There’s a lot of talk about social media and how we all need to be “connected” for business as well as pleasure, but when I’m asked what I recommend in terms of social media strategy my response is always the same: what is your expected return on investment? That will then drive the level of activity and the platform(s) you choose. For me, my goal is to make $10,000 per month in consulting and speaking business via social networking sites, and I usually achieve it (primarily via LinkedIn). In case you’re thinking about ramping up your social media efforts, here’s a few thought starters on what has worked for me:
- Choose your platform wisely. My social media hinges around LinkedIn,
which I was an early adopter of and because my target clients are businesses,
event planners and gender diversity practitioners in the corporate sphere. These audiences happen to be on LinkedIn. A
lot. Some of them are on Facebook,
but many aren’t, so it doesn’t make sense for me to put a lot of effort into
that. And they’re increasingly on
twitter, so I link my twitter
and LinkedIn profiles to synchronize updates.
- Make your profile work for you. You can start with your CV, but your
online profile should be sharp, catchy, BRIEF
and targeted to your desired audiences.
It should also be relevant to your CURRENT
career focus – so while you want to include your work history, don’t go
into detail on those areas where you’re not currently attempting to capture
- Stand out and be different. Lots of people comment on my LinkedIn tagline – “As the SheEO, I'm obsessed with achieving
gender balanced leadership and Australia's thought leader on gender diversity”
– which is exactly what I want them to do! They often send me a message like “you’re the first SheEO
I’ve met” or “love your passion” or “what a great obsession”. Now chances are you're not a SheEO! But whatever
you do, your profile should point out what is unique and different about you,
and it should convey your professional value proposition.
- Actively look to build your network. To do this you can search and contact
former colleagues, study alumni, members of your professional associations or
just friends and family. Send
invitations, and get involved in their posts. Ask them to “like” or “recommend” you, and do the same for
them. Follow Groups/pages/profiles
that are a good fit with your target audience. Contribute to discussions that
demonstrate your expertise, and attract more followers. Build up brownie points with your
followers by giving them your content and expertise, and respecting them as contacts
but not necessarily customers (HINT:
mass mailing your contacts to directly promote your products and services is
generally unappealing in the online world!)
- Match your activity with your desired outcomes. If you just want your
online profiles to be a simple way to stay connected with your business
networks, you obviously won’t need to put in as much effort as I do to generate
regular, ongoing revenue. But if revenue is a goal, you'll need to put in some effort. To meet
my targets usually involves a weekly blog
post, which I link to twitter, LinkedIn and a Facebook business page as
updates or posts, usually using Sendible
to schedule periodical links to the same article (in case my audience misses it
the first time, I give them a couple more chances in the following weeks). I also comment on, or retweet, up to 20
posts from contacts I follow each week, that I consider will be relevant to my
followers too. This sharing counts, when it comes to social networks.
- Start with one platform, and add others if/when you’re ready. I’m of the view that
it’s better to have one solid, active network than several patchy ones and this
has certainly worked in my business.
So if you’re not using any social media yet, then pick one. Get it right, and then consider whether
you add more. I was an early adopter
of LinkedIn and have been there since the very early days (there’s currently
over 100 million users, and I was the 4,091,343th user to subscribe back in
2005!) So I got this profile
active and working for me, before moving on to twitter. Facebook
I’ve just started playing with, I’m not on Google+
yet, and I haven’t even looked at Pinterest
! There are other local networks
and groups you might subscribe to, like those created by business to capture or
encourage your customer engagement.
I don’t do much on these, I find that generally the effort doesn’t pay
- Just get started! Sure, it might seem like a mammoth undertaking but the only way to move forward is to… move forward! If you get stuck, ask for help! Google is your best friend when it comes to the technical questions. And there’s always going to be someone you know who can help you out.
So ... has this prompted any ideas or enthusiasm to get online? Or perhaps you have another tip you can share here?
If this sounds good in theory but you want someone to “help you do it” instead of “telling you how” then let me know – if there’s enough interest I’d be happy to run some tutorials and could do this in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Kuala Lumpur in the coming weeks and months as I have speaking trips (thanks to LinkedIn!) in each of those cities coming up.