As we enter into 2013, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned about social media over the last year, social media marketing trends I see as we head into the new year, and the most common social media mistakes.
One of the biggest lessons for me has been that social media does not have to be as hard and time consuming as it first appears. Which is not to say that it’s “quick and easy,” it’s not. But, building a business through social media is extremely doable if you have good social media habits.
Good habits in every area of your life are the building blocks of success, and social media is no exception. In fact, good social media habits are especially important because it’s so easy to get “lost” inside your social media networks. And to find, at the end of the day, you’ve done nothing revenue-generating.
Social media provides a unique work environment. Doing business on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest can be like trying to sit in your office and work while your friends are constantly dropping by with jokes, cool pictures, party invitations and stories about their cute kids.
Not exactly the focus you need. And exactly why good social media habits are essential.
There are seven fundamentals that you must make into your social media habits. Yes, they will help you maintain focus. And, as important, they will help you develop a successful social media strategy that converts into good connections and great money.
1. Have Conversations
You have a schedule for how many times a day you post on each of your social media networks. But do you have a schedule for responding? You must.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating until everyone gets it. Your goal on social media is not to broadcast as much of your brillance as your time allows. It’s to start as many conversations with as many great people as you can.
That doesn’t mean you hang out on social media all day talking to people. But, it does mean that you schedule 2-3 times a day to get over to Hootsuite, check your notifications, and respond. If this means you have to cut down on the amount of broadcasting you do, then so be it.
2. Share Stories
Speaking of broadcasting your brilliance, remember that old saying “facts tell, stories sell?” With social media, facts may get you followers, but stories will get you friends. And it’s the relationships that translate into profits.
Yes, you want to stay on top of what’s going on in your market. And you want to pass that on to your audience. But lots of people will be sharing market news.
So, what makes you the authority people will rely on and pay attention to? Two things ~ people must remember you, and they must like you.
If you share an article about the latest and greatest service in your market, no one will remember you for that. 27 other authorities are also sharing that information.
But, if you tie your content to your personal experiences, and share some personal stories, people will remember you for that. Because the new service you share isn’t unique to you, but the story you tell about how you use the service is.
And the picture of your child’s 4th birthday makes you human. Someone people can relate to. And they will like you for that. So get in the habit of sharing who you are, not just what your business is.
3. Be Consistent
Not much more I can say about this, but it needs to be said because it’s a problem. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had tell me they’re on Twitter and they tweet 3 times a week. That doesn’t even count. Posting once a week on your Facebook Page? Don’t bother. Likewise, 100 posts in a day, and nothing the rest of the week won’t cut it either.
Social media moves fast, and you need to be consistently seen to be remembered. That means you need to post a lot. How much is “a lot?” The short answer is every day, throughout the day. I wrote an article about how often you should post on social media if you need more help.
4. Create Good Content
Not only do you need quantity when it comes to your social media postings, you’re also going to need quality.
No matter what market you’re in, there’s a lot of noise out there these days. And if your stuff isn’t good stuff, no one’s going to listen to you, which is bad for business.
So, make it a habit to take the time to create good content. Throwing something up there just to get a post up is a waste of time.
5. Send Everyone to Your Home
Socializing is fun. Building relationships is fun. But make sure to keep your eye on the prize. We’re in business here. And your number one goal on social media should be to send people to your “home.” And in your online business, your home is your blog/website.
That doesn’t mean every post you make references your blog. It just means you need to remember the heart of your social media strategy is to get people on your email list. And the best way to do this is to get them to your blog, let them see the value there, and offer them the opportunity to get more value from you in exchange for their email address.
Develop a habit of consistently leading all of your social media connections to your blog.
6. Visit Google+
You need to be active on Google+. The complete answer to “why” could take up an entire book. In short, Google highlights your Google+ content in its search results.
Also, Google’s use of social search makes your presence on Google+ a must. When you are connected with people on Google+, your content is going to show up in their “personal results” when they do a Google search.
Want to be found on Google? Of course you do. Make it one of your social media habits to have a daily presence on Google+.
7. Make Videos
Did you know YouTube is the second largest search engine there is? You’ve just made it a habit to show up in the largest search engine out there by being active on Google+. Follow that up by showing up on YouTube too.
Video is a powerful marketing tool for your business. And it’s getting bigger every day. People want to do business with people. And the best way to get to know a person online is through video.
But here’s the thing. I could go on all day about how you need to make videos, yet very few people are going to do it. It will sit on their “to do” list throughout 2013. You be different. You do it. And it will make you money.
Don’t worry about being perfect, or even good at first. Just get started, and stick with me, as I love video and have lots of video marketing tips coming your way in 2013. Start here if you want to learn more about why your business needs to be on YouTube.
A Note on How to Implement
I don’t know whether you need to work on 1 of these habits, or all 7, but I want to give you a word of caution. Don’t try to change your world in a day. It’s a sure recipe for failure.
Allow yourself time to make improvements. Don’t wake up on January 1, or any other day, and try to master more than 1-2 new things. As those 1-2 things become habits ~ things you do without even thinking about it ~ tackle 1-2 more new things.
You can do this. I look forward to hearing about your successes. Share with me in the comments ~ what new social media habits are you developing in 2013?