Social Media? Oh crap, are you still here?!? I thought we agreed. You would make a splashy entrance, I would be one of the first to dip my toe into your choppy waters, and then you would be on your way, leaving me to get back to my real networking tools; phone calls, postcards and palm-pressing parties. Clearly, you did not get the memo. What is that, your suitcase? *sigh* I guess you’re here to stay.
I did jump into Social Media early… I had a “My Space” Page… ’nuff said. And it has been a bumpy ride – The whole Private Message vs. Wall Posting thing really threw me… and provided many opportunities to practice diplomacy. Social Media has changed the game when it comes to keeping in touch with old friends, and finding new ones who share your interests. It also has become a powerful tool in business development. Just like drinking water and eating vegetables, you may not perish without, but your business will be a lot healthier and happier if it is part of your daily diet!
As a National Public Speaker and Writer, I work from home. And while my usual business attire comprised of yoga pants is nice, it can be isolating. With Social Media, I can take a break and instantly feel connected to the outside world as well as my “tribe.” The downside, of course, is if I fall into The Wormhole and “wake up” two hours later having achieved nothing more than a cyber-stalking session of all my old crushes. C’mon… you’ve done it.
So, how do we navigate the world of Social Media without sacrificing our precious time and energy? Here is your easy-peasy guide to getting on board the Social Media Train, without derailing your day.
SOCIAL STARTER: 1. Sign up for a Facebook Page. This is one of the easiest and most user-friendly Social Media sites out there. You will be amazed at how quickly you will find friends, fans and future clients. At this level, just get your profile photo uploaded and have a look around at what everyone is up to. After a while, comment after someone else’s post, “like” a few, and when you feel ready, go ahead and let the world know what’s new with your business, what’s on sale at your shop this week, or how excited you are for the new season of SMASH (oh wait, that’s me.)
NOTE: Make sure to enter your birthdate in your profile – getting all those messages is just the BEST.
Time Saving Tip: Post two times per day; Beginning of workday (for daily news or specials) and End of workday (for tomorrow’s news or specials). Read and respond to all your posts after the end of your workday ONLY.
SOCIAL SURFER: 2. You are up and riding the Social waves, updating your status and posting photos. It’s time to Twitter, Baby! For your Twitter Handle (Name) choose your name or the name of your business. This way people can find you easily. Search for your friends and fans and follow them – also follow back anyone who follows you (first check they are a real person and not a SpamBot). A Hashtag (#) is like a clubhouse people build to hang out with others who are interested in the same event or topic. For instance the Young Professionals Conference this year could be #YP13. For a smile, check out tags like #happy.
NOTE: Everything you EVER Tweet is recorded in the Library of Congress, and ANYONE can read what you Tweet even if they are not following you. Tweeting is like changing into your bathing suit in the middle of a crowded beach – It’s fun to go swimming, but you want to make sure you feel comfortable about what people might see.
Time Saving Tip: Post two times per day; Beginning of workday and Middle of workday. Have one person in your business responsible for checking your Twitter account five times per day – and respond immediately to any client questions or comments.
SOCIAL SMOOTHIE: 3. You are now ready for LinkedIn. The magic of this Social Media tool is that you can belong to groups that are related to or interested in you and your business. You can also ask your connections for references and use those as testimonials other places in your marketing.
Time Saving Tip: Join and post to many groups that share similar interests as your business, however, do not have the General Post Feed from these sites linked to your email in-box.
Remember as you journey though the world of technology and Social Media, in order to get through the awkward start-up phase, you just have to go through it. Everyone feels a bit wonky the first time they use a new technology – but through a little trial and error, you will be up and running in no time. Time Saving Tip: Find the nearest 14-year-old and ask them to help you – offer them a visit to Pinkberry or iTunes credit as a bribe.
The most important thing to remember about every Social Media interaction is that it only works if you engage with people. Don’t think “sell”, think “give things away”. Make what you post meaningful. Here is a sure-fire Social Media Success Formula – ask yourself if your post is at least three of these things: Helpful, Useful, Informative, Relevant, Practical, Actionable, Timely, Generous, Credible, Brief, Entertaining, Fun, Occasionally funny.
So get off the shore and jump on in. It’s really not that scary and you might find you even “Like” it. See you on line!
Editors Note: Tami Evans is a Speaker, Writer and Recovering People Pleaser. Visit her Social Media-ly at:
www.Facebook.com/Tami Evans Speaker, www.Twitter.com/_Tami_Evans, www.LinkedIn.com/in/TamiEvansSpeaker.
She’s happy to help with any Social Media questions… no frozen yogurt required!