Social media has quickly changed the way the people create, find and represent other individuals and brands online. It wasn't that long ago that the internet was HTML based and the web was more of a one-way conversation and everything was static. MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have completely changed everything... and if you aren't keeping an eye on it, your reputation and brand could quickly change along with it.
Don't think social media and your online presence is important? Just take a look at what Todd William, reputation management expert and the founder of Reputation Rhino has to say.
"I look at page one of Google as real estate. There is somewhere between seven or ten houses on the block and your goal, just like in the game of Monopoly, is to own as many of those properties as possible or to make sure that those properties that are near you or next to you are not competitive or damaging. If you cannot own it, you at least want to have nice looking neighbors. When we are talking about page one for a key word, like the products or services for your business. You are absolutely right. The competition is fierce. If we are talking about page one for your first lame and last name, depending on how common or uncommon that first name / last name combination is, it could be highly competitive if you happen to share a name with Justin Bieber or Brittany Spears, or it can be very unique and you could be the only one on page one. So the question is, if you have a unique name or unique brand, how do you make sure that the content that appears when people are searching for that unique name or brand is positive or at least neutral. Right now content marketing and writing high quality content is paramount and we focus on quality over quantity. That is where much of our time and attention is being placed; on great writing and seeking out the best possible sites to leverage the content that we help create."
With that being said, now it's time to jump right into five of the best ways for anyone to start using social media to their advantage, whether it be for expanding your reach and experience or protecting your online reputation, these methods will work for everyone.
1. Securing Your Name on Each Social Network
There are currently over 2 billion users spread across all of the major social networks. Securing your personal or brand name as your social username is a huge asset. Not only will this be perfect for branding and allow people to easily find you on any network, it's also a great way to improve your chances for ranking your social profile at the top of the search results for your name.
2. Maintaining an Active Social Media Presence
To use social media to your advantage, you will actually need to "use social media". So many individuals and brands think they can setup a profile, add their picture and make a few updates to their account and leave it at that. This is probably one of the worse things you can do, as people will find your profile page, but once they see you are no longer updating your account with new content, they won't bother to follow you at all.
3. Build a Blog as Your Main Social Hub
One of the best ways to use social media is to setup a blog of your own, and then share your content with your social media following. It's not just about creating content to share it with your social audience, instead it's about creating a main hub where someone can learn more about you, your brand and also connect to all of your social profiles in the process. Additionally, a blog is one of the best ways to rank at the top of the search engines for your personal name, brand or business.
4. Reply and Engage With Your Social Followers
Social media is a two way conversion. Way too many people are creating social profiles and only putting content out, and providing nothing of value or substance in terms of building a relationship. The correct way to build a social following is to provide value through your content and social updates, engaging with your fans and followers while also contributing to their social conversations, even when it doesn't provide any direct value or benefit to your own brand.
5. Become an Authority Within Your Niche
The ultimate goal for every professional, brand or business is to become an expert within their niche. While social media continues to grow and saturate the internet with billions of users and daily updates, it's actually made the process of becoming a well known and trusted authority much easier -- when done right. To build a following and their respect, you must provide value, follow others within your niche, reach out to see how you can help others and give people exactly what they are looking for.
Whether your end goal is to protect your online reputation, build a social media following or take your personal or brand exposure to the next level, be sure to implement each of the methods mentioned above into your social media efforts. While each of them are special in their own way, you will see the best results when all are used in conjunction with each other.
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