I get asked this every so often by colleagues, business partners and now more often clients who are faced with the need to talk about social media with their clients. Many or most of them are not very “social” in this sense of the word and are unsure of where to begin. Think about it, if you want to sell cars, you need to have sat in one, if you are into baseball you need to have seen a game. Social media is not different. So, before you begin talking social to customer, partners or competitors you might want to try these out and familiarize yourself with the places, the tools and the functions. These are all free but will take some time getting through the setup phase and begin using them.
- Get on Twitter.
- Create a hashtag at Twubs. Register one and use it. This will become important later.
- Create a SlideShare account and share something. This could be someone about yourself, your hobby, your work. Just share a slide deck and attach some keywords so it can be searched for. Google it yourself.
- Tweet your SlideShare posting and add your hashtag you’ve created.
- Sign up to Quora. Start searching for items which in test you. See what others are already answering.
- Try Facebook. This may be easy for you or it may be hard. If this is not where you want to be it can be deleted afterwards. It is important to try Facebook as it is the worlds most important social site. Bar none.you need to understand the basics of Facebook as your partners in social discussions may not. You need to be comfortable with the functions a normal user has.
- Create a private Facebook group. Invite someone to this group.
- ‘Friend’ a company. See what it looks like when they post and appear in your stream, on your wall.
- Post a question on their wall. See what happens.
- Remove them from your stream. Not ‘unfriend’ them just from your stream. See how it appears and note what you can still do on their page.
- Get on LinkedIn. This is probably the easiest for most but also make sure your profile is complete. Education, work places etc. Go out and ask for some recommendations as well.
- Follow your partners, clients and competitors companies on LinkedIn. Don’t just follow who you like, pick those you want to know more about.
- Post a status update. This is a very underutilized function of LinkedIn. Share your SlideShare post with LinkedIn now. See what it looks like when it appears. Post a question about your update. See if replies come back.
- Checkout Hootsuite, Tweetdeck. These are very popular aggregators for people active on multiple social spaces. Try searching for your hashtag. Should appear along with anyone else who may have retweeted it.
- Try blogging. This is the home base of any active social person or company. It could be a home page type site or just a blog. If Facebook is the cruise ship, twitter the sports car, your blog is your home. The others will come and go, but your site belongs to you. Connect it to as many others sites or includes others feeds into yours as you wish. You are the master of disaster when it comes to your blog.
- Be social. Share, re-share, explore the social spaces. Don’t just follow the hype, the popular people out there. It is about you. Participating in these spaces and then sharing these with your clients, prospects and partners.
Remember social media is not about the media, it is about people having conversations. As mundane as they may appear at times, there are conversations happening out there without you today. Get informed. Get social.