Social media due to its humble origins as platforms for dating and other seemingly fun but frivolous activities has made it hard for business to take it seriously.
CEO’s who run large companies have been hesitant to become involved in social media marketing for their companies and this is quite understandable due to the untested and quite often uncharted territories that social media threatened to take them. In 10 years time there will not be ‘social media’ as it will be seen as a natural part of the web and your business marketing activities. It will just be another media to spread your brand and engage with your customers and prospective clients.
So what have been my learnings from social media?
These are maybe some of the most common but important questions that I have been asked about blogging, Twitter, Facebook and Social Media
Question One: How has social media benefited your personal brand?
The reality is that social media has given me a global audience that I could not have hoped to achieve through traditional means. I have been invited to speak all around the world and approached by a major publisher to write a book. It has put me in contact with senior executives at major brands including Ford, General Motors and the world’s largest advertising agency. The social media tools we have at our fingertips is the most significant development in publishing and knowledge promotion since the invention of the Gutenberg press over 500 years ago
The power of social media to spread your brand, influence an audience and be ubiquitous continues to surprise me.
Question Two: How do You use Twitter?
Twitter is a tool that I use as a platform to market my blog. (I use Agorapulse to simplify tasks — from publishing, scheduling, monitoring, listening, and reporting.)
Question Three: Why Do I use Twitter.
1. You can create a following on Twitter that is specific to your target markets and audience. This is a secret that most people don’t understand. For more read “The Marketing Secret About Twitter That Most People Don’t know”
2. It is instant so that as soon as I have published my latest blog I can spread to other influential Twitter “friends” as well as tweet it myself.
Question Four: Do you think using your real name in your Twitter ID (or any other profile ID) is good or using your company name is better (and why)?
Social Media is about the personal and social aspect of the web that didn’t exist for the first decade after the web became publicly visible with the invention of the web browser.
So if you are a personal brand use your own photo and real name as this is consistent with the social web that is now pervasive.
If you are a business brand then maintain the branding consistency and publishing your brands logo on Twitter is the accepted norm.
Question Five: How do you use Facebook?
I use Facebook both personally and as a “Page” for Jeffbullas.com as the Facebook presence for my blog.
Facebook is a 650 million user social networking gorilla and has almost become the social media channel of choice for most of the developed world (1 in 13 people in the world is on Facebook) and like Twitter it is a platform you cannot ignore if you want your ideas and content to “spread”. I use it to publish my daily blog posts and interact with my readers by running polls and receiving comments and feedback.
(I use Agorapulse to engage in multiple social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I also use it to publish, schedule, monitor, listen, and report.)
Question 6: So why do you use Facebook?
The reason why is because I need to be publishing and engaging where a large number of my audience is.
Question 7: Is YouTube important?
YouTube is very important for two reasons
- It is the second largest search engine after Google
- You have a 53 times better chance than Google for appearing at the top of search results according to Forrester research.
- It can educate people while you sleep by producing and publishing ‘How To’ YouTube videos.
Question 8: Do you have any advice for creating great video content?
Creating great video content is about being authentic and I use a Flipcam to interview other people and put out short tips on how to use social media for business. You can take it with you to conferences and conduct spontaneous interviews. Just like a blog it can educate and entertain while you sleep. Traditional media like TV is a one off show whereas YouTube has longevity that provides enduring content.
Question 9: Is LinkedIn important?
LinkedIn is a great place to network with other executives and with a user base of over 100 million is a major social network that provides a channel to connect and engage with other influencers.
Question 10: How do you use LinkedIn?
The 3 major ways I use LinkedIn.
1. To publish my blog posts (there is an app on LinkedIn that allows you to publish your WordPress blog to your profile )
2. Network with other executives and influencers
3. Position myself as an expert and authority in my industry by participating in “Groups” on LinkedIn and the “Q&A” platform within the LinkedIn platform
(I use Agorapulse to engage on multiple social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.)
Question 11: Do you have a blog?
Yes, I have a blog at Jeffbullas.com and I started it 2 years ago and it receives over 100,000 hits a month.
Question 12: What advice can you give to newbie Bloggers?
- Buy your own domain name with your own name (it doesn’t have to be a dot com, if it isn’t available use another domain suffix such as dot biz). If you don’t want to use your own name then obtain a domain name that gives you a notable brand presence within your industry
- Purchase a blogging template (if financial resources allow) such as a WordPress Thesis theme, this is flexible and great for SEO (usually can be bought for less than a $100)
- Have the blog self hosted not hosted with free hosting such as WordPress or Typepad.. this creates much more flexibilityin the future to improve your blog through widgets that aren’t possible when within a third party blogging environment.
- Get the blog built professionally designed and developed if you have the financial resources to do so
- Write posts regularly at least once a week (more if you can.. 2-3 is better.. 1 a day is best)
- Publish any content online you have offline
- Use great headlines, this is the bait to get someone to read further
- Write comments on other important bloggers posts in your industry
- Place your blog content on other social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter to leverage your content
- Use bullet points to make it easy for readers to scan your blog posts to obtain the important points
- Add credibility banners such as how many subscribers, number of hits, Blog grade and any awards as your Blog gains traction
- Provide “share this” buttons to Facebook and Twitter as a minimum
- Implement from day one, the feature to subscribe to your blog either with RSS and Email – Google’s feedburner makes this easy to implement
- Use images to add some style to the Blog, these can be easily copied into your Blog using free images from Flickr’s advanced search creative commons licence
- Promote your blog on Twitter
Question 13: What components do you think make a blog successful?
In my experience some of the major components to make a blog successful are
- Twitter retweet button (makes it easy for people to share your content)
- Facebook share button (again, this makes it easy to share)
- Credibilty banners such as the number of Twitter followers and awards won can go along way to displaying and quantifying credibility
- Facebook social plug-in so people can “like” your Facebook “Page” when visiting your blog
- Subscribe by email feature
- Buttons that allow people to subscribe to your social media channels
Question 14: How much time do you spend on social media activities each day?
I spend 2-3 hours researching and writing my blog post 5 days a week. And approximately 15-30 minutes marketing the post on the major social networking platforms.
Question 15: How important do you think social media time management is?
Here are two time management tips I have found have helped me.
1. Turn Twitter off so you are not distracted while performing focused writing
2. Rise early (or stay up late) so you can have quiet dedicated time to write your blog (I get up at 4.30am, 5 days a week)
So a dedicated time and discipline without distractions are essential to making a blogger successful. This is made easier if you are passionate about what you do.
Question 16: What are some tips for social media success?
- Be passionate about your topic otherwise don’t start
- Know who you target audience is
- Write or publish text or video content for your audience that is topical, answers problems and provides “How To’s”
- Connect with other influential social media influencers in your industry
- Share their content
- Read, read, read and then read even more about your topics (mine are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn)
- Don’t be afraid to fail “small” and fail “often”. Waiting to publish while making it perfect means it will never happen. Just “Ship It”
Question 17: What are some significant mistakes you made while learning about Social Media?
- Not implementing a “Tweet” and Facebook “Share” button on my blog soon enough
- Not applying great headline writing skills to my blog and Twitter
- Not initially understanding Facebook’s importance as a marketing channel