “set-up” of your social media presence

2) Create a content plan

a) Find relevant items that will be interesting to your audience

b) Decide who will be responsible for finding and posting this content

c) Create a schedule for how often and when content will be posted (at least 3 – 4 times per week)

d) Decide who will be responsible for reading and responding to comments

Content will be the key determining factor in how much engagement you create among your target audience

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3) Select the appropriate social media platforms

a) There’s really only one critical question . . . where are you customers and prospects interacting?

Whether it’s facebook, YouTube, a blog, twitter, Linkedin, Plaxo or other platforms, focus on a very few and invest your time there

4) Connect!

a) Get the word out to customers, prospects, friends, business associates, industry associations and affinity organizations

b) Utilize everything at your disposal to market your platforms and invite people to connect (e-mail databases, word-of-mouth, traditional marketing)

c) Place links to your social networking sites on your traditional website and blog

d) Include invitations to join in your e-mail and written correspondence

e) Ask your members to invite others

More connections = More potential!

5) Engage your audience!

a) Post great articles, photos and videos that can be linked and shared

b) Solicit comments and feedback, and always respond and thank individuals for participating

c) Listen, listen, listen — you’ll learn so much about what your customers and prospects want and need

d) Utilize comments – positive and negative – as an opportunity to respond publicly and shape opinion about your product, service or organization