The time has finally come. You have your plans, objectives, budget and even a social media manager to help you. Social media is your name and your game with a goal of integration and pastures of happy Twitter followers and Facebook fans. If you are lucky you might even end up with a happy boss and delighted shareholders.
However, there is one thing keeping you up at night. You can't quit thinking “how the heck is anyone going to know I exist? How will I stand above the crowd, the millions of other Twitter followers and Facebookers?”
First of all, you don't need to stand above the millions. What's more important is that you are relevant and able to connect with the right people who will help you zoom your business and your life.
For the sake of this post we are assuming your social media plan and integrated and supporting part of your overall business and marketing plan. If not, I have several planning articles on my blog to help you with such.
10 tips to stand above the crowd & become more relevant!
1. Be Consistent. Consistency is often overlooked in social media. People think they can be different people on Facebook than they can on Twitter for example. There is only one you, one brand be that person. Yes, you may have different tones, different emotions and different ways you connect with people. However, at the core your brand identity should be the same. From how you speak, engage, follow-up, answer the phone to the colors on your website, Facebook page and Twitter background.
2. Be relevant. Nobody is going to listen to you nor care what you have to say if what you talk about doesn't matter to them. It's no different than a face to face networking party. Would you stand and talk with a boring, self centered and self promoting individual the entire hour of a networking party? Nope! Your Facebook fans, Twitter followers and other social network friends will feel the same way.
3. Engage. Don't just send auto tweets and auto Facebook posts with boring links back to your website. Engage in educational, fun, inspirational and real conversations. This means you do more than listen. You need to comment, tweet, respond, and post. Bottom line, engage in a conversation with a real person. “Engage or Die” are the words of one of my favorite business and marketing thought leaders, Brian Solis. Check out his book, Engage if you are feeling left out of the engaging world!
4. Invest in people, not just promotion. Take the time to get to know the people in your online and offline communities. Truly invest your mind, your heart and yourself in the lives of others. Get to know the people behind the avatar profile pictures. Make it a goal to learn what makes them tick. What keeps them up at night? How can you help them professionally and personally? How does your service or product make them feel? Get in their head and heart and they'll want to know more about you too.
5. Your brand matters. You have one time to make a first impression. Don't send everyone you know to your Facebook page before you have a profile badge loaded. Yes, invite your warm circle of family and close friends. However, don't invite the world as the missed opportunity of grabbing their hearts and minds with a first impression is greater than losing a couple days. I see many business leaders send out Facebook invites prematurely to wider audiences than I would recommend. Usually they do such so they can get to the magic 25 fans and pick a vanity name for their business page. I highly recommend not doing such too soon.
6. You need visibility. If all you do is post to your own Facebook page, Twitter profile & LinkedIn and nobody is part of your community yet you are not going to be very visible. You need to first invest in the lives of others. You need to spend time in the communities where your customers, partners, prospects and friend have conversation online. The more you can be part of the conversation, share yourself and knowledge the more visible you are going to be.
7. Engage at home base. Your home base platform of choice such as a website or blog must not be stuck in the 1990's. This is where many businesses fall down in regard to consistency. Don't build out a rockin' social platform on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. and forget your own real estate at home base. Look behind the black curtain of any agency, consultant or person you hire to help you with digital assets. Check if they're engaging effectively online themselves. Do they have conversation happening on their own Facebook page and Twitter streams? If they can't make it work for themselves chances are slim to none they'll how to help you when the rubber engages at zoom speed with the social road.
8. Integrate or resuscitate. It's your choice. You can choose to integrate or pay the price later. I have seen numerous businesses jump on the social train with no plan thinking they can Facebook and Twitter their way to social media success. Sorry folks, it's not going to happen. The only way you are going to stand above the crowd and become relevant with your audience is if you have something to offer them after the double click. It's what happens after the like that matters most. Integrate your social media efforts with the goals and objectives of your business. If not, you are guaranteed to pay the price.
9. Strive for good, even real good, but not perfection. Perfection is the enemy of good. If you wait for perfection in the online world you will fail. Focus on being good, real good. Agility is the name of the social game. The better you can respond to changes in the ecosystem the more benefits you will see.
10. Be confident. Don't hide behind the avatar. Be proud of your brand, your presence and yourself. If you don't believe in yourself nobody else will either. Be the person you want to be tomorrow today! You can do it!
Where do you stand?
What are your thoughts? Do you feel like you are stuck in a sea of tweets, Facebook posts and nobody sees you? What attracts you to other brands? What tips can you offer others? What helped you when you were new to social media?