Social media is the now firmly part of mainstream America. It is the way that people connect, engage, communicate, and create valuable relationships on the internet.
"Whether one chooses to take a closer look at social media in an attempt to understand it and embrace it, or opts to ignore it or dismiss it, social media is here to stay and is now part of our culture." - July 15, 2009 Richmond Social Media Examiner article "Do you need a social media champion?"
Social media can be a double-edged sword, whether one is building brand recognition, promoting a business, or in career transition, and seeking a new job -- so use it wisely. Your "online voice" may create engagement, attract new followers / website visitors / business clients / potential employers, or drive people away, if used negatively or improperly.
Even if one has a strong online presence, a social media tune-up is needed from time to time, to be sure that your brand is protected, the content you share adds value, is "on message", and no "digital dirt" exists.
Why do you need to use social media?
"If you haven’t introduced Social Media into your marketing plan you are missing out on a larger audience for your product or service. According to The Nielsen Company (November 2010) US Internet users spend 3x more minutes on blogs and social networks than on email. That means that a prospective client will spend 3 times more time reading your blog article than reading the email you send to their inbox!
By using Social Media, you can amplify your brand, your website, and your content. It also works to help you to establish and then nurture a more personal relationship with your potential customers, and when done properly, it can generate website traffic, inbound links, and leads for your company. Social media is now a major part of he consumer culture now and it is time."
- from The Social Media Tuneup for Success on Facebook and Twitter (ebook)
Here are some social media tune-up tips to assess your online presence, identify areas that need a "tuning", and address any concerns or problem areas.
#1 Social media background check
- What social networks are being used?
- Are profiles complete -- current and accurate?
- Online presence consistent across social media sites? (“on message”, same or similar photo used)?
- Leverage the “Power Trio” (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook), Google+, YouTube* for brand building (*videos enhance presence, short is better, 2-4 mins. Max)
- Use LinkedIn / Twitter search to get latest on target companies
- Search / follow thought leaders, people with similar interests, and competition (for insights)
- “Like” Facebook biz pages, use Twitter search to follow #hashtags -- Ex: #RVA_jobs, #jobsearch, #twittertips, #smallbizchat, #jobs, #asmc4u
- Join LinkedIn groups, career networking groups, become an "active" member, add value
- Share your expertise, tips to help others
#2 Do you have an online voice?
- Does your “online voice” tell your unique story?
- Are you building a strong web presence?
- Are you building a positive brand by sharing something of value - tools, tips, news, giveaways?
- Are you supporting and promoting others?
#3 Message considerations
- Does your message convey who you are and what you do?
- Consistent, “on brand”?
- Sharing frequently, but not “too often”?
- “Less is more”
- “Quality not quantity”
#4 Google Search / SEO
- Social media background check: look at your social media presence
- Search your name, company name on Google, Bing, or Yahoo every 1-2 weeks to review results
- Do results show positive brand image, “on message”?
- Any negative comments, "digital dirt", or issues that need to be addressed – “cleaned up” or new direction needed?
- SEO – where do you show up? 1st or 2nd page of Google, Bing, Yahoo search engine results?
- Is your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or YouTube channel doing what they need to do?
#5 Best Practices
- Edit your online life
- Check your social media sites / public online life. Delete, untag, and “clean up” anything you do not want associated with you. It won’t remove everything, but it helps
- Create a specific list of things you will and won’t post online
- Develop your personal brand
- What you talk about online attracts the type of people you’ll interact with. Write it, type it, create your“social posts” list
#6 Common sense
- If it “doesn’t feel right,” don’t post it. Ask for feedback BEFORE posting it
- Give it a few hours and come back to it
- Better “safe than sorry” -- search engines aren’t very forgiving
- Is it NSFW? (“Not safe for work”) - Ever seen tag NSFW in a social post? It means content you probably don’t want your co-workers or boss knowing you’ve viewed
==> Las Vegas rule: What happens in social media stays online FOREVER!
#7 To Do List
- Setup a Profile for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+
- LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ -- be sure profiles up-to-date and loaded with industry specific keywords for the job you are pursuing
- Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ to build your brand, help with job search
- Make good use of LinkedIn and Twitter search features
- Use LinkedIn groups feature to join career groups, networking groups, and become an "active" member
- Share your knowledge to help others -- post a news article, start a discussion, answer a question, post a job lead, recommend the work of career and branding industry leaders -- "pay it forward”
- Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ to build network and ‘cast a wide net’ to gather more contacts
- Leverage other social media sites to engage, connect, network, and build your online presence – (Personal blog, YouTube, Meetup, SlideShare)
#8 Mistakes To Avoid
- Not using social media at all - “Social media can have drawbacks and become a “double-edged” sword if used not used or used negatively
- May be deciding factor for candidate in eyes of hiring manager
- A strong, positive online presence may help you get hired, just as a negative one may eliminate you
- Not having a consistent message promoting you - Just like companies promote their brand using social media, you need to promote yourself via social media
- Posting unprofessional photos on LinkedIn and similar professional sites. Use professional photo, a head shot, dressed appropriately for your chosen career
- Posting negative comments about an employer, co-workers, or anyone else
- Aggressively arguing political, religious, social and other opinions
- Neglecting to make personal contact with your network. Mine your contacts on social networking sites, but look for face-to-face contact, as well
- Indulging in over-the-top bragging about yourself. A little bit of reserve is helpful while you are job hunting
- BUILD RELATIONSHIPS -- this is key concept of social media
- BUILD YOUR BRAND -- share valuable content
- CONTENT is king -- share on a regular basis, but not too often
- COMMUNICATE -- start a “digital dialogue” and connect with others
- SHARE -- don’t SELL; BE A RESOURCE -- not a “salesperson”
- GIVE BACK -- you have to give in order to get
- SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES -- create, complete, keep current, and accurate
- USE LINKEDIN / TWITTER SEARCH -- find companies, follow #hashtags
- JOIN LINKEDIN GROUPS / CAREER GROUPS - be an "active" member
- AVOID Negative comments, politics, controversial topics
==> Las Vegas rule: What happens in social media stays online FOREVER!
- Daulton West, Jr. , aka ">@DWestJr” on Twitter
More social media news, views, tools, and tips: Richmond Social Media Examiner