I just finished my talk to the Social Media Conference NW attendees on practical strategies for fitting social media into your life if you’re a busy parent, entrepreneur or student. It all boils down to having a plan. These are my SACRED rules for social media engagement (based on the school of hard knocks and learning from some great teachers along the way):
Strategy – This is the most important rule. Before jumping into social media, it’s important to look at all the social media options out there and decide where to best focus your attention and energy. At Bramble Berry, our five pillars for social media are our YouTube channel, our Teach Soap instructional forum, our blog, Twitter and our Facebook Fan page. While we have a small presence on several other social media outlets, we put the bulk of our efforts into our top five prospects because that’s where we’ve determined more of our customers and potential customers are most likely to interact with us on.
Note: Since this blog post was written, we’ve added our Tumblr page, Instagram, Google+ page and commenting on other blogs as part of our efforts to be in our amazing soaping community.
Authenticity – Social media platforms are all about engagement and to engage, you’ve got to be yourself. It’s like when you go to a business meeting. You dress up. You put your best foot forward but your personality will eventually shine through, no matter who slicked back your hair is and how buttoned up your outfit. After you’ve figured out what your strategy is around social media, say it with your voice, your personality. Be authentic. People can smell fakes a mile away. People crave authentic connection so be real, be yourself, and don’t be fake.
Content – This dovetails with strategy. I developed a simple formula for Bramble Berry for how I wanted my blog and twitter stream to work. For example, my blog is 50% product and project related, 25% personal and 25% business advice. Once you figure out what mediums to engage in, the next step is determine what you are going to say. And different mediums have different levels of engagement and messages. For example, I can tweet 12 times a day easily but if I updated my Facebook account that much, I’d be overwhelming people for sure.
Routine – Like raising children, consistency is everything with social media platforms. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to tweet 1 time per day and blog 1 time per week. Do it faithfully, week in and week out. Small amounts of consistent effort produce regular readers, fans and customers.
Etiquette – This is the internet. It lives forever. Don’t tweet about inside jokes. Don’t use slang. Refrain from LOL language. You want every single person, no matter how ‘in the know’, to read your streams and understand them No swearing. No drunk tweeting. Don’t get in fights over the internet. It’s not worth it.
Dialogue – Remember, this is a conversation. This is you enjoying talking to people, sharing what you’re an expert in and hoping that they want to talk to you in return. It’s you monitoring the conversation through BufferApp and Google Alerts and responding back as well as you proactively seeking out customer’s blogs and other industry blogs to read and comment on.
Whatever you’re doing, at whatever stage, just add one more tweet, blog or an additional medium to your social media repertoire. Keep it consistent and you’ll be amazed at how your traffic and traction grows over the next year.