How to set up social media channels from scratch
By Adam Blanch
So you want to promote yourself using social media. Congratulations, it's a great idea. However, if you want it to be a success instead of a big waste of time, you need to consider a few things first.
Who's your audience and what do you have to say to them? Social media is about content - information, entertainment, what's new and what's useful. Figure out what you have to say that your audience is interested in hearing.
How much time do you have to spare? Social media doesn't cost much in dollars, but it needs your time. Most successful social media marketing requires a daily update.
What's your voice? Social media is about building relationships between people, not promoting products. Your shiny new potential customers don't care what you sell, they want to know who you are. Are you funny, quirky, serious, passionate, radical, rational, outrageous or cool? What you really don't want to be is boring.
Choose your channels. Not all social media will work for all business. There are four main 'types' of social media.
- Lookies: If you're an architect, fashion designer, visual artist, photographer or creative type then visual sites like Pinterest, Picasa, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitpic are the channels where you can show off your style.
- Talkies: If you're a celebrity, publication, writer, academic or thought leader then you need to be part of the ongoing social conversation through channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Mashable, Reddit and Google+.
- Sharies: If you are a musician, novelist, band, podcaster or performer then you probably want to share your output as a way to get noticed. You can do this with Myspace, Soundcloud, Facebook, Tumblr, G+, Vimeo, and Youtube.
- Readies: If you are a consultant, writer, marketer, tradie or expert in just about anything then providing useful information is your game. You'll need a website, a blog, a Twitter feed, Facebook account, LinkedIn and Google+ to get started.
Setting up your 'social sphere'
There's no easy way to say this, or do this - it's going to take time. Start with either Facebook or Google+. Both of these sites, once set up, allow you to use your profile as a way to log into most other social media sites, with Facebook being particularly useful for this. You should probably decide which one you are going to use as your main site.
Facebook is commonly accepted to be the popular and it's where you will find most of your 'friends'. However, Google+ is very versatile, incorporating a large range of business apps, better security and more control over your content. G+ also provides a function called Google Authorship that allows you to link everything you post on the web back to your G+ profile. Setting your business up on G+ also gives you presence on Google maps, Google search and location-based marketing apps so people can find you with their smart phones, tablets and the upcoming Google Glass.
Once you have one or both of them set up, click on the links above and create accounts for all your other channels.
Now it's time to get smart. Take advantage of management tools such as Sprout Social or HootSuite that allow you update all your channels at once, as well as manage and track your social media activities from one program. They also allows you to schedule messages and post for later, so that you can still be 'active' even when you're sitting back sipping cocktails on your holiday.
Social media is here to stay and using it is now a business fundamental. Don't get left behind, get social.