Social media is important, because it is another potential way to reach and build an audience.
Moreover, for some niche markets, it might be a vital part of your audience building strategy, and different platforms will be more effective (e.g. LinkedIn for professionals and businesses, Facebook for all ranges, but not if your core market is youth, Instagram for youth, etc.)
Now, you might have stumbled across debates online about whether or not social media is necessary, but this is mostly among search engine professionals who doubt its effectiveness in increasing your search engine rankings (e.g. chances of showing up in positions 1-10 on the first page of Google or Bing for a given search term). And that’s valid in that Google, for example, has thousands of ranking factors (not just 200 as is tossed around online) in determining which sites show up for search terms (backlinks being primary in that). However, there is evidence that social is a bigger part of their ranking algorithm.
However, our purpose in social media is not for search engine rankings. Instead, It’s about four things:
- audience building
- lead generation
I think you could agree those are four good reasons you should be interested in building a following online!
Which platforms do you need?
A mix of core platforms like a self-hosted Blog, Facebook or Twitter and Google Plus (an account on Google opens up all their platforms like Gmail, YouTube, Blogger, Places, etc.), which will be the primary ways people can reach you and others that will both amplify the reach of your message and teaching and help you draw in readers, fans and clients, and other platforms that help with branding and positioning.
How often should I post or engage on each?
Regularly is the short answer. However, each platform is a little different. For example, Twitter is a constant stream that wants to be fed continuously (several times a day), whereas Facebook you should go 1x a day, and others will vary. This is when it starts to feel overwhelming and you wonder if it’s worth it.
Great question. You don’t know until you track it! It’s important not to do just do stuff for the sake of doing it. Every action you take in your new business should have a measurable return. Over time you want to focus on activities that are generating a return and minimize or eliminate things that are not.
The good news is that tracking doesn’t have to be complicated or require expensive software.
Yes! That’s where automation comes in. While there are paid, fancy enterprise tools for social media, you could take those on (and hire a brand manager) when you break through to hundreds of thousands of followers, millions in sales, etc. For now, the free tools will give you an enormous brand presence without much effort at all!
What tools/resources do I need?
To know the tools and resources you need, you have to understand the goal, which is to create two social media networks.
One is a branded network and the other is an industry (niche) network. The former focuses on disseminating your content, while the latter focuses on curating the best content in your niche and putting your content in the mix.
- Blog – Each content piece you post to blog will be shared to social media outlet and RSS
- RSS Feed – You will create an RSS feed of curated industry content using a service like RssMix which allows you to bring multiple feeds together. Another service to track the best content in your industry is Feedly.
- Twitter or Tumblr account – This will be the power of your automation – all of your content and industry content will flow through here and get shared out to your wider social networks
- Know’em – This is a service to help you identify if your brand name or personal name is available across hundreds of social media platforms. They even have a service to register your name on each network
- Fiverr – You can hire someone on Fiverr to create your accounts on your brand and niche networks. I would encourage you to create your own Facebook and Google Plus, Twitter and outsource the rest.
- IFTTT (If This Then That) – This is a nifty service that creates what looks like simple “recipes” that are really powerful programs to link the APIs (of hundreds of sites. For examples
- Link shortener – This is your tracking tool. Use a service like Google’s own shortener, Bit.ly or a plugin like Pretty Links to create a link from each traffic source and then you will know exactly where your traffic is coming from.
- Other tools – There are a few additional (also free) tools that can boost your social media marketing, such as software built into your web hosting account, and other little tricks.
You now know the importance of social media and a suite of free resources you can use to build a powerful marketing network that works largely on autopilot!
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