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As a self confessed ‘girl geek’, when Social Media Networking came along, I couldn’t resist getting involved. However, as my time spent on the different media started to get longer and longer, I decided that I had to have a strategy for how I used it. After talking to many different people, and trial and error, I came up with the following tips to help you get the maximum results from the minimum time.
1. Decide WHY you are doing it.
If you’re social networking because Tom said ‘it’s really cool’, or Dick insisted that ‘everyone’s using it’, or because Harry suggested that ‘email and networking are dead these days’. STOP! Social Networking is like any other marketing approach. If you don’t know why you’re doing it, you are probably wasting your time. Ask yourself:
- are my competitors using it?
- Do my prospects use it?
- What targets should I set?
The best reason for spending time and effort on a particular social networking site is because your prospective customers hang out there. If they don’t, then neither should you.
2. Use the tools.
I often get asked how I can tweet something interesting and useful every day. Well the truth is that I don’t. There are lots of tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Social Oomph that enable you to write tweets and schedule them to run when you want. So I write most of my tweets once a month in a brainstorming session, then schedule them to pop up one or two every day. I find it gets a lot easier to write lots of tweets at once. I also write them into a word document, so I can go and get some inspiration from previous tweets.
3. Schedule time to blog
It’s very easy to say to yourself ‘I’ll just have a quick look at Facebook’ , then find an hour has slipped by! I go into my social media sites 2 times a day – usually first thing in the morning and lunchtime. I’ve made this easier by setting up my Internet browser with a tab for each site and spending a MAXIMUM of 10 minutes checking what’s hot, replying to interesting people etc. Then I close them.
4. Set up twitter list(s)
Don’t want to spend hours reading all the rubbish people think the world wants to know? I know it’s good to be human, but I personally don’t want to know about which type of coffee you picked on your way to work this morning! If you only want to read tweets from people who say interesting stuff, create a list. I have several lists: one for friends (people I actually know), one for clients, one for people I find interesting etc.
5. Be social
Most people seem to think social media is for advertising. WRONG! Think about it. How many tweets with just an advert link do YOU click on? The trick is to ask questions, reply to other people’s questions, retweet/share other people’s posts, be helpful etc. It isn’t called ‘social’ media for nothing.
On sites like Linkedin – join relevant groups and answer questions. Most people get Linkedin updates once a week, so you only need to do it once a week to be on their attention list!
6. Use hashtags
What’s a hashtag I hear you ask? A hashtag is just a way of highlighting a particular keyword on social media by putting a # on front of the word e.g. #bettermanagers . This means anyone who reads your tweet and wants to read more on the same subject can just click on the hashtag. You can use your own hashtags or use other people’s.
This helps to keep focussed.
7. Max your effort
If you write blogs or have articles on your website, then a quick taster message on a social networking site can get more people reading them.
8. Shorten your links
Some people don’t trust them, but if you’re limited to 140 characters as with twitter, you don’t want a long web address taking up all the characters you need for your message/question etc. then getting frustrated because you can’t shorten your message! Sites like bit.ly or some of tools mentioned will shorten the weblink to something short and dinky.
By the way, don’t always put a link into your message.
9. Check what people like
Most social networking sites have some way of checking whether people are taking any notice of what you blog. For example with most, you can check what they reply to or retweet. On Facebook you can check ‘insights’.
Once you know what they like – you can save time by focussing on that.
If you have any other tips to save time – please add them to the comments lists.