Originally published in DMix Magazine (June 2011) www.dmix.be
Yes, you should definitely do the “Social Media thing” if you want to be part of the cool crowd. Write a blog, start a Facebook account, get to know Twitter, etc. But don’t be too quick though! You first need to get the right tools. It’s like going to the gym: you wouldn’t want to be seen without the right attributes, now would you? The same goes for social media: without the right tools, it will never work properly. So be prepared and make sure you have this checklist at hand:
- Twitter: no. Do not use www.twitter.com. It’s there, that’s for sure, but sending tweets “from web” will get you nowhere in the charts. You need a nice tool that allows you to tweet, search, filter and manage. Take your pick. My personal favourite is www.tweetdeck.com It works smoothly on my iPad, iPhone, laptop, and it allows me to juggle with multiple Twitter accounts, update my Facebook status and my LinkedIn status. All for free. www.hootsuite.com is a good alternative. To find influential people on Twitter (per category, country or city), or track how well you are doing yourself, check www.twittergrader.com. Want to check your true influence? Go to www.klout.com . For housekeeping, keeping track of who follows you or who does not and who stopped tweeting, use tools like www.ReFollow.com or www.haklus.com. To manage, measure and time your tweets a CRM tool is handy. I use http://spredfast.com/. I love it. It allows you to draw fabulous graphs and stats that will make you shine in the boardroom.
- Scoop-it: All that wisdom you read. Blog posts that make you think. Movies that make you laugh. Intriguing debates on forums. You collect tons of very wise things, and all your friends, family and clients want to know how you became so scary smart. Help them by using scoop-it. This content aggregation and curation tool allows you to share all the good content that you find. Within days, you’ll have a faithful audience reading through it: good for your credibility and your thought leading status.
- Facebook: Facebook is comprehensive on its own, and comes with a plethora of build-in features that you can benefit from. If you plan to deep-dive into Facebook communities, you will need global and local pages, and will require tons of moderation: take a look at www.buddymedia.com. Awesomely powerful.
- Blog: Let’s talk about that blog of yours. Does it have a personalized URL? Like www.youandme.be? Or do you go for the free version www.youandme.wordpress.com? Ouch. There goes your credibility. Use www.combell.be or www.godaddy.com and get a proper domain name for a couple of bucks a year. Same for your Facebook account name, your Twitter handle, your LinkedIn profile. A great tool for your blog is www.wordpress.org. It is freeware, open source, complete and by far the most comprehensive one to use. Competitors like www.tumblr.com and www.blogger.com do their best. But you want the best, right? And don’t forget to register your blog on directories like www.technorati.com or www.blogsontop.com. Use feed burners like www.feedburner.com to propagate your posts even further.
- Show-off: Nothing shows more of you, your team, your products than something people can see. Smiling happy people are your best way of evangelizing how great you are. So…social tools that allow you to post pictures are worth a fortune. Any time something nice, fun, unexpected, etc happens, snap a picture and share it on your social media ecosystem. My personal favourite? Without a doubt Instagram (www.instagram.com). It interacts with your smartphone in a seamless way, has some cool build-in filters, and you can share it without any pain on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Try it. You’ll be amazed how many people will interact on your little pieces of art.
- Location: Ha! There you are…it’s good to have a flourishing business, but how easy do you make it for people to find you, check in to you, and give you free publicity? Most Belgian businesses vastly underestimate the potential of location based services, and social check-ins. Making sure your business is easily findable on Google maps (and why not, Google Earth) is a must. Claim your offices on Gowalla and Foursquare and post their “check in here” stickers on your window. More and more people make it a habit to check-in, and by doing so expose your brand/location to their social network.