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You have heard the statement an inch in the right direction is better than a mile in the wrong. A lot of time can be wasted if you haven’t decided on exactly what you want to achieve from your efforts. To get the most from your activities you need to formulate a strategy there is plenty of information out there if you are struggling to know if you are using each platform to its full advantage. I’m grateful to ‘Social Media Today’ for the following framework:

72954_10200416346996089_502553649_nSet some typical goals:

Connect: First with those you know, then with those you don’t know (preferably through those you know).

Engage & Influence: Share information with these folks (your fans and followers) sharing your expertise as well as other industry insights. This will establish and/or reinforce that you are the expert in your field.

Convert: Here is where many people miss out. As you are engaging folks, you have to be aware of buying signals. Those are usually in the form of questions. Always answer the question and then offer to contact your prospect to follow up or offer up your contact information in case they have further questions. This is the step that many people leave out. I decribe it as “Internet dating without giving out your phone number.” If you did this, you would never have a real date and this is why many people who are engaging prospects don’t turn them into paying customers.

Now that the goals are clear, let’s talk a bit about strategy. It doesn’t have to be hard, but it should be consistent. Here is my recommended five fold social media strategy. This is a general guide and should be adjusted for a specific business or market.

interconnected1. Blogging. This should be the starting point because it is how you share information. Ideally you should have your own blog (personal or company blog), and you should post at a minimum weekly, to keep people engaged. This way when you are sharing all of this cutting edge information about your field, it all links back to you. I recommend using the WordPress platform, as it is the best for leveraging search engines.

2. LinkedIn. Every business owner should be on LinkedIn, simply because it makes it easy for other professionals to recommend you. Invest some time every day building your network. Join some groups and contribute to the conversation (you should share your blog content in the groups).

3. Twitter. Having success here comes down to doing the basics. Make good connections, share good content, and be good netizen (thank people for their re-tweet, etc).  Also, learn to use Twitter search. Just do a search for what you do and see what comes up. Many times you can respond by messging the person to let them know you offer a solution that might be looking for.

fb4. Facebook.  The results will be different for differnt types of businesses. For example if you are a cutting edge local web design company, you might find lots of people who need your services (I see lots of them advertise). If you serve a business to consumer market, this is where you want to play to win.

5. YouTube. It has been estimated that over 50% of Internet traffic will be video by the end of 2014. There is lots of opportunity to build your online footprint with video and video sharing happens often more rapidly than content sharing if the video is really hot. Here is a tip; if you have a smartphone, use it. Think of it as a pocket video production studio.

So now you have an idea of where you should be going and why – its time to set your plan in motion and if you need any help you know where to find me.