Getting started in Social Media


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Guidelines and pointers for getting started in Social Media.

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Getting started in Social Media

  1. 1. Getting started in Social Media (C) 2009 Michael Fruchter. Originally posted at on Jan. 5, 2009
  2. 2.   • Conversation: Social media is all about word of mouth. The message you are trying to convey might vary for personal or professional gain. This is the social in social media. Without this, it's just plain old media. Traditional marketing methods are one-way, one-sided. Social media and social marketing is all about two-way communication, never forget this. Marketing in the social web means you must participate, lead and when necessary react to conversation. Social Media consists of the five C's
  3. 3.   • Commenting: This goes hand in hand with community and conversation. You should actively comment on conversations. If you have an opinion let it be known, otherwise you are a shadow lurking in the background. Comment only when you have something constructive, or positive to add to the conversation. Commenting just for the sake of commenting adds no real value, all it does is add clutter to the conversation. Commenting also reflects on you as the individual or brand, so always beware of that fact. Choose your words wisely, think before you act or react. Social Media consists of the five C's
  4. 4.   • Community: This is formed from conversation. This is where people are talking. The communities may vary across all the social networks. Go where your existing and potential customers are talking and engage them. It could be on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and so forth. If your goals are strictly for launching a new product, you should be creating a community around it and for it. Social Media consists of the five C's
  5. 5. • Collaboration: Work with anyone, anywhere to achieve a common goal. This should be key to any company, especially when launching a new product. Your customers could be anyone. Who better to solicit feedback and ideas about your product than the ones who are already using it? Going beyond that, the social web allows us to collaborate basically with anyone that's connected to the web. Collaboration fosters creativity and innovation. It would be foolish not to use it. Forget the costly and expensive R&D teams. Collaborate with your employees. Like your customers, they are the ones who know and work with your product day in and day out. Social Media consists of the five C's
  6. 6.   • Contribution: First and foremost this means being helpful. What you put into social media, is what you will ultimately get out of it. It's really that simple. You need to contribute before you can ask for something in return. On Twitter, re-tweet valuable information from your followers and abroad. Contribute to the conversations going on around you. Every avenue of social media allows you to contribute and participate in someway shape or form. I don't think I need to expand on this any further. Social Media consists of the five C's
  7. 7. • Social Media isn’t easy. Anyone can set up a blog, Twitter and Facebook account. That's the easy part. You could teach a child to do that. It's how we use these tools that is the challenge. Social media takes time and plenty of it. It takes commitment and also an understanding of how things works. This is not something you can just jump into and reap the benefits. Like anything else you must crawl before you can walk.   • Social media isn't about the tools. The tools are only facilitators of the message. What Social Media isn’t:
  8. 8. • Social media isn’t about list building and Friending hundreds to thousands of people. Social media is about connections, meaningful ones at that.   • Social media isn’t a "set it and forget it" type of medium.   • Social media isn't Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. Social media is about the conversations that are taking place on these platforms, some may be about your brand some may not. What Social Media isn’t:
  9. 9. Branding,personal or professional starts with your domain: • Register your domain name. It's also a good idea to register it for multiple years. If you have extra cash up front, spend it. There is no need to be bothered with yearly domain name renewals, and, in a worst case scenario, risk losing your domain name. It's a good idea to set your domain registration on auto- renewal if you decided to renew yearly. Stay on top of the credit card you have on file as well. Auto-renewal notices, getting marked as spam, combined with an expired credit card is bad news. This happened to a friend, just a word of advice.
  10. 10. If you are an individual and your goal is personal branding, use your first and last name for the domain, and preferably a dot com extension as well. The domain spelling should be equivalent to someone typing that keyword or phrase into a search engine. It should be as short as possible and easy to spell. If you are business, be sure to register any variations and extensions of your domain name.
  11. 11. Starting with the basics first, blogging.
  12. 12. Blogging 101. Class is in session: There are a number of different blogging platforms available to choose from. They all pretty much do the same thing, but your first obvious choice should be Wordpress. The majority of blogs on the Internet are all powered by Wordpress, and for good reason. It's a stable, proven platform and it's highly customizable. There are also a few thousand readily available themes and plug-ins made for it. There is also a huge developer community behind it, and plenty of resource sites dedicated to Wordpress users. This one is a no brainer folks.           
  13. 13. • Avoid using a web-based blogging platform. There are limitations to what you can and cannot do with these services. If you must use a web-based blogging service, you must be able to mask your blog to a domain name. There is a price to pay for this though, and you should ask yourself, is it really worth it?    • Brand yourself, not the blogging platform.   • You need to be in full control of your blog, starting with owning it on your own server. Host your blog on your own server!
  14. 14. Keep your blog simple, avoid the clutter at all costs Clutter equals slow page load times for starters. The more third party widgets you install, the more you are pissing off your readers and potential customers. Only install widgets that instill some value to your blog. MyBlogLog allow for referral stats on the back-end, and on the front-end allows for community building. Twitter widgets show your present status updates and or allows people to follow you. This is the value I'm referring to.   
  15. 15. • Find and install the necessary plugins that will benefit your blog, such as SEO plugins. Installing a caching-system plugin is also a good idea. You need to optimize not only just for search engines, but also page loading time. Find a simple theme and build around it. KISS is always a good rule of thumb. Appearance is everything, and your blog is no different. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.     • Change your blog permalink structure immediately. By default, WordPress uses web URLs which have question marks and lots of numbers in them. This will severely limit the amount of traffic you will see from search engines. You need to be thinking SEO at all times, and this is the first step you should take with your blog.
  16. 16. Tell people what your blog is about!
  17. 17. • Create an about page. When I find a blog I like, and want to know more about the author, the first thing I will look for is an about page. A big turn off for most people is finding a great blog and not knowing anything about the person behind it. This can also lead to wasted business opportunities. The about page is just another extension to sell yourself, your credentials, your affiliations, your experiences and so forth. Show your readers you are just like them. Show them your personal side. This is what social media is all about.   • Show your human side by using visuals. Add a real picture of yourself on your blog and on all of your social networking profiles. The picture should be of you and not of some silly cartoon character. As with real life, image is everything.  
  18. 18. • Blog only when you have something to say that is of importance, and that is useful, resourceful, and relevant to others. Why blog otherwise?   • Your blog does many things for you, but the number one thing it does is establish authority. Establish yourself as an expert on a particular subject matter, after all this is the reason for blogging. Blog about your expertise, your passions, what you and only you do best. Your audience will find you eventually, and that is who you should be catering to. Focus and be consistent with your blogging. Don't be all across the board. You will learn in time, by trial and error, what works and what doesn't work.  
  19. 19. • Leave the introverted mentality at the door. That's not social media, that's just media, plain old ignorance. Ask for help when needed, be verbal, speak up and ask questions. We all were newbies at some point in time. Educate yourself first and foremost, read, read and read. When blogging always link out to others, credit fact sources when applicable. Make it a practice to link out in every blog post you write, and do it positively. Bloggers succeed only with the help of other bloggers, and the relevant communities they are catering to and participating in.   
  20. 20. Quality over quantity
  21. 21. • Quality content speaks for itself, and is recognized. Your content defines you and the message you are trying to convey. Quality gets noticed above anything else. Let others promote your content and you should only promote your best work.   • The content that you create should be something that people want to share. For the most part, it should be relevant to your networks’ interests. Create newsworthy, thoughtful, intelligent content that has immediate usefulness. Don't expect a home-run all the time, and do not be disappointed if certain posts do not get enough coverage. It's the nature of the beast. It often takes time for things to get picked up.
  22. 22. • Leave thoughtful and constructive comments on other blogs. This promotes good practices in social media. It also gives you an opportunity for more exposure and additional places for people and fellow bloggers to discover your blog. This can lead into new networking opportunities, and potential new friendships and networking opportunities. The best way to reward a fellow blogger for their hard work is by leaving comments. This will also get you on their radar screen a lot faster. There are no negatives to this, only positives.   • Promote others, even more than you promote yourself. Retweet good content, Stumble it, Digg it, share it and so forth. The "others" first and foremost should be your network's content. Everyone else comes after that, plain and simple. Your online network is family and need to be treated as such. Sharing, self promotion is always a two-way street.
  23. 23. • There are two types of bloggers. One way bloggers and two-way bloggers. You need to strive, and pride yourself on becoming a two-way blogger.   • Never fly blind. You must know where your traffic is coming from. Install analytic software, such as Google Analytics. It’s a good idea to have at least two stats packages installed and running. All analytic software is not created equal. They all have the same purpose, but vary in their reporting and tracking methods. Results will vary to an extent, and comparison of multiple data sources is vital.  
  24. 24. • You have linked out to many bloggers, some are noticing and linking back. But how do you know? The answer is simple, set up Google Alerts to track mentions of your blog. This is a requirement not an option. Blogging software such as Wordpress will track inbound links, but it's not always accurate and lots of inbound links are missed. In addition to alerts, you need to be doing Google Blog searches and Twitter searches. These are the first tools you should be using, but there are plenty more listed here, and they are all free. Wouldn't you hate to miss a moment of recognition? Put yourself in the other blogger shoes. They might get the wrong impression with no acknowledgement back, these things need to be avoided at all costs. You can't please everyone all the time, but at least make the effort to no matter how big or small.
  25. 25. • Establish a Feedburner account. Provide easy visibility for new RSS subscribers, use text links in addition to graphics to promote your RSS feed You can also add an email subscription form on your site for people who do not use RSS. You should also give people the tools to promote your content. Add to your blog and postings promotional tools such as social sharing and bookmark services. is a good starting point. It's a few simple lines of code and your done. You should also take full advantage of Feedburners Feedflare.
  26. 26. Reap the benefits of Twitter
  27. 27. • Establish a Twitter account and learn how to make it beneficial not only for you, but for others. There is no right or wrong way to use Twitter. There is one wrong way, which I will highlight next. Twitter is a powerful tool for listening and more importantly broadcasting. You may not spend countless hours on it, but the time you do spend on it, use it effectively.   • Do not use Twitter for spamming. This is a perfect example of how NOT to use Twitter. If your intent is to spam and add no value whatsoever, consider going back to the basics, email- spam. Don't waste your time and others with this crap.
  28. 28. • If you are going to use auto-replies for new followers, do NOT include any self-promotional text and or affiliate marketing links. You wouldn't do this in real life with people you first meet, the same rule applies here. It's a waste of time, it does not work, and it pisses people off. If you are going to use auto- replies, there is nothing wrong with sending a friendly thank you for following note.   • Contribute to Twitter first before you use it solely for self promotion. A good way of adding value and contributing is re- tweeting your followers tweets. When you come across quality content, promote it to others by broadcasting a link to it on Twitter. You should also practice being resourceful and helpful as much as possible on Twitter.    
  29. 29. Like a tree have branches everywhere.
  30. 30. • Passports are the social profiles that we create on other social networking sites and platforms. You need to have Omnipresence.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter  are all passports. More importantly, they are all sources that generate search engine traffic.    • It's very important that you maintain a recognizable, uniform presence across all social networks, professional and personal.  
  31. 31. • Consistency needs to be practiced and applied to every area of your involvement in social media. All of your online profiles should share the same information. Make sure to use the same user names. If possible, use the same profile pictures (if applicable), logos and contact info.   • Be consistent with blog posts. Try to establish and maintain a schedule for posts and stick with it. Be consistent with tagging your images, bookmarks and blog postings. Be consistent with commenting on other blogs, as well as with comments left on your own blog.   • Stay consistent with the latest trends and technologies. Think about how they can impact or improve your successes online. Things are quickly changing on the Internet. Failure to adapt with the times has consequences.
  32. 32. Friends, followers and family, without them you are a rowboat without a paddle.
  33. 33. • Hopefully friends to you are people you have some level of engagement and conversation with. Friends in social media or for that matter in social networking are not equal to what we classify as friends in real life. Friends in social media are followers who take the next step, which then evolves into some level of general interaction. Friends in time will morph into members of your core network. Choose your friends wisely, this is the army you will need for the battle you are about to embark on. While you have the option to friend people back, it's all about your objectives using social media. If you want a mass audience, then friend everyone who friends you back, but if you have no intention of ever having any level or engagement, then you are just fooling yourself, and all your doing it list building. You need to be receptive with friends who are trying to engage you positively.
  34. 34. • It's impossible to interact with hundreds or even thousands of friends, but the ones who reach out to you, by commenting on your blog posts, sharing your content, tweeting your content and so forth, you can not neglect   • Followers are your audience, always remember that. Without them you are a rowboat without a paddle. Never lose sight of this. As I mentioned before, followers evolve into friends, be cognizant of that fact. Never take them for granted.   • Family is your core network. Your core network is your power, your network is connections. These are the people that will be there time and time again. They are your support through good and bad times. These are relationships that are built up over time. These are genuine relationships. Never lose sight of this, and do what you can for them at all times when applicable.
  35. 35. • You are only as good as the network you align yourself with, make sense?   • Always give the little guy a platform and a chance to shine. Your followers, and friends may also run blogs. When the chance presents itself, offer guest postings on your site. Link out to them when possible. You can also leave them recommendations on LinkedIn if you know them well or can vouch for their work ethics. Look for opportunities to expose others in a positive light, no matter how big or small.
  36. 36. • Whether your goals and objectives in using social media are for professional or personal reasons, the outcome will still be the same. The outcome depends on what you put into it. Be prepared to commit a lot of time, devotion, patience, and understanding. You must crawl before you can walk, it's that simple. Be passionate about your initiatives. Have fun and always show your human side. Contribute and give more than you ask for in return, at least in the very beginning. Do onto others as they do onto you. These best practices will reflect on you, and in the long term will come back tenfold. This is what social media is about, now roll up your sleeves and start laying the foundation. I hope you enjoyed this presentation. The end.
  37. 37. Follow me on FriendFeed| Follow me on Twitter| My Blog   (C) 2009 Michael Fruchter You can read more of my thoughts and insight for marketing on the social web for 2009, in this eBook, that I recently collaborated on with 11 other marketing professionals.