Social Media Monitoring and Analysis: 2 Great Tools

Through social media, people are connecting, sharing opinions with others at all times of the day. The party, so to speak, is never-ending. In a perfect world this works to your brand’s advantage.  When someone has a positive experience with your brand they can go public immediately and share not only that experience but their excitement—while it’s still fresh—with their friends and followers.

Knowing what your fans, and detractors, are saying about your brand is essential in today’s connected business environment.  But how can a company, large or small, keep track of the constant chatter being generated?

Quite simply, as it turns out. By employing social media monitoring platforms you can now listen in, actually know what others are saying about your brand. Let’s take a look at two that we feel are worth the time and resource allocation:

Argyle

The first social media monitoring platforms is Argyle, a small company which focuses on solid data relating to your brand.  By setting up an account and providing keywords, Argyle monitors social media brand mentions, analyzes the volume and content of those mentions and reports the online interaction to you or the relevant member of your team.  Their detailed data can follow the reactions to each post or tweet to let you see the overall effect of your social media efforts.  Your social media presence is organized in one place. With Argyle, you can also schedule posts and updates even when you’re away.

Radian6

The second tool is Radian6, a larger company that offers enterprise-level social media monitoring and analysis of what’s being said about you by whom, where, how often, and the duration of the talk.  One of the most effective tools available through Radian6 is the ability to monitor who is advocating your brand online, allowing you to nurture those integral relationships.   Brands can also use Radian6 to monitor the mentions of their competition, as well as their own. Since a tool is only as powerful as the user’s ability, Radian6 provides on-site training to insure that you are utilizing their platform most effectively.

How Vestor Logic can help

The data generated by these tools is just the first piece of the puzzle. To effectively take action, you’ll need that data analyzed and organized in a way that makes sense for your team, and strategic guidance on where to go next.

Depending on your level of need and the size of your brand, Vestor Logic can help you choose the appropriate monitoring tool for your brand.  We will create a social media listening channel allowing us to monitor your brand mentions. We’ll know what people are saying about your brand, where this talk is happening, and who’s initiating the conversation; allowing you the opportunity to stay in front of the talk and to respond to your advantage.  Vestor Logic will also provide brand-specific social media analysis in the form of detailed, plain-English reports, affording you at-a-glance understanding of the trends and interests influencing your customers.

Armed with this crucial insight, social media monitoring will be the most valuable tool in your social media program.

Never leave the party.  Contact us to get started.

Social Media and REAL Crisis Management

twitter in a crisisLast week there was a massive, multi-day fire that began in Four Mile Canyon just to the west of downtown Boulder, CO. It started around 10:30 am on Labor Day and due to high, erratic winds that day it grew quickly. I live about an hour southeast of Boulder and could see the gigantic, fast-moving plumes of smoke from my back deck.

People live up in that area. Over 3500 residents were evacuated. By the time the fire was finally contained several days later, over 166 homes were lost. Thankfully no lives were lost.

From where I sat it took a while to get any of that information. The TV station websites were on it pretty quickly, but it was bare bones info, a few sentences. The newspaper sites had nothing until much later.

Enter Twitter. Immediately the hashtag #boulderfire was pumping out up-to-the-minute information and photos. The Twitter community in Boulder immediately rallied and began putting residents in contact with people who could help. They kept the information flowing in a constant stream.

By the next day local businesses  began using twitter to offer goods and services to residents displaced by the fire: offers of meals, places to temporarily house pets, hotel rooms. Soon messages of encouragement and thanks to the local firefighters and police began appearing.

There was no promotional benefit to any of this. This was pure community outreach. Neighbors helping each other.

Wrapped up in our daily business lives it can be easy to forget how social media tools are perfectly designed for crisis management, to do good in completely non-commercial ways. Intellectually we know it’s all about “connecting” and engaging in the conversation, but sometimes events occur that shine a light directly on what that really means. It means more, a lot more.

You can follow the #boulderfire and #fourmilecanyon hashtags for the latest information or drop by the Downtown Boulder page on Facebook.  They are doing a great job of keeping their community updated.

The New Facebook ‘Like’ button and the Open Graph Protocol

Recently some of you may have noticed that Facebook changed it’s “Become a Fan” button to a “Like” button. The thinking behind this is that it is less of a commitment to “like” something or someone than it is to become a “fan”. Being a fan implies a certain level of engagement with a brand or person. You may be willing to tell the world that you are a “fan” of Whole Foods or U2, but you may only “like” M&Ms. Are you and M&Ms casual acquaintances or in a committed relationship?  This move opens the doors for users to feel comfortable connecting with more brands.

Another reason behind this move is Facebook’s new integration with the Open Graph Protocol. According to the www.opengraphprotocol.org this: “enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. For instance, this is used on Facebook to enable any web page to have the same functionality as a Facebook Page”.

In essence, this means that by inserting a few simple <meta> tags into your page header and inserting a facebook “like” button on your website with one line of html you can turn your page into a “graph object” which can be found and tied to the social graph. There a also a few other social plug-ins you can utilize, such as an activity feed or recommendations (see more here http://developers.facebook.com/plugins).

What does this all mean? It means that users can establish connections to you and your brand across the entire web, and tie it back to their facebook profile. Facebook becomes a vast repository of everything you and your friends “like”. I find it hard not to think of it as the broadest marketing research experiment ever undertaken.  And all users have to do is “like” stuff.

The negatives, as always with Facebook, relate back to privacy. Any user who is not on top of their privacy setting can cry foul. Yes, you are telling your friends that you like Bon Jovi, you may be telling BMG and Sony as well. I personally don’t have huge issues with the privacy issue, but I am in marketing so I may be biased.

Overall, I think it is an extremely intriguing move and I for one cannot wait to see what the adoption rate looks like. I “like” it.

What about you? Does this move make you nervous? Excited? Angry? Tell us.

Read More about the Like Button:
Why I Like the Like Button: Spreading Nonprofit Messages

Are Like Buttons Evil? The Open Web Reacts To Facebook’s Not-So-Open Graph

Backpacker Magazine gets even more social

Anyone close to me knows how much I love to hike, camp, and go fly fishing. One of my favorite sources of information and inspiration is Backpacker Magazine. I recently renewed my subscription and received the current issue packed full of maps on the National Parks, local hikes, and life list trips.

I’ve never really adopted the use of GPS devices as most of my trips have been day hikes in areas that I am very familiar with, namely Red Rock and Mt. Charleston. But lately, I have begun to expand my horizons. I have been forced to gear up for a three day backpacking trip to Havasu Falls in June and I am planning a few overnight trips in the Mt. Charleston wilderness this summer. These types of trips allow you to cover more ground and the need for navigational help is more pressing.

So like I usually do, I turn to Backpacker Magazine and their website to start my research. Do I want a watch with the basic functions? Should I suck it up and buy a handheld GPS? Is there anything I can use on my Blackberry that would do the job equally well?

Page 9 of the current issue (May 2010) of Backpacker Magazine seems to hold an answer…if I owned an iPhone or Android!

The magazine has released an Android app (iPhone version to release May 1) called Backpacker’s GPS Trails, which allows users to do a number of cool things including:

  • Locate trips
  • Research trips
  • Plan trips
  • Save and share trips
  • Geotag photos, videos, and sound clips
  • Turn your phone into a GPS
  • Save maps
  • View stats

This leaves me with a simple choice: either switch phones or buy a handheld GPS. I have been a devoted Blackberry user for too long to switch for this one app. Maybe Backpacker Magazine will build something for us someday too.

The other thing I noticed on this page is that they are promoting the app with a Facebook Contest starting May 15th. They plan to give away one app a day for an entire month to the first person that can answer the daily map trivia question which will be posted at backpacker.com/facebook which currently redirects to their Facebook Page.

Our Take

Backpacker seems to be getting more social. The May issue included three instances of social marketing. The app contest on the Facebook Page (page 9), a one page write up of “Yosemite’s Buzz” covering social media and the park, and an ad by the State of Arkansas which included a QR code that directs the user to this page.

It’s great to see my favorite magazine getting out there and trying something new, like social media mentions in the magazine. Of course, the entire culture of their magazine and its readership is dedicated to trying something new. Exploring new territory. Testing gear. That’s the exact reason that I read it! I guess, it doesn’t surprise me that Backpacker Magazine would be one of the first magazines (at least of the ones that make my short list of those worth reading) that would try these new marketing tactics. Good for you! And good for the readers.

I’m not sure who is steering the social media adoption at Backpacker Magazine, but I hope to see more of this interactive nature in the pages of the future issues. The website already plays host to a very active forum on all things outdoors and the community that participates in the conversations there are most willing to share their experiences. Backpacker Magazine has much to gain from doing social media well, and by our account is off to a great start.

You can follow Backpacker Magazine on Twitter and join the conversation on their Facebook Page.

Social 60 – Promoted Tweets on Twitter

So Twitter has finally launched their bid for revenue in the form of Promoted Tweets. For now, these ads will be seen in the search results, but by year end Twitter promises to roll them out in more areas based on the feedback from this initial roll-out.

Of course, we all know that Twitter has to monetize their platform in some way or another and this appears to be a pretty conservative step in that direction. But the implications are huge. If users respond to the ads and Twitter is able to effective gauge the viability of each ad then we could see a shift in the way brands market on social platforms across the board.

Here a post from Mashable – The Multi-Billion Dollar Question: Will Users Click on Twitter Ads?

And a more detailed look from John Battelle – Twitter To Roll Out “Promoted Tweets”: Initial Thoughts (Developing)

And finally, from Steve Rubel (one of my favorites) – Twitter Sponsored Tweets: The Impact for Marketers

So what do you think? Will ads in the search results be effective for big brands? Will users be turned off? Where might the ads be placed next? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How We Use Social Media

At Vestor Logic, we use social media apps and platforms in a number of different ways.  Some create efficiencies for us in the daily work flow.  Many help us accelerate our learning curve about new technologies and tactics.  Others give us insights into trends and breaking news that we would be hard pressed to discover without the help of social apps.  And some of the things we do/use are for pure enjoyment.

The following is an inventory or sorts.  It is a list of the tools that we use everyday and a description of how we use them.  We are sharing this to give you a better idea of how we are embracing social media to make our business better but is not intended to be a blueprint for your business.  Your needs and goals may require that you rework this mix of tools and maybe even how you use them.

Tell us how you are using social media to benefit your business by commenting below.  We want to learn from you and your experiences as well.

The Vestor Logic Blog

Certainly the hub in our business model

The Vestor Logic blog serves up our original content and allows us to share our insights into the ever-developing social media landscape.  We post weekly and will increase our frequency now that we have finished the development of a few other internal projects that have been huge time-sucks as of late.  Our model is simple: create content on the VL blog and syndicate it through the various social outposts that we have created.  Though our team has been at the forefront of social media for a number of years (we launched the first social network dedicated to real estate investors in Feb 2004: see The Investor Nexus), our Vestor Logic brand is relatively new having just launched in August 2009.  We are still building out our foundation and further defining our marketing strategy just like many other companies.

The Vestor Logic site and blog are powered by a Content Management System (CMS) called WordPress.  We host the site on our own servers and recognize the effort as one that will never truly be complete.  We constantly tweak pages, add new widgets, and refine the message for our visitors.  WordPress as a CMS makes this process easy.  The learning curve is short and almost anyone can master the basics in a short time.  The other big benefit of WordPress for us is the collection of plugins that offer social functions like Sociable, Tweetmeme and WWSGD.  These plugins provide great functions to our site and cost nothing to use.

Facebook Profiles

We post to our personal profiles several times a day

Jessica (Jessica’s profile) and I (Tim’s profile) both have Facebook profiles that we use primarily to stay in touch with our friends.  Of course, this counts for business too as many of our clients are friends or are referred to us by our friends.  We post multiple times throughout the day on a variety of topics but try to keep the business talk to a minimum.  Of course, we do share cool tips and tricks with our friends for some of the more popular social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.  Both of us are passionate about other things.  For me it’s hiking and I share pics and accounts of my trips on my profile page.  Jessica has artistic roots.  Her posts cover the spectrum of cool and unusual topics.  She is a great follow for anyone looking for a laugh or smile during your workday!

Facebook Fan Page

We update the Fan Page a few times each day

The Vestor Logic Fan Page is a testing ground for us.  We test different tactics relating to design and functionality in an ongoing effort to stay ahead of the curve and provide the best advice for our clients.  We regularly post links to interesting articles from our favorite blogs, thought leaders and news aggregators.  We post links to our new blog entries and maintain an active stream from www.TimMiner.com covering my ramblings on everything from social media to hiking to kids and family.

Twitter

I use Seesmic on my desktop and my Blackberry to check the Twitter stream multiple times each day

Our Twitter account is used primarily to research the current trends in social media and uncover the news sources (i.e. blog posts) that are covering those trends.  We use Twitter to test drive concepts with other social media pros and to syndicate our own content from the Vestor Logic blog.  We see Twitter as a news source and a testing ground for ideas.  Our experience suggests that the value is far greater for those activities than it is for generating sales.  But to be fair, we mostly follow social media people and do not focus on building a following for potential customers.  Your experiences may bear more fruit from sales initiatives if you target more individuals that could be potential customers.  Our Facebook page also posts to our Twitter stream.

LinkedIn

I visit the site several times a day and try to post at least one update each day

We have a company listing on LinkedIn for Vestor Logic and I also maintain my own profile.  We connect with other social media folks, each of our clients and prospects, the members of our past projects like Investment Riches and all of our referral sources.  I participate in various groups and maintain close ties to many of my classmates from college on LinkedIn.  We have had a fair number of referrals come from our relationships on LinkedIn, most coming from connections made years ago that now see what we are doing in social media thanks to the updates that we publish regularly.

YouTube

Our YouTube activity is just beginning – look for our new video series “Social 60″

There really isn’t any excuse for not posting video on a regular basis.  I wish had some great reason for not doing it.  But I don’t!  We have been busy building our Vestor Logic outposts and YouTube fell to the bottom half of the list.  But we are working on it now.  We are launching a video series called “Social 60″ which is a video format that will allow me to rant on the top social media issues for 60 second clips and encourage responses and feedback.  I don’t expect these videos to provide clearly defined answers up front but rather to create a place for us to discuss the hot topics of the day and encourage others to share their opinions.  Together we will reach more of a consensus and perhaps all learn something.  Look for a few new videos each week.

Micro-blog: www.TimMiner.com

This is my safe place to test ideas

It usually takes Jessica and I a few days to work through a new idea or concept or to reach an opinion on a new platform (like Google Buzz) that just launched.  The micro-blog allows us to do two things: explore the value of Posterous (which is the backbone of the micro-blog) and test ideas that are not yet ready for the Vestor Logic blog.  I also post pics from my hikes and backpacking trips, share interesting links to stories I find, and share my joy as a father of a 19 month old little boy.

Yammer

Yammer is our own private Twitter platform

I jumped on Yammer the middle of 2009 and have found that its value to Vestor Logic is really that of a link repository.  I use a bookmarklet labeled “Yam It!” to archive links to interesting blog posts or articles or web pages and then check back later to review them in more detail.  The most effective practice however is to use hashtags to organize my link submissions by topic and most importantly by client.  I am working on the structure of a one day Discovery Workshop for a client right now.  I have more than 25 archived links that point to blog posts and articles that are relevant to their event.  I will go back about a week before the event and revisit each one turning many into slides for the event.  I have found this practice to be very effective and it allows me to share all of it with my team.

Picasa + Flickr

I love photos!

I have nearly 15,000 images on my laptop (and a backup copy on Google using web albums in Picasa for just $20 a year!).  I take pictures at each event we are part of, all presentations, every hike I embark on, all family events, and just about anything else I can think of.  Up to this point, I have been storing all the personal stuff on my laptop install of Picasa.  But recently, I changed my strategy to incorporate Flickr.  Moving forward, I will use Picasa for personal images mostly and Flickr for the business stuff.  Of course, there will be some spill over as I find it very difficult to delineate between work and personal.

Google Docs

A great way to share and collaborate on documents

Jessica and I have been using Google Docs for a long time.  We collaborate on project specs, new page content for the website, new blog posts, just about anything you can do in Word or Excel.  We use the Form tool to create presentation evaluations.  Now that Google Docs allows you to upload ANY file to Docs and the storage is so cheap it makes it very easy to aggregate most of our docs on the Google platform.

Google Analytics

The best free tool for website owners in my opinion

We have a Google Analytics account that monitors all three of our web properties which provides priceless insights into visitor behavior.  This application allows us to make changes and modifications to our websites to improve on the experience for all of our visitors.  It also provides feedback on which social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Email Campaigns, AdWords) are referring the most traffic.  We look at Analytics every week.

Google Reader

RSS feeds are our lifeline!

I currently have 138 subscriptions in my reader.  They produce somewhere between 400-500 new articles a day and cover social media, real estate, general interest, business, hiking, and even our ECHO.  Our ECHO folder is a collection of RSS feeds that monitor platforms like Google Blog Search, Google keyword alerts, Twitter Search, Icerocket Blog Search, and each of our own RSS feeds for mentions of our brand.  This is a great way to establish a basic listening channel for monitoring the chatter about your company.  I spend about 90 minutes a day scanning the feeds, starring items, and reading about the topics that matter to me.  This may be one of the most important functions I perform each day.

SlideRocket

SlideRocket is PowerPoint on steroids!

We use SlideRocket for all of our presentations and also for the image galleries on our site like the Portfolio page.  They just recently released some social plugins including a live Twitter stream that can be integrated into live presentations.  The best feature for us is the portability of the presentations and the fact that they are housed online accessible from any web browser.  Of course, there is also the choice of linking to your presentations online using a link or simply embedding it into any blog post or web page.  Very cool application!

Seesmic

Our desktop and mobile Twitter and Facebook interface

We have used many of the popular Twitter clients including HootSuite and Tweetdeck but have found Seesmic to be the most comfortable.  They all do most of the same things and there are tons of reviews out there already for each, but I think it is a personal preference.  Bottom line – I like Seesmic!

Feedburner

RSS management and promotion made easy

Each of our three web properties is armed with a Feedburner feed to manage the subscriptions and promotion of the site RSS feeds for posts and comments.  If you want to step up the value of your feeds you need to take a close look at Feedburner which is another Google product.

Mobile Apps on the Blackberry

I use mobile a great deal but I expect that usage to increase

I find that I am using my Blackberry Bold more and more to connect to my social outposts.  There are apps for almost everything.  It will only get better (for Blackberry users specifically) as the development of apps continue to provide a functional experience similar to what we get on our laptops or desktops.  Currently, I use mobile apps for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google (which includes Picasa, Docs, Maps) and WordPress.  I access a least half of these everyday if not more.

bit.ly

Keep it short!

Bit.ly is a URL shortening service that allows you to take those really long URLs and shorten them into something manageable.  The service also tracks the metrics for each of your links showing you which content has the best reach or was most effective at reaching an audience.  We see this as a nice compliment to the data we track using Google Analytics.  I don’t visit our Bit.ly account as much as I should but will certainly do so more often now that we are running at full steam.

In testing…

Both of us are constantly testing new apps and programs.  Currently, I have a list of about 25 that I am getting to know better and the following three have excited me the most in recent days.  Feel free to check these out too and see if they fit for your business strategy.

  • Swix – a social metrics dashboard of sorts
  • Social Network Integration in Outlook – a cool way to connect Outlook to LinkedIn (and Facebook soon!)
  • SpredFast – a cradle to grave social marketing platform created by friend Scott with robust management and analysis capabilities

So what are you doing?

How are you managing your social marketing efforts?  Are you doing the same things we are?  What are you doing differently?  We want to know…besides, I showed you mine so now you need to show me yours!

NNADV Leadership Series: Social Media and Non-profits

The following is a presentation for the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence.  This organization works with more than a dozen outreach programs in Nevada that provide services to individuals impacted by domestic violence.  As a progressive organization, they have created a Leadership Series, featuring presentations and training for their future leaders to ensure that the success of their movement is realize.  We are very honored to be part of this.

I was asked to present on the use of social media in both for-profit and non-profit organizations and to share our insights on the emerging trends within the social media space.  This presentation, including the notes and the complete slide deck, have been made available to you as well.  We will be adding audio to each slide next week so please return to experience the full impact of this presentation.

Click here for the full .pdf presentation notes and sources with links

Working with Vestor Logic

If you would like to have Vestor Logic present this presentation to your non-profit organization, just contact us.  We can also create a custom presentation for your specific needs.  Tell us how we can help.

* info@vestorlogic.com
* (702) 321-0790

Managing your social media expectations

I speak to our clients hundreds of times throughout our relationship together.  The conversations range from minutia to broad strokes on strategy and without fail the dialogue takes on a life of its own as we delve deeper into the specifics of the client’s strategy.

Often, my generalized ideas about how to help my clients reach success with social media change as I learn more about their business processes and from the information shared during our discovery process.  What starts out as a clear cut idea for success is regularly tested as we move forward.

So how can a social media practitioner, someone that a company turns to for advice and guidance, ensure that the advice they bring to the table is going to stand the test of time?

Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned and most importantly some of the touch points that we focus on to make sure we can help our clients get the most out of their experience with us:

Determine exactly what you (or your client) wants from social media

You can call it goal setting, expectations, results, ROI or any number of other things.  But the fact remains, to help anyone formulate a plan for utilizing social media you must understand exactly what results are expected.  It could be as simple as getting noticed within their peer group or as complex as streamlining their internal business processes across all departments.  You can’t take a shot in the dark, there is no room for slinging crap against the wall and waiting to see what sticks.

Frame your strategy

I think we all know that a strategy is just the beginning.  A great strategy is useless without proper execution and a commitment to rework the strategy as change happens.  The act of posting and being active in social environments alone is destined to fail without a sound strategy to guide your activity.

One of the most crucial activities we engage in with our clients is to frame a strategy focused on the outcomes that our clients are seeking, and to testing that strategy continuously as we move forward.  It is imperative that everyone, whether an individual or a large company,  have that strategy in mind to focus their efforts on actions that are most likely to serve the end goals.  Look at all options, read case studies of those that have come before you, test ideas where possible and try to create a strategy that accounts for as many variables as possible.

A good strategy will include a detailed overview of the goals, ROI benchmarks, players and assets that will be utilized, SEO keywords to target, a profile of the people or businesses that you want to connect and interact with, the social assets that will be necessary to carryout the strategy, the landing pages on your website or blog that will be targeted, and many other key points.

Consistently execute to the details of your strategy

The real work begins once the social media strategy has been created, the key points discussed and tested when possible, and the company is ready to begin executing on the strategy.  Too often, a strategy is created and then the passion begins to wane.  It’s hard work to look at all of the options that COULD work and determine what should be done.

Success in social media will only be possible if you commit to pursuing your strategy with a consistent and diligent effort.  This means taking action that is in concert with your strategy on a daily basis.  You must connect to people and companies that are complimentary to your goals and you must foster an interaction with them in order to see any results.  It takes time and it rarely comes from little effort.

I like the way Chris Brogan described it in a post about a year ago (read the full post titled Remember the Root Goal):

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Right?”

Anyone seeking to harness the power of the new social economy must keep this in mind.  Like any other endeavor, it takes diligence and a commitment to continue to push forward.  You never know where your big opportunities will come from or when they will be presented to you.

Don’t expect too much in the short run

One of the biggest hurdles we face as a company that advises others on the use of social media is managing the expectation for success.  Of course, the strategy that we helped create will define what success means but it is often difficult to apply an accurate time line to when success will materialize.  The variables that determine this include the amount of effort that is applied and the willingness for the company to make changes to their strategy as reality and opportunity dictate.

The bottom line is not to expect too much in the short run.

Be flexible

Social activity online is like any other relationship in that you have to nurture it over time, build trust with those that you interact with and then be there when they need you or your services.  Companies that understand this know that it is imperative to make changes to the strategy as flaws are realized or when the landscape changes.  Be flexible and don’t fear situations that may present themselves or assume they are obstacles to your success.  Instead, rethink your strategy and modify it to your advantage.  Very seldom will you find that you hit a wall that you simply cannot climb, or better yet, navigate around.

Fail like Google: “failing fast, but failing smart,”

Ok.  It may sounds naive for me to say that everything can be addressed or used to your advantage but for the most part I have found that to be true.  If you do find that your social activities have produced a reality for you or your organization that cannot be overcome, you do have a Plan B. 

Fail like Google. 

Their mantra of failing fast, but failing smart should resonate with all business owners. Know when to cut your losses and try a different tact. It is better to change course quickly than to continue to apply tactics or a strategy that is proving to be flawed.

We’re not suggesting you simply abandon social media if your goals aren’t being met instantly. Go back to the strategy and reassess. Figure out why an anticipated outcome isn’t happening, and adjust your tactics.

Your social media success certainly comes with a price. Invest the time in the beginning to define what you are willing to do, what your are willing to commit to creating success online. Being prepared will certainly serve your company better than just entering the social media arena with all guns blazing and no plan to speak of.

The big questions are:

  • What does it take for you to be successful with social media?
  • What are you willing to commit for a chance at success? At growth? At securing your company’s future online?
  • What are your goals for participation?
  • How are you going to get there?

Image courtesy of chichacha

Social Media – Where do I start?

This social media guide is designed to provide you with a focused list of personal initiatives that you can attempt to tackle in 45 minutes each day to promote the social media strategy for your organization.

The key to success with social media is to create and maintain active relationships with others. It’s about conversations and the exchange of ideas and information. Just like real life, your digital life requires attention and participation.

DAILY MAINTENANCE
Estimated Time to Complete: 10 mins
Visit the profiles that you are responsible for and scan for interactions. You may find questions directed to you, connection requests from new contacts, or topics posed by your existing connections that you can respond to.

  • Accept/Decline/Ignore new contact requests
  • Respond to all direct messages
  • Search for mentions (@username) and join the conversation

SHARING
Estimated Time to Complete: 20 mins
Post to your profiles to share relevant developments at your organization or to share news about the industry in general.

  • Post 5 original posts to each profile throughout the day
  • Reply or comment on 5 posts made by your friends/followers
  • Share corporate news, industry news, showcase a client’s success, introduce a team member to your friends/followers
  • Scan your favorite industry sites for relevant news to share in an update or blog post

NETWORKING
Estimated Time to Complete: 15 mins
Make new connections every day by monitoring the conversations within your group of contacts or using the search feature on the social network.

  • Connect to 5 new people each day that interest you
  • Connect to 5 new people each day that you think YOU can help
  • Connect to 5 new people each day that have replied to one of your posts or the posts of your friends/followers

What’s the value of your efforts over the course of a full year?
If we assume 20 working days a month and 12 months a year, then that would yield 240 work days a year. Based on that calculation at a minimum you would create the following:

  • 1200 original posts on each profile
  • 1200 replies
  • 1200 new interesting contacts
  • 1200 new contacts that you can help
  • 1200 new active contacts

Of course, your networks should be significantly larger than that due to the network effect – people will find you as well based on your posts and the dialogue that you have created with others. If you blog in addition to the activities outlined above, you will need to devote additional time to crafting a few posts each week. It is hard for most people to find time to post to a blog every day, but you can assume that a well conceived blog post will require at least an hour to complete. The good news is that a great blog post is a perfect thing to share with your friends and followers online and can be linked to from your Tweets or Status Updates.

The Social Media Dialogue: It's Not About You!

We have been working on a new presentation to address some of the basic questions that we get from nearly every consulting client we work with. Questions like:

* Is social media a fad?
* How big is the movement into social media?
* Why should we care?

So we started to create this presentation and will continue to build upon it with more stats and evidence to make the case for anyone that is interested. Enjoy!