How to Get Started With Social Media Marketing

Marketing in a Social World

Social Networking

In order for your content marketing plan to actually work, you must also be successful with social media promotion. Social media provides marketers the platform to disperse their content into appropriate channels, increasing the visibility of your brand to a wider, targeted audience.

The bottom line is: social media isn't just for teenagers anymore. And while it might come easy for some, social media for marketing requires a different approach than a profile used only for networking. The following 4 basic steps can help jump-start your social media presence.

Step 1: Create a Profile

The first step with to get started with any social media website is to create a profile. A user profile is the first thing people see about you – make sure your message is accurately displayed and that you seem reputable, and most importantly, human.

Write Your Biography – each social media platform contains a section where members can write a brief biography about themselves. Make sure this text is to-the-point and that your position and company are clearly mentioned. Try to use strong keywords – this text is searchable, and can help how users find your account.

Strive for profile completeness – each profile page is setup differently, but attempt to fill in each section provided. This ensures the maximum amount of information is accessible by the public. LinkedIn claims that a member with a complete profile on their site is 40 times more likely to receive opportunities.

Upload a Photo – a profile picture will not only indicate what you look like, but also helps show that you are, in fact, a human being. Upload a photo that accurately depicts yourself within the context of your company, this doesn't need to be a professional head-shot, but it does need to appear professional – and try to smile!

Step 2: Connect

After your profile is set up, begin adding people to your network. Both LinkedIn and Facebook can search through your email contact list to suggest connections based on existing relationships. Utilize this. Also, use the search function to target specific people – ideally former and current business partners. Try to increase your network thoughtfully, only add connections that will benefit your business and sales goals.

Target existing “thought leaders” within your related field, and follow/add them. These are profiles you should follow closely – they post regular content related to your industry which you can then re-purpose, like, and comment on.

If the friend/follower lists of these high-profile accounts are accessible, follow or add these people to your network. This audience has proven to have an interest in your field, and should be interested in your content, as well (providing content is regularly posted).

Facebook and LinkedIn allow users to create groups based on a specific topic or industry. Similarly, there are several Twitter accounts that operate as e-zines in a field. Find these accounts related to your industry, follow and participate in/with them.

Not enough connections right away? Don’t worry, building a social media network takes time – try adding a link to your email signature or business card to increase visibility.

Step 3: Network

After all your friends/connections/ followers are added, it’s networking time. Social Media is best used to further the reach of companies – delivering relevant content to a wider audience.

If content creation is not part of your role, don’t worry about it. Use your new social media channels to re-post content from your company blog. Whether this is a Tweet, or a Facebook or LinkedIn profile update, try to add a little bit of your own commentary. Rather than just post the article title and the link, briefly give your own thoughts, or ask your audience; “What do you think about...”

Re-purpose content – now that you’re following high-profile accounts, take the time to re-post their relevant content to further the conversation. Again, it’s always best to add your own commentary with these posts. This is an easy way to contribute without putting too much work into it.

If you see anything online that you like, like it or comment on it. Show that you’re taking an active interest in the content, while promoting your profile and expertise to a wider audience.

Remember: social media is not the place to close sales. In fact, you will undoubtedly lose followers if your messages become too strongly sales-oriented.

Step 4: Participate

Participation is crucial in receiving beneficial results from any social networking site. You can’t sit back and wait for something to happen; you need to make it happen yourself. Repeat step 3 often, promote all of your content through your social media channels daily. If you have nothing original to post, try to contribute to the ongoing conversation -- someone somewhere is talking about your industry; find and engage with them.

In as little as 30 minutes a day, proper use of social media can reward you with; increased brand visibility, heightened thought leadership, and a comprehensive network of past and future clients and business partners. So…what are you waiting for?!?