A social media plan is not an à la carte menu, so if you’re using social media to help take your small biz big time, come hungry. This stuff isn’t for snacking. Maybe you can get away with some à la carte, pick-and-choose in a marketing plan (operative word: “maybe”), but you simply must order the full course meal to get a social media plan’s impact.
For example, a solitary blog is like an island—hard to get to without a boat or a bridge. A Twitter account unto itself will serve little purpose for many business people. A Facebook fan page without the nurturing of fresh content or interconnectivity will wither and fade all too quickly.
Social media requires commitment to a process. One link leads to another, like tributaries flowing into a river that’s flowing toward the sea. Ignore one aspect, and the flow is affected. Ignore many aspects, and the flow will ultimately cease completely.
Have you been ordering à la carte when it comes to your social media? Have you tried to sample things without investing time and effort to plan your work and work your plan? That’s like connecting only select dots on the page and expecting to get a full picture. There really aren’t any skippable steps here. As I’ve recently blogged, social media is not a marketing microwave; steadiness and patience are required, but the potential rewards are great enough to merit the ongoing effort.
Of course, you can’t do everything “social” that’s out there. But you can round out a plan that employs essential elements, to ensure connectivity and eliminate any missing links that might hinder your social media success. Connect the main dots to reveal the big picture. Then you’ll be able to fill in the details much more easily over time.
Here are the big picture, full-course basics you’ve must include from the get go.
– Fresh Content
If you’re going to be social, you need to contribute to the conversation. Don’t build podiums without having something worthwhile to speak about. Think about what you have to share, how you can add to what’s already being said and create content accordingly. Your content may come in the form of a blog, a constantly freshened website, substantive tweets, pertinent comments on others’ sites/postings/discussions or all of the above.
– Followers, Fans, Friends
Without making connections, you’ll just be talking to yourself. You must incorporate relationship-building into your social media plan. You could rally your existing contacts through direct messages, initiate followings on Twitter, join groups on LinkedIn or Ning to be part of targeted communities or invite ‘fans’ via a Facebook fan page. Also, you’ve got to be a ‘friend’ to have a ‘friend’; start reaching out to others, and they will reach back.
– Platforms for Posting
Once you create content and make friends, you need outlets and methods for staying connected, platforms for sharing what you’ve created. This is where your Twitter account, your presence on LinkedIn, that Facebook fan page (or personal profile, for that matter), a FriendFeed, etc. comes in handy.
– Mechanisms for Participating and Sharing
Not only do you need to share, you need to make it easy for your network to share alike! Add “share” or “add this” buttons to your blog, your website. Ask for retweets on Twitter. Thank anyone you find who does forward your content on. This is the essence of social media: one link really does lead to another.
Does this give you something to chew on? If you need specific ideas on how to get started, ask me! I’ll gladly dig into specifics to help you go big time!