This is your Captain speaking. You see a lot of tip posts on blogs for specific social media services, which is like flying low to the ground and looking at only one thing. What I want to do here is fly up to 30,000 feet to see the social media landscape from the air and think about big picture strategy. Keep in mind I’m coming from a marketing perspective. Although I certainly do love to have fun with social media, my primary goal for using it is marketing. With that in mind, here are my 10 social media tips from 30,000 feet:
- Know why you’re using a service. I use StumbleUpon because it brings me traffic and helps me drive traffic to my friends. I use Twitter to gain influence and reach and develop mutually beneficial relationships with others. You need to know why you’re using a service: you need to know what you expect to be able to do for others and what you hope to gain.
- Know what your followers or friends want, and give it to them (that’s like 80% of the whole thing right there, seriously). I sum this up in two words: provide value. This strategy is summed up nicely in my post, How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog with StumbleUpon and Twitter.
- Cross-pollinate your friends from one social media service to another. If I tell my Twitter followers I’m on StumbleUpon or Facebook, I will get new followers “crossing over” from social media service to another.
- Use the same avatar for each service so that you’re instantly recognizable by your friends from other services. Your familiar face will catch their eye. I’ve become recognizable for my black hat picture.
- Help others unconditionally. Doing so attracts people to you and helps you be seen as an expert. I know this doesn’t seem very “markety” but that’s the point: it’s actually the best marketing you can do. If somebody showed they gave a damn and helped you solve a problem or answer a question, wouldn’t you be more inclined to follow/friend that person, maybe check out their blog?
- Automate CAREFULLY. Automation is something done excessively by social media spammers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use it. Automate to make posting less repetitive, but be extremely careful about artificially generating content. That turns people off, and turned-off people don’t buy from you. About all I do in this regard is have my blog posts automatically tweeted 2 times a day. That’s it. It’s just one small thing I do to save myself a little time.
- Form alliances with others. Form reciprocal arrangements with other people. It’s the golden rule of social media: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s also a powerful force in psychological persuasion called reciprocity. If you vote up/bookmark/retweet the contributions of people in your alliance, and they do it for you, you all gain together.
- Put in the time. If you don’t, you will not get what you want from social media. This is the hardest point for many to deal with. They just don’t have the time. My advice is to pick two social media sites that resonate with you and use them. You don’t need to be everywhere. You can cross-pollinate your friends between the two services easily.
- Take breaks. You can wear your followers and friends out if you over-use a service. They’ll get sick of you, even if you’re providing value. It’s like the social media version of that person at the party who just won’t shut up and you want to wring his neck.
- Use the right tools. Many social media services have a way for other programs to access the services’ data via the internet. This is called an API (application programming interface). Other programs can use a service’s API to make that service much easier and more appealing to use. Many social media platforms have a host of third-part tools we can use, such as TweetDeck for Twitter.
That concludes our flight at 30,000 feet. We hope you enjoyed your bird’s eye view of the social media landscape, and we hope you found these tips useful. Here’s something to remember about tips: they’re suggestions, not commands. Comments on your in-flight blog post will now be collected below as we descend back to ground. This is your Captain, Michael Martine, thanking you for flying Remarkablogger Airlines.
Photo credit: DrPleishner