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Social Media for Business Checklist

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Photo of Dana LangeSo is social media a fad?  A few years ago there was a “gold rush” to establish a presence on the web.  Every business just had to make their claim on the internet real estate by setting up a website.

 

Just build it and they will come.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  Today the “gold rush” is claiming a presence in social media. Facebook page? Check! Twitter account? Check! Healthy following of engaged consumers who are loyal to your brand? Eh, not so much!

Don’t get me wrong, your business needs a website and needs a presence on social media.  So how do you get the most out of social media?  Here are a few key tips to successfully using social media for your business.

 

Know Your Strategy

You wouldn’t produce a television commercial for your business if you didn’t have a plan.  Why do you think you can jump into social media without one?

  1. Know who you are targeting.  What does your ideal client look like?  What are they interested in?
  2. Know why you are there.  Do you want to build credibility?  Do you want to increase sales?  Do you want feedback from your customers?
  3. Know what you want your audience to do.  Do you want them to go to your blog?  Do you want them to sign up for your email campaign?  Do you want them to purchase your widget?

 

 

Have a plan

Hopefully you didn’t open your business without a business plan and surely you have a marketing plan.  Social media is just another aspect of your marketing plan.

  1. Make sure your marketing is consistent.  No matter where your customers turn, they should get the same message.  Look at your print, mailing, email campaigns, television ads, etc. and make sure they all convey the same message.  Your social media should come along side each of these to provide support and share the same message.
  2. Make a plan for implementation.  Consistency is critical.  Posting 30 times one day on twitter and none the next is not the best way to market.  Use tools like Hootsuite to plan your communications throughout the day.

 

Content is King

I don’t care if you are the coolest thing since sliced bread, you’re not that interesting.  Make sure to provide content from other sources that complement your strategy.

  1. Use Google Reader or Google Alerts to set up RSS feeds from great blogs or industry news.
  2. Let people know what you do, but don’t shout it.  Your sales pitch should be no more than 20% of your communications.  The rest of your communications should be interesting tips or ideas that your interests your audience.
  3. Be human.  People do business with people, not with businesses.  Make sure to share human stories or personal quips.  This will engage your audience at a much deeper level.

 

Engage and Interact

The first word in social media is social.  No one likes to talk to the blow hard at a party that capitalizes the entire conversation.  A wise social media expert told me once, “Don’t do anything online that you wouldn’t do offline.”  That is sage advice.

  1. Ask your audience open ended questions.  Make sure it leads you into a conversation about your area of expertise.
  2. Spend time conversing about people’s favorite subject, themselves.
  3. Provide value.  Whether you provide breaking news or industry updates, make sure the communication is value added with no strings attached.

 

Social media is just another tool for communicating, connecting, and growing your brand.  Break the rules previously covered at your own risk. Make your own checklist and work to mark everything off. After you’ve gotten to where you wanted to be in six months, measure your success, interpret the results and make another list. The best thing about social media is just how scalable it is. You’ll never reach a plateau if you have mapped out your goals because all you have to do is create a new checklist.

Dana Lange

Dana J. Lange is a marketing consultant and an expert in using social media for business. Dana has extensive experience in real estate and investing, currently acting as Executive Director of the Investor Alliance Asset Management Group. Additionally, Dana provides social media consulting for various business clients.

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52 comments

  1. EmmaGeraln /

    Good advice, I’m no marketing expert but I have watched with amusement (and sometimes irritation) and some companies (often large organisations) try and fail to to use internet and more recently social media.

    • Dana J Lange /

       That is so true Emma.  Of course when you look at some company’s print and television marketing, they can also leave a bit to be desired.

  2. Liz Pullen /

    Some good tips, Dana. Excellent advice to follow for anyone creating a social media strategy. 

  3. layanglicana /

    For me, the most telling piece of advice in this -very good- piece is ‘be human’! As a former bureaucrat where every hint of individuality had to be removed from all our output, it is a relief to be allowed to be human for a change and yes, I am finding that by not insisting only on my main message, people are more than willing to engage with me.

    •  So well put.  There are tons of companies that either do it themselves or hire someone to post endlessly for them.  No conversations.  No engagement.  Not working.

  4. Tedora /

     Thank you Dana for sharing your interesting article.

    I would love to add 2 points to yours.

    1. Strategy or business plans are sure very important and helpful but
    remember also to feel the social media’s sensibility , then you are on
    the right virtuel road

    Regards

  5. Amber Treto /

    Kudos on a very well-written article. I will be personally using many of your tips. You’ve generated a great and simple outline that can help even the most social media-phobic person. 

  6. Thank you Dana for sharing your interesting article.

    I would love to add 2 points to yours.

    1. Strategy or business plans are sure very important and helpful but remember also to feel the social media’s sensibility , then you are on the right virtuel road.

    2. Keep wherever you are your authenticity. Your clients will thank you for.

    Regards
     

    •  Yes Fatimea, it is a balance of strategy and “feel”.  Too many people do neither.  A good mix of original content, shared content, engagement, and personal authenticity make a big difference.  And I will add, authenticity is absolutely huge!  People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

  7. I’m sure I read all of this somewhere before in parts
    You did great here by putting the maybe 4 most important points together
    Thank you for sharing

  8. Absolutely!… Absolutely!… Absolutely!…I started in web design over 14 years ago. Only 1mil PAGES on the net. I saw the rush of biz sites. I was involved in the rush of biz sites. I saw the rush for biz to build their own in FrontPage! OMG and some of them are still there! No idea, No idea at all. Things have not changed. The ‘Fad’ of Social Media is the same. Biz has No idea, No idea at all.. they flounder about like sheep copying what they see. LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS FOLKS!!! Follow all the advice Dana has offered you here FREE and go seek a professional! One with a track record or at least on your same wavelength.

    I was laughed at way back when I predicted video on sites all types of sites would be HUGE. Look at it now. Apps my friends is the next underutilized  BIG THING! Get onto it with a professional YES, one you pay!

    My final word.. Content!. Content! Content!… And remember your biz website is there for your clients, customers both existing and potential. They want to find ALL the info quickly. Your site is not there to win your web designer awards or for their own gratification!

    •  Well said Greg.  Anyone can do social media and create a presence.  The real question is do you really want to spend your time and effort doing that?  And how much is your time worth?  It will take most people 15 hours a week and at least 6 months to get a handle on social media for business.  For $600 a month you can save yourself 60 hours of work and 6 months.

      • Yes Dana, anyone can BUT how effective is it!. Most of them are wasting their time  that they should be spending ON their biz. The one they know something about and leave their online presence to the experts who make a living from it! As you say $600 or even a $1000/ mth will not only save wasted time but work!

    • I didn’t know you were a web designer Bep. I got started coding HTML by hand too, probably shortly after you did. I don’t know the exact date, but I had just been learning HTML for a few months when the Government turned over Domain registration to ICANN.

      Do you still work as a web designer?

      • Ah yes Adam… Hand coding nothing like it! It still to this day amazes me how I write a few lines of code and ‘Shazam’ there is a design and pics and info and all manner of things that go whizz and bang!

        I stopped about 2yrs ago Adam. I leave it to the the young guys who have the speed and time to keep up with all the changes BUT one thing that doesn’t change are all the points Dana has listed.

        Take Care M8

  9. Dana, I think you did a great job of presenting a clear outline and some very specific suggestions.  Identifying strategy is critical or, as you said, it’s easy to end up with a web presence, but no engagement from those you wanted to reach.  You laid out some good steps to get there.

  10. Anne thomas /

    Excellent excellent points. Thank you. I especially liked the point about keeping the marketing messages at 20%.

    •  Anne I think 20% is too much, but that would be the maximum.  Some businesses are more message sensitive than others.  We hear you already, no need to shout.

      • I believe that you do best when your marketing message is 0.25%. 400 word article that proves you’re reliable and knowledgable will sell yourself far better than any self promotion spiel, and the single link at the bottom will let the people who need to do business with you figure out the rest. The great part about the Internet is that clients will come to you. You don’t have to continually sell yourself. They will look for you, they’ll find you, and they’ll pay you.

        •  I so agree Adam!  20% is the upper limit.  I find at least 50% or more of companies are well over that figure.  If you’re doing it right, people seek you out.

  11. nice one Dana and good advice.

    I guess one day I’ll have to work out my plan :-)

    • Dana J Lange /

       I highly recommend a plan Terry, if in fact you are using social media for business.  From what I can tell, you do a pretty nice job.

  12. Jhonnykmusic /

    This was really helpful…. going to refer back to this for my album push here soon

  13. Swarren08 /

    Great article, the information is just what I needed!

  14. Dana made this list as simple as possible because it’s these simple steps that are most often neglected by businesses venturing into the digital space. The mistakes that come from ignoring these rules are the ones that cause the biggest disasters.

    I would advise everyone to print off this list and read it every Monday just to refresh your memory about what’s important.

    You know what the sweetest sound in the English language is? Your name. There is nothing new about social media, be genuine and be nice. You might as well be a barber or waiter, this is a people business.

    So set your goals, make a plan to accomplish those goals, don’t just tell pople how much they could use your help, show them, and be a person tht people want to be around during the whole time.

  15.  Thank you Liz for taking the time to read and comment.

  16. Great article!! No doubt that this is not only the best guide line for Social Media professional but also all other professional. For each and every professional especially those who are just started or going to start. Appreciated your great effort and thanks to shared with us. Wishing you all the best !! 

  17. rictownsend /

    I like the post it is great advice! 

    Random thoughts stimulated by reading your article:

    I also use Google reader and Google alert. Social Oomph is great to get notified for tweets on your topic of interest. I also think you need two Twitter accounts, one to ‘broadcast’ and one to interact on. There are various methods to grow your broadcast channel and although interaction is important you still need to grow a large following in the broadcast channel. 

    Quality of course is in the mind of the reader and I know that I have spent a long time preparing what I would consider valuable information and been lucky to get two or three re-tweets. I’ll then post a hackneyed old proverb and it will spread like wildfire. 

    You need to put general information out there on your industry not just updates on your product or service.

    Blogs are I think very important however many posts I see are too long, use a small font and have a boring layout. It’s always good to have some key points in a large font and use an original graphic/photo.

    I read recently that Coke gets many more hits on its Facebook page than it does on its website so I think a large and expensive website can be a huge a waste of money.

    Ric – orglearn

    •  Ric – we’ve all put out “fantastic” content to have it fall on deaf ears.  I’m not convinced the dual channel on twitter is appropriate for most companies.  I agree with the blogs, good true content.  I know you are way more savvy on content and twitter than I am, so I will deffer to you.  Thank you for commenting.

  18. Nicely done Dana.  Excellent post.  You hit all the bullet points, kept it interesting and kept it brief.  Thanks for the tips.

  19. Some great tips there Dana, and very simple and easily read. This part is very important and mostly overlooked –
    Your sales pitch should be no more than 20% of your communications. You are so right –  I would say 10% is ample. None of us want adverts thrown at us every 5mins, but you’ll remember if that helpful person once said about where to get the best phones. (or something) :)  Thanks. 

  20. Great advice, Dana. These tips should be at the top of the list for every business venturing into social media.

  21. This is some really good advice and thankfully I’m doing most of it. Granted, I learned by years of trial and error and I made a lot of mistakes along the way.  You’ve laid it out so someone just coming into the social media world has a roadmap.  Nice work!

  22. Thank you Dana. An informative read .. great checklist actually.  Thank you Adam for sharing this blog with me :) 

  23. This is really interesting sharing Dana, I agree with you about the consistency, one day with 30 tweets and no tweet the next day :D
    I always have trouble with tweeter, I don’t have any idea why ….

  24. Excellent tips and straight to the point. Thanks so much for sharing your social media expertise :)

  25. I am a real example, a few months back I was taking my Organic Jewelry Business online, I was so confused and terrified. Just like everyone else I knew there is social media and people are growing through it but didn’t know much what to do and I needed an expert that is when I found Dana Lange he took time to understand and gave me few of his secret strategies, some of them he has shared in this article… which I applied and thankfully I am growing today :)

    Thank you Dana Lange may you grow more with the speed of light, You deserve it!

    • Awesome post Abdul. Dana is a real social media player – it’s his mode of operation. He has had a strategy since day 1, but you wouldn’t know it. You’d just think that he was having fun on Facebook. Almost everyone respects him, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like him. Can you say Social Media Winning?

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