Friday, May 28, 2010

Recipe for Social Media Success

It may be a far stretch to think that there is one recipe for everyone to get great results with Social Media, but like your Great Auntie’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, if you follow the directions you will not be disappointed. I am not saying that there is an exact science to Social Media but I guarantee there are certain ingredients that will make it taste good!

·         Goals
·         Participants
·         Usage
·         Design
·         Content
·         Best practices
·         Maintenance
·         Promotion
1.     Start with a clear statement of goals. Are you looking to connect with others, drive traffic to website, search engine optimization? Determine key metrics BEFORE you get started. Pick three solid metrics to track i.e. Web/Blog traffic, SEO Ranking, Amount of Targeted Followers in certain time, Sales conversions.
2.     Before you begin, worry about social media tools last, not first - tools will change (remember AOL? Yahoo? MySpace.) If you have a solid strategy for who you are trying to reach it will translate across all platforms.
3.     Understand how your target audience uses Social Media (by gender, age, geography, etc) Are they on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Blogging, YouTube, LinkedIn? You need to be where they are.
4.     Interesting bio-this is your headline and might be your only chance to catch someone’s attention. Include your website/blog URL-this SHOULD be a no-brainer but you would be surprised!
Use a great picture-candid, if you have to use logo make sure it is clear as well.
Change the background-nothing says I don’t care more than the default background. Here is a great place for you to incorporate your logo or things you are interested in.
5.     Just like your Personality, your Socialality should reflect you or your brands unique attributes including behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental that give you character! Are you Sassy, Entertaining, Educational, Motivational? Remember that content is King, without the value to the audience, you will get the inevitable "so what?“ Figure out how you will connect to others? If you’re a small company this will be easy. If you’re a big company, how can you act small? Learn how to speak WITH people not AT them.
6.     Determine what best practices make sense for your audience. You know what is appropriate. I think we all can agree that bathroom trips and daily meals are passé. We have all also seen the results of “under the influence” posts. Amount times to post or tweet is determined by your goals. There are varying opinions on this.
7.     Maintenance-you will have to devote time to optimization; if you want results-start with 30 minutes a day!  Post in the morning and then check in the evening. These are also the highest usage times of the day, early morning and early evening.
8.     Promote Twitter on  Facebook, Facebook on your blog, YouTube on Twitter, etc. Add Social Media Platforms Participation links to Business cards, letterhead, vehicle wrap, Broadcast and Print Media. Consistently talk about it when you are out in public. You can even add a Social Media Applications to your cell phone. Try running Social Media-only promotional offers and place a deadline on it and be sure to track the sales.

Nutritional Information 
It should not leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth that you use Social Media to sell yourself or your product-we all have to pay bills. There are just ways to make it natural, meaning suggest don't tell!  

A Social Media plan should mirror your marketing plan, compliment your traditional media goals and engage consumers while providing meaningful, relevant and personalized content direct to your consumer!  Once you have identified your purpose you will have a clear strategy direction for Social Media optimization.  Try not to over think but do act with purpose!

Social Media is perfect for anyone who wants to control their brand’s message or create a network of support and be heard by thousands of targeted individuals with potential to reach millions.
If you are not utilizing Social Media to its full extent you are missing the opportunity to grow your brand unlike any other way!

Jessica Northey is FULL THROTTLE COUNTRY'SSocial Media Maven and Associate Editor. Jessica runs her own social media business: Finger Candy Media LLC. She writes and edits her own Friday feature on FTC devoted to Social Media and Country Music Radio: FINGER CANDY FRIDAY. Jessica has over 20 years experience in media sales and marketing. 

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