This week, I was offered the opportunity to take part in a Presentation Skills Workshop with P2 Enterprises’ Patricia Pippert. It was a two day workshop that required me to present a topic I was passionate about on the last day. I chose to talk about Lon Safko’s ‘Social Media Trinity’ as he lays out in his book, The Social Media Bible. You can view my practice presentation on YouTube, or just view my Prezi. Keep in mind this is a practice run, and I was given LOTS of feedback afterwards to incorporate if I were to represent this topic. This is not my best run!
Step 1- Blog
To break it down, the first step is creating a blog. This site differs from your typical website in that it is run by an individual who posts their thoughts, ideas, and commentary regularly and incorporates rich media, such as graphics, videos, or audio. THIS page itself is a prime example!
Blogs are beneficial to you in that they provide a place for conversation. Your customers and clients love talking to the boss, and love getting their voices heard. A blog allows such interaction through the comments at the bottom of each post. Search engines also love blogs because they are frequently updated. The search engine spiders crawl over your site just as frequently as you post, indexing it every time. The more they index it, the higher your blog will show on the search results. This is why blogs come up first on your search query, before traditional websites. Blogs also allow you to begin an email list of your customers where they are able to opt-in to recieve newsletters of your recent posts. This puts your brand on their mind more often and also courages them to visit your blog through the links. Personally, I use WordPress, but there are other blogging platforms available for you to use as well.
Step 2- Twitter
After your blog is up and running, your brand should begin tweeting under its own handle. As you can see from my presentation, Twitter is very, very important to grow your blogs traffic. There is number of twitter accounts is growing exponentially, and your brand needs to hurry to claim the handle that is right for it! If you don’t already know, Twitter is a type of ‘micro-blog’ with posts that are under 140 characters. These posts need to be clever to take advantage of the small space provided to grab the customer’s attention. Because they are so short, a user can easily skim through the posts and pick and chose which they want to delve deeper in. I used the analogy of a movie preview, the tweet, inticing the customer to watch the entire movie, or read the full blog post.
I encourage you to share your blog’s posts on twitter right when you publish them -Wordpress has a great widget to do this with. You can also go back and share older posts, if the content is still relevant. Don’t be afraid to share the same link many times a week, just reword the tweet itself. The more you share the blog post on Twitter, the greater the audience is that will visit your blog. I will reference this point later when I begin talking about Facebook. I would like to note that not all of your posts should be directing followers to your blog. Be sure to incorporate plain text tweets, tweets with photos, and tweets with questions as well!
Other perks of using Twitter is the constant feedback, which is more constant than what your blog offers. You are also able to see trends in your industry, such as what people are saying about Obamacare. Simply search #obamacare and see what is being said around the world, not only people you follow. Furthermore, you can see what is being said about your brand, and even your competition.
Step 3- Facebook
Last but not least, your brand should build it’s presence on social networks. Facebook Fan Pages are a great tool for your brand as it allows all users to look at it, not only your friends, and not only people that are logged in. For those that are logged in, they are able to see how credible your brand is by seeing how many of their friends have ‘liked’ your page. Building this ‘social proof’ is vital! As I mentioned earlier, Twitter allows you to post the same link many times in a period. Facebook is different and should not be used this way as it’s profile page is better organized for clients to reference older posts. Instead, post a link to the blog post periodically so to not seem redundant.
To wrap things up, having a blog, Twitter account, and Facebook Fan Page can help your brand reach maximum exposure, build your audience, create brand loyalty, and offers feedback. Be sure to connect all of your sites to each other, and cross reference posts to encourage traffic to the other sites.
It’s not difficult to create these networks, but does require time and patience. Tools such as Hootsuite and Klout allow you to schedule posts on Twitter and Facebook, which will make it so you are not having to manually post the information. Instead you can sit down one day and plan what will be said in the coming week, or even month. These sites, along with Google Analytics and others, offer you the ability to see how your sites are doing in regards to the traffic, click-through-rates, and other important aspects.