When working with clients who are new to social media I take them through a process to get them started which I call F.I.L.M. Every piece of educational content should have an acronym should it? It’s the unwritten rule!
I believe this is a simple process which anyone can use to get started with their strategy and have explained more below, but before you start scheming and implementing you should ask yourself two questions
1) What are your objectives? – It amazes me how many people start creating profiles on sites without thinking through what they hope to achieve first. Not everyone will have the same objectives, for example I recently worked with someone who is market leader in their industry, highly specialist and already dealt with every potential client world wide possible. So their objective wasn’t about finding new customers which I suspect is one for almost everyone reading this. For them it was about keeping front of mind, developing PR opportunities and sharing the stories from their hospitality events which they do to keep relationships strong with their customers.
Potential objectives for you could include;
- Generating leads
- Growing your network
- PR opportunities
- Increasing website traffic
- Improving your score on Klout
- Being more accessible to customers
- Improving search engine visibility
- Demonstrating expertise and thought leadership
- Expanding into new territories/industries
- Etc etc
Whatever your objectives, think carefully. You may like to start with just one or two if your time is limited.
2) Identify the best sites to achieve your objectives! I know some clients who thought they had to have a presence on as many sites as possible and all they did was create work for themselves. The biggest investment with Social media is your time, which is limited. Only when you have thought through your objectives can you start to identify where you should concentrate your efforts.
For example if thought leadership is one of your objectives and your audience business then you should maybe consider blogging, LinkedIn, twitter & Quora to name a few. If being accessible to customers is an objective & they are a consumers audience then Facebook & twitter maybe your best options.
My suggestion is to initially identify a few sites and do them well! If you take several days to answer a question you are probably spread too thin.
Once you have identified your objectives you need to think about implementation. This is where F.I.L.M. comes in.
F is for FOUNDATION
Getting your foundations right is very important for making the right 1st impression. By foundations I mean ensuring the profiles you have created contain sharp pictures, links that work, compelling copy and a call to action.
Ensuring your own website contains social bookmark links to make it easy for people to share your content is all part of getting your foundations sorted.
I is for INFLUENCE
What is the point in have great foundations if nobody looks at your profiles. Developing your sphere of influence is a crucial part of any social media strategy. You need to grow your connections, followers and fans in order to drive traffic to your gorgeous profiles and insightful content.
Make sure you make it easy for people to connect with you, include the URL’s to your social profiles in your email signatures, forum signatures and business cards. Invite your address book to connect with you.
L is for LEVERAGE
So you have taken the time to build solid foundations and grown your sphere of influence, now its time to leverage them both by ENGAGING with your audience. Contribution is key for this stage, remember social media is a conversation and from conversations come opportunities. Don’t sell, engage & help people and you will surely leverage.
M is for MEASURE
So you have taken the time work on your profiles, grow your network and now you are having conversations. How do you know if it is working?
Here is a previous blog I have written on measuring but in simple terms if you track the response you get from your social media activity you will very quickly understand what is working for you and what isn’t. DO MORE OF THE STUFF THAT WORKS!
Over the next week I will blog about each of the four stages in a lot more detail, until then best of luck!
PS Please share this with your network if you found it useful… So might they!
PPS Keep in touch with me on twitter @WarrenCass