Social Media is beyond the hype, but most people don’t know yet how to get more results from it. This article provides a high level overview of some of the most popular platforms and practical strategies on how to easily achieve your goals without investing a lot of time in Social Media.
A Typical Scenario
A lot has been said and done about Social Media. Most people however don’t have a clue on how to really get results from it. Imagine a typical scenario: You get an invitation for a Social Media platform. You neglect it because you are (too) busy doing other stuff. After having received 10 to 15 invitations, you feel you can’t neglect it anymore, so you finally admit to it and setup an account. You fill out a basic profile and agree to connect with at least a couple of other people who have sent you an invitation. Now youthink you are ready and you are waiting for things to happen. Nothing happens. In your mind it’s about getting found to get success. Well, in reality it does not always work like that. It is also about finding others, especially if you want to achieve your (online) goals.
Why Do I Need Goals?
Not having a specific goal is one of the most common problems with Social Media. It’s like driving a car around and around in circles without a specific destination in mind. You only stop driving when you run out of gas. Same thing for Social Media! People are looking around, browsing, updating, connecting, but with no specific goal. They are wasting hours and hours of their precious time. And then they say, Social Media does not work. A car is quite an expensive tool, just to drive it around, right? So, the first step towards more results is to create a specific goal (remember the SMART-acronym!) for yourself.
Here are a couple of examples:
- “I want 10 people to register for our event in May 2013, who found out about our event through Social Media like Facebook and Twitter.”
- “My goal is to find 2 new customers who want a booth at our annual trade fair in November 2013, who found us through LinkedIn.”
- “I would like to find 1 corporate sponsor (pharma or finance industry) through Social Media for our next convention in June 2014.”
- “I want to recruit 1 event manager and 2 marketing assistants by July 2013 by using Social Media.”
After creating your network goal, it is important to choose the right channels to achieve it. With thousands of Social Media platforms out there, how to choose? Let’s look a bit closer to a couple of the biggest ones to give you an idea of the possibilities.
Facebook is like a family or schoolreunion, where you do not always know everyone. Most members use this platform to (re)connect with friends and family, sharing pictures, status updates, rumors, experiences and playing games.
Facebook can serve as a professional tool when content is personalized, and where you can start networking with others about the same subject. Companies can also create their own fan-pages and groups to ignite interaction with their target audience(s).
Twitter feels more like a big party! Everyone wants to talk. Find yourself a nice group of people and hangout with them in a corner. It is very easy to connect with others who share the same interests as you do. Twitter is a very adequate platform to connect professionally with consumers or others who are using your services or products. Think about going the extra mile for your customers by responding quickly and briefly in max 140 characters per message. You can also share images and videos without real effort.
LinkedIn is the biggest online professional network and could easily be compared to a conference. The conversations in the hallways can be seen as the best part.
LinkedIn is a professional tool to network and to actually find people. Use LinkedIn to share information, find new customers, partners or employees and to exchange ideas in the Groups. It is the only platform that shows you how you are connected with other people (up to your 3rd degree).
YouTube is so much more than the second largest search engine. It seems like a television where you have difficulties to choose which channel you want to watch (because there are so many!).
You can easily start your own channel, upload, update and share movie clips. With YouTube you can actually show your audience how to apply your products or services creating how-to videos. YouTube is also a very credible platform to show testimonials of your customers and it is very simple to integrate it into your own website or blog.
Google+ is one of the fastest growing social media and is more like a house with different rooms, where you can have different conversations with the people you choose.
You allocate people in circles, share updates, pictures, etc. and have live conversations. It is pretty easy to get connected and to stay connected with people in your network. Google+ also allows company pages.
Pinterest is also one of the fastest growing social media. It is looks a giant collection of whiteboards. Let’s assume that every user in a building has its personal whiteboard. Some have the same content while others have very specific info from each user, mostly pictures, texts, inspirational quotes, recipes, tips & tricks, etc.
Professionally, Pinterest is a great way to have people share your brand through great pictures. Viral campaigns, connecting with like minded people and exchange experiences.
Foursquare is also a fast growing online platform. It looks like a marketplace (without selling and buying), where you exchange info about where to buy, which locations you recommend and where to meet with people.
It is based on geo-tagging or using your physical location to check-in, find friends, becoming a mayor of your favorite places. At a professional level, Foursquare can be used to connect, agree on a meeting place, exchange tips and actually find the “right” places to go to. The platform has created strategical partnerships with companies to offer significant discounts if you check in at certain places or use a certain service.
Start Me Up?
Knowing all these Social Media platforms is one thing. Actually choosing the right one(s) for you is another. So, how to get started? As we said: the most important element is to start with a network goal. Expand your personal goal towards how to apply Social Media at an organizational level. What do you want to achieve by using Social Media? Make a list, create a plan and start applying it!
Are you looking for a first exercise to get you started? Download the GAIN-exercise from our website http://www.reallyconnect.com
To your success,
LinkedIn Expert | Speaker | Trainer | Mentor
PS:Looking for more LinkedIn tips? Use one or more of the 10 strategies to find the right people for you via the bestselling book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”(a FREE download is available at www.reallyconnect.com).