You Must Be Present to Win

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To borrow a phrase from raffles across the world…you must be present to win. This is the rule for winning competing in the social media sphere. The old Ron Popeil tagline of “Set it and forget it” doesn’t suffice in the new social space.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even your corporate or personal blog are strategies not solutions I’m afraid too many people still view social media tools as one-and-done answer rather than just a piece of the entire puzzle.

But Wait…There’s More!

I had a conversation with a colleague the other day about how to best promote the current project he is working on. In keeping with my view of things I suggested a strategy that involved using a corporate blog to position himself as an expert in the field. His response was that it wasn’t possible to establish a voice amongst all the other experts in the field and all the other noise on the Internet.

My answer: Bullshit!

It Takes Work

If all you do is create a blog and never post, then yes…your voice will get lost. If all you do is create a new Twitter account, Facebook page or Google+ Business page and never participate, then yes…you’ll drown in the noise. But if you’re willing to put in some time and effort, you can succeed.

Some time ago I put together a social media strategy for a client I was working for. Below is a modified version of that strategy that can be used by any small business or person looking to establish a social media footprint. I’m happy to share this with you.

A Social Media Strategy

  1. Determine Your Goal(s)
    • Create awareness about company project/services?
    • Solicit new business?
    • Attract new talent/employees?
    • Engage community?
  2. Assign one person in the organization to be responsible for maintaining the social media efforts. Make adding updates and maintaining social a part of that person’s job responsibilities but be careful not to assign success metrics as a function of job performance (i.e. person should not get in trouble if Page does not have 5,000 ‘likes’ in 3 months)
  3. Give person executive sponsor (a person in management that supports the cause). All questions regarding propriety and permissions should be directed to executive sponsor.
  4. Create posting schedule and stick to it. For example, at least two updates a week.
  5. Updates should be 90% sharing/caring and 10% self-promotion
  6. Mix up content types. Content types are:
    • “How-To” articles (related to industry technologies)
    • News articles (about industry topics/trends…NOT the company)
    • Opinion articles (about industry news, regulations, new technologies…)
    • Review articles (about new technologies or products)
    • List Posts (i.e 10 ways to… or 7 tricks to…)
    • Interview Posts (video, audio or transcribed)
    • Other multimedia (related YouTube videos or relevant podcasts)
  7. Create an update schedule. Using the 7 content types above, take a few hours one day to think about 4 possible articles for each content type (for example, 4 “how-to” articles, 4 people to interview, 4 products or technologies to review, etc.) Doing this will result in 28 article ideas. If posting twice a week this will be enough content for over 3 months (14 weeks)
  8. Company content updates are:
    • Job postings (posted as often as necessary)
    • Company related news (only 10% of updates should be company news)
  9. Original articles should be written and hosted on company website/blog. Updates should be posted on third party social media sites and linked back to article source on company site.
  10. Articles should be written for different audiences (i.e. more technical for business-to-business or less technical for business-to-consumer)
  11. Encourage employees, vendors and customers to ‘like’, ‘retweet’, ‘add to circles’ etc.
  12. Integrate social buttons on website for sharing and data-tracking.

Now What?

Here’s the blueprint..get to work. No more excuses. The lesson here is that social media takes work but it produces results. You can’t dial it in. You can’t set it and forget it. You must be present to win.

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