First, you have to decide if you want to be a contender. You have to believe you can be and that it is in your hands and understand that it really is something you cannot hire out. You can hire help but you must direct and participate and be the one that is creating and developing the relationships.
You can’t send your assistant or your publicist to a cocktail party or networking event with the same results as would be garnered by your personal presence. Same with Social Media. Given that caveat, here are my tips for direction from a 30,000 foot perspective that put some boundaries on your efforts and still let you have a life. But you best be careful, if done right you will have more business than you can shake a stick at and then you will have to decide what to do about that.
1) Use your WordPress Website as the hub of your marketing efforts.
2)Write at least one post a week on your site. Two is better. Try for every Tuesday, every Thursday. Consistency is key. Make a goal and stick to it. Be personal be provocative, be informative, Why do they want to read this from you? Make them care. Keep writing and you will find your voice.
3)Have your posts automatically show up on your Facebook page and your LinkedIn sites. You can then just respond to people if they comment there (make sure you are set up to receive e-mails from those sites when people leave comments so you can get right back to them). People hate automatic Tweets, so send out personalized Tweets with links to your blog posts so people will be compelled to open them.
4) Use HootSuite and set up each of your Social Media sites to have their own streams. Have at least three streams for Twitter: your feed of all the Tweets of the people you follow, a stream of @yourname so you see when people mention you or send you a public message, and a direct message stream of tweets that are private messages to you.
5) If there are people in your streams that you do not like, un-follow them and find some more people to follow that are in your niche. You want your Twitter stream to be really interesting to you, or really why bother.
6) Get on HootSuite at least twice a day. Once in the morning for a half hour or so and once in the evening for the same time. If your feed is set up with the right people you will get lots of news and see posts that are very informative and give you food for thought. Retweet them or respond to the person with a message. They will notice and most likely follow you back. And then when you send out a tweet saying that you have written something they will see it and possibly Retweet it. Keep doing this and jumping in and commenting to someone when you see an opportunity. Don’t just lurk.
7) When you find posts from your Twitter Feed that you like, leave a comment. People notice. Find several people you would love to know. Follow their blogs and interact with them on a low key basis. Keep doing this. They will notice. You will be setting the groundwork for them to notice you and your work.
8) Once you have something to say and are doing the above steps consistently, make a commitment to send out an e-mail newsletter on a schedule you can maintain. The type of content depends on your niche. But I have found a personal touch with valuable content is best. Make sure you include links to other articles you have written on your website. even your family will forget to go to your site if you don’t remind them.
This whole process is like fishing. First you see other people catching fish. Hmmm. How are they doing it. What bait are they using? What technique are they using? So you start to fish. You put your line in the water regularly and keep trying slight variations. Then, you will get your first bite. Someone will Retweet one of your posts, or suggest that others follow you. You will get a little thrill and you want more, so you keep doing what you were doing that worked. And still watching others and tweaking your technique. This will get you a bigger big hit; a Retweet that goes viral or a post that gets 800 page views in a day and then you will be hooked. I know I was and it did not take that long.
What has your experience been getting started with and maintaining social media marketing for your business without going crazy? Or have you?