Getting started in Social Media
(C) 2009 Michael Fruchter. Originally posted at www.louisgray.com on Jan. 5, 2009
• 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
• 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
Social Media consists of the five C's
• 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
Social Media consists of the five C's
• 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
• 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
• 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
• Social media isn't about the tools. The tools are only
facilitators of the message.
What Social Media isn’t:
• 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
What Social Media isn’t:
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.
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.
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.
• 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!
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
• 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.
• 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.
• 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
• 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.
• 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
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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
• 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. Addthis.com 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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
• It's very important that you maintain a recognizable, uniform
presence across all social networks, professional and personal.
• 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.
Friends, followers and family, without them you are a rowboat
without a paddle.
• 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
• 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.
• You are only as good as the network you align yourself with,
• 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.
• 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.
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(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.