Last summer I put this list together to help some of my friends who needed to market their services. It boils the process of getting started with social media marketing down to 30 steps.
A couple of friends who have been hit hard by the economy have sought my help in building an effective strategy for marketing their services online. Working to educate and get them started, helped me to identify the most necessary elements to focus on in the beginning.
Here is a list of steps I recommend to help focus your efforts:
- Determine your potential clients or customers.
- Search for them on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Identify and learn the vocabulary they use.
- Identify what they are talking about. What are their concerns and interests?
- Identify where they are talking. Is it a LinkedIn discussion group? A private listserv?
- Follow blogs, publications and articles they share. This will inform and give you quality links that you can share with them on social media.
- Identify the best keywords to describe the service or product you offer. Use Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find the ones with the least competition and the most searches.
- Build your social media profiles, blog and website with the information you gain in mind.
- ENGAGE – Interact, chat and connect with potential clients where they are.
- INFORM – Share information that is interesting & useful to potential clients.
- RE-TWEET – Promote others by sharing useful information while giving credit to the original source.
- Consistently implement your social media strategy but in a way that is mindful of how people are using each platform (12 posts in a day on LinkedIn would be excessive, on Twitter it would not.)
- Employ tools, such as HootSuite, Buffer or TweetDeck, that make the process quicker and easier.
- Create your own QUALITY content on your website (such as a blog) and share it consistently.
- Optimize your website for social media sharing.
- Employ effective SEO practices on your website and adjust to Google algorithm updates
- Promote others through recommendations, reviews, etc.
- Comment on other blogs in your business niche. (Not necessarily your competitors but peers, industry influencers and/or friends.) This will add backlinks and contribute to SEO.
- Guest post on other blogs for exposure to new readers. This also contributes to SEO by adding backlinks.
- Comment on Facebook posts in your business niche.
- Introduce people via email, social media or in person. Helping others and being known as a connector helps to build your reputation.
- Join in on conversations such as Twitter chats or LinkedIn discussions.
- Volunteer to moderate chats and/or discussion groups. This gives you more exposure and helps you become known as a thought leader in your field.
- Make use of analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Alexa and adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Look for opportunities to collaborate and use tools such as Skype or Basecamp that make it easier.
- Continuously learn about and implement new ideas & tools in your social media strategy and in your business.
- Take your online friendships offline, particularly when many are gathered at tweet-ups or conferences.
- Be patient. Success will not happen overnight. It usually takes many months before you start to see the kinds of results you are seeking.
- Be consistent. People will only learn to trust you when they see a serious commitment and consistent presence on social media.
- Have fun.
Step number 30 may actually be the MOST important step in the process. If you enjoy what you are learning and trying you will continue on your path to success. But if you take things too seriously and don’t accept that you will make mistakes along the way, your actions will not be easy or smooth and it will be difficult for people to connect with you.
You don’t have to know everything or be perfect as a social media marketer. You just have to be honest, open, friendly and genuinely interested in others. Your fallibility can actually be an advantage if you embrace it and honestly seek to improve.
Remember, above all else, social media marketing is about building relationships. So be yourself, but always be that self that is kind, considerate and thinks the best of others. Such an attitude will only benefit you in your social media marketing efforts.
(Photo by Caitlinator)