Whether it's your business or your personal brand, people always connect with people on a personal level. It's all about engaging in a dynamic relationship. Brands are not logos or commercials, they are the perception and emotion of people built on trust and credibility.
A successful brand cultivates extensive user experience and encourages interaction that creates meaningful dialogues. In order to foster strong relationships you must be trusted. And to earn trust, you need to allow others to become aware of you. This concept also applies to the art of social networking, particularly with the shift from face-to-face communication to more online communication.
There are literally thousands of social media websites on the internet with hundreds more popping up every week. The strategy is to focus on the ones that suit your niche.
Setup a blog
I recommend setting up a blog if you don't already have a website. Even if you have a website such as your company or product website, incorporating a blog will enhance your online presence because blogs are typically search engine friendly, and they allow for rapid content indexing on the internet. You can easily sign up for a free account on Blogger, WordPress, or TypePad and start blogging away on whatever topic you want. It's not required that you have a blog but it provides another source to learn about you or your company on a personal level.
The latest phenomenon is the development of 'micro-blogging" - a form of blogging that allows users to send brief updates either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. This feature is available in Facebook and LinkedIn as status updates and by far the most popular one now is Twitter.
Sign up social networking accounts
For professional and business related social profile, the ideal website to use is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional community that shares your credentials in a resume format. It has an unique format for users to browse and connect with a person's and all of his/her contacts. You can aggregate your blog content right on your personal profile page too so whenever you post new entries, it will update automatically.
And for connecting with family and friends, Facebook would be the choice because it focuses on displaying photos and allows for more personal dialogues and interactions. Both LinkedIn and Facebook has a "groups" function that lets you create, join and interaction in sub-communities of your choice. You can create a group for your company so all your employees can join, or if your hobby is photography you can join a photography group. This feature encourages networking and brings liked-minded people with simliar interest together.
Navigating The Social Media Minefield
Follow the 5 steps below to learn how to build your social media profile:
- Register your account - This requires a username, email, and password. It's important to use the same username and email across all social media websites so people can search for you if they're already connected with you in another websites. For business profile, use your company name, for personal profile go with your real name. You can use an alias if you like but keep in mind you need consistency and recognition. Registration process should take no more than a few minutes.
- Input the right information - Privacy is a priority in social media so typically there will be settings to manage your privacy such as opt in to receive updates, newsletters, or allow/disallow certain information about you to be exposed in the community. If you're not sure, test it out and play around with the settings until your satisfaction.
- Add your immediate friends and colleagues - Once you've setup an account, take a few moments to search for your family, friends and colleagues and add them to your network. People gravitate towards popular names and like to know that you're not the only friend they have, it's a simple perception of social proof.
- Search for people you like and study their profile - After adding everyone you know that exists in the social network, it's time to search for new connections. This is a tricky task because just like email spam, there are lots of spammers on social network sending unsolicited messages. If you are a fan of someone or want to get to know them, the best way is to build up your profile so they can review then decide if they want to connect with you; or you can get introduced through one of their existing connection. Either way, you need to study their profile and have valid reasons to be part of their network. This applies to groups as well, and most social network groups require the group administrator to approve your request to join.
- Participate, contribute and share - After you connect with someone you can receive updates on that person via the status update feature. This allows you to participate in their conversation, add comments, or share your updates with them. The key is to build and maintain common ground by bringing value to the conversation. Interacting with your friends with comments like "good job" or "I like it" is fine but not in the professional communities where preeminence and expertise are realized. You must demonstrate your value in those professional forums to optimize your social profile.
The Unspoken Rules Of Social Media
The following rules are self-explanatory and will take you a long way.
- Do speak your mind and contribute
- Do bring value to the network
- Do share and learn from others
- Do keep in touch
- Don't just focus on yourself
- Don't be afraid to ask
- Don't abuse social networking relationships
- Don't use social media to spam
Many businesses use social media as a part of their marketing strategy while others enjoy the experience for personal reasons. Focus on your desire outcome and try to have fun too. There are plenty of opportunities to build your rolodex by embracing this new tool.
Have you started your social media journey? Connect with me and learn more.
- Social Media 101: Choosing the Right Tools
- What is Social Media and Why Should I use it
- 7 Keys to Creating Social Media Strategy for Your Brand
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