One of my most favorite parts of my job is getting to work with senior executives interested in taking the plunge into social media. Usually they know they have to do something but don’t know where to start. I absolutely love this topic and helping folks slowly step into the scary social media universe. Let’s face it, it is scary. Nothing terrified me more than getting ready to hit send on my first tweet. But, we are really missing out if we jump in. There are things to learn, people to meet, and discussions to be had.
Here is the five step formula I use to help folks get started:
Step 1 – Find your purpose.
Start with your objectives. What are you trying to accomplish in the social media space? Why? From there, you need to find your purpose – what are you passionate about? What are your values? What is it that you want to share? What topics will you be covering in the social space? Answering these questions prepares you for the next step – choosing your channel.
Step 2 – Choose your channels.
The social channels you choose to engage in will vary depending on your objectives. Let’s talk through some examples – if you want to be a thought leader inside of your organization on a specific topic, you might choose to blog on your company’s internal social collaboration space (if you have one). If you want to build your brand externally on a topic like Leadership, you may want to target Twitter – leadership chats are great – and LinkedIn – leadership groups – to start engaging with thought leaders on this topic.
Step 3 – Listen.
Once you know the channels you’d like to target, spend time there listening to other folks engage in the space. This will give you a sense for not only the topics but also the tone of the conversations happening out there.
Step 4 – Get your brand in order.
When was the last time you googled yourself? When was the last time you googled someone you were about to meet, work with, do business with?
I’m guessing you’ve done the latter a lot more recently that the former. Listen folks, you need to actively manage your social brand. Like it or not, the information out there about us in social channels (that people find when they Google us) equals your social brand. You better make sure it is consistent with what you decided in Step 1.
To address this, start with Google. Also, align your social profiles. Make sure your pictures and “about me” descriptions reflect what you stated in Step 1 and are consistent across all social channels.
Step 5 – Understand the ground rules.
Here are some basics that I shared in a previous blog post:
- Be nice. Treat people the way you want to be treated, use your manners, and be positive. There is room for everyone’s viewpoints and opinions so be open, you might just learn something.
- Be authentic. You are, after all, a real person so act like one. There isn’t much room for promotional messages in the social media space. Share content that is relevant.
- Be legal. Make sure your follow your corporate policies on social media, especially around disclosure. And don’t say anything in social networks you wouldn’t say to your CEO – or your mom!
If you can get a handle on these 5 things, you are way ahead of the game. Get out there and jump in!
Photo credit - Flickr