Tips for a Smooth Entry into the Social Media Pool

With summertime nearly here, many of us (hopefully) are thinking about relaxing days at the pool. Speaking of pools, it is the perfect way to describe the vastness of social media and networking – like a giant swimming pool. Much like swimming, social media can be a lot of fun but not if you’re cast into the pool unaware or unprepared.

Why? The vastness of social media, the difficulty in unifying communications across platforms and channels, the 24×7 rapid-fire pace of communication…and the fact that everyone, yes everyone, has a microphone make it worthwhile to plan before you jump or belly-flop from the high dive (ouch!) while everyone is watching.

Consider these five social media swimming tips from the lifeguards here at Round Social Marketing:

  1. Develop a strategy. Yep, this one is so logical that you wouldn’t think we even need to include it! But, the lure of social media and the benefits it can offer tempt many folks into setting up Twitter accounts, corporate pages on Facebook, blogs and more without the slightest thought to how these tools will integrate with current marketing…and who will maintain them. Before launching anything, road map your goals, resources and initiatives – and then think of how social media can complement them.
  2. Start by listening. No one likes the guy (or girl) at the party who talks endlessly about how great he (or she) is. Extrapolate this scenario to social media. Once your strategy is in place, subscribe to industry-specific blogs, RSS feeds and groups on LinkedIn. Pay attention to the conversations before participating so you can make more meaningful contributions.
  3. Alert yourself to relevant conversations. A favorite tool of mine is Google Alerts. You need nothing more than a validated email address with Google to get started. From there, enter key phrases and words that you’d like to track online. Obvious ones include: brand name, c-level executives, competitors and relevant key phrases. You can control the pace of the email alerts so you aren’t overwhelmed by emails and notifications.
  4. Make it manageable. Maybe you have fantastic information to share, but you don’t have the buy-in from management or the resources to launch your own blog. Rather than throw in the social media towel, consider reaching out to peers who maintain established blogs and ask if they accept guest posts. If your content is informative, well-written and relatively unbiased, chances are, you’ll find a home for that post.
  5. Think double-duty. Developing a social media presence requires generating information that readers find interesting and useful. But, writing truly compelling content takes time, so how do you reconcile this challenge? Create a content generation strategy that utilizes what you already have…and calls for the development of pieces that can be used in many ways. For example, if you are developing a white paper, consider making the tone breezier and breaking it into 2-4 blog posts. Those blog posts can be tweeted, added to LinkedIn, used in email signatures and more.

These tips will help you shape a social media strategy that can augment your current marketing strategy without creating a dreaded, time-sucking black hole. Even better, when you use these tips in conjunction with the policy guidelines Round outlined in an earlier post, you can feel confident that your company is presenting a socially savvy image.

Let the relaxing by the pool and kudos from the boss begin!

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