There's really not a guide, per say, for Social Media. A lot of folks would like to tell you what to do on social media or share their winning strategy… but I've seen it work differently for virtually every company we've worked with. Today, Erik Deckers shared this tweet with me from Alexander Klotz:
Resources are a challenge for everyone… including my small business. Our goal is to put put an email a week, two blog posts a day, and carry on conversations throughout Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. We're failing miserably! It's such a challenge that we're hiring another resource soon at our social media agency just to try to keep up. That's a direct expense to the company that probably won't directly result in a return on investment… but over time, I'm sure it will.
There are a lot of resources out there on the topic. I tend to lean in favor of Jay Baer, Jason Falls and Michael Stelzner over folks like Hubspot for social media advice. While I think the folks at Hubspot are brilliant, their content strategy is an overly-charged inbound marketing strategy. They share information to drive leads to their own company. Jay, Jason and Michael do a great job of staying someone vendor averse (they'll openly describe their sponsors) but focus on the issue at hand and possible resolutions.
In fact, the timing is great for Alex – to attend Michael's Small Business Social Media Success Summit at the end of this month. The summit stars 22 social media pros teaching business owners and marketers how to master social media marketing (brought to you by Social Media Examiner). Presenters include Jeremiah Owyang (Altimeter Group), Brian Solis (author, Engage), Frank Eliason (Citigroup), Mari Smith (co-author, Facebook Marketing), Erik Qualman (author, Socialnomics), Michael Stelzner (founder, Social Media Examiner), Dan Zarella (author, The Social Media Marketing Book), Andy Sernovitz (author, Word of Mouth Marketing), David Meerman Scott (author, Real-Time Marketing & PR); experts from Boeing, Intel, Cisco and Verizon; Jay Baer (co-author, The Now Revolution), Hollis Thomases (Author, Twitter Marketing), Steve Garfield (author, Get Seen), Mario Sundar (from LinkedIn), and Ann Handley (MarketingProfs)–just to name a few. (Disclosure: That's my affiliate link).
Here are my tips on managing social media without resources:
- Exposure to many resources is much better than one. Don't follow any one so-called guru. We all work with different companies and have seen some strategies win, some lose… and many times the same exact strategy win AND lose. Spend 15 minutes a day perusing their articles and conversations.
- Find your audience. Following leaders, colleagues, and even competitors in your industry is a fantastic way to gain access to the audience you're looking for. Follow them on Twitter, Like them on Facebook, add them to Circles in Google+, and even join some LinkedIn groups. The opportunity to join conversations once you do this will be enormous. Spend 15 minutes a day in the conversation that's important to you and your business.
- Plant your flag. If you want to be a leader, tell folks you're the leader and why. You don't have to wait to be named… you'll be waiting for a long time. I encourage the small businesses that I work with to blog, speak, and display their authority. A blog provides a central repository for people to visit and read more about you and your experience – so they can determine whether or not to do business. Speaking instantly provides recognition of your authority… even if you suck at first at it! And displaying your authority through sharing sites like Slideshare are fantastic. Spend 20 minutes a day creating content.
- Promote yourself. Don't just write a post, tweet or update and expect people to come. You have to take the reigns of your own promotion. Spend 10 minutes a day promoting your content. At first, this may even be soliciting opportunities to guest blog, speak or even buying advertisements to get the word out!
I don't spend all day on Social Media… although it may look like it. I schedule blog posts and deploy tools like Buffer to trickle out Tweets and Facebook updates at optimal times. Having a smartphone with all my social media apps updating is great – when I can squeeze a few minutes here and there between meetings, on the road, or having a cup of coffee I can participate a little bit.
Lastly, this is an investment… not a purchase. Spending an hour one day isn't going to get you the results you're looking for. But spending an hour a day for a year will given that you're worth the attention! I tell people to think about it as they would any other investment… each post, each tweet, each update, each fan, each follower… they're all pennies in your account. If you stop investing, you won't get the compounded interest you need for the investment to pay off.