If you’re using social media to pump up your business and create brand awareness then creating relationships is (or at least should be) at the core of all your online activity. This is where the MAGIC happens when relationships deepen and your friends and followers either become clients/customers or colleagues/business partners.
You should be using all the tools at your disposal and be taking full advantage of the dynamic platform that IS the internet in its current form. Here is a list of 10 tips you MUST use to put the SOCIAL back in social media.
Even if you are a seasoned professional and are already actively executing many of the steps below, there may be one or two you may have overlooked or simply haven’t focused on. It’s always a good time to refresh yourself on the fundamentals and/or help those business partners that are just starting out.
1) Get Blogging
Blogging should be at the heart of all your social media activities. It’s little wonder why blogging has become one of the hottest marketing tools around through simply bonding with like-minded individuals all across the web.
By creating consistently valuable content, your followers will become more and more engaged in what you have to say (as well as the products and/or services you have to offer).
The blog is a place where you should direct all the people you meet across the web so that relationships can be deepened. WordPress blogs are the best simply because they are free and can be self-hosted and have a massive amount of plug-ins that makes sharing all your content a snap. If you have yet to create a blog, then I highly suggest you create one now.
2) List building/E-mail Marketing
Creating an opt-in form on your blog so you can build an e-mail list using a service such as AWeber is a MUST. Your list becomes something that YOU own and enables you to contact your followers with content on YOUR terms.
In turn, you will be able to create more intimate content that only your list will receive. This is a big part of relationship building. Most people check their e-mail more than once a day and it’s the best place to be seen over and over again and keep fresh in the minds of your followers.
For those of you looking to build a business, your list is the number one asset you can own as an online entrepreneur. Above and beyond creating a big list, it’s building a relationship with the people on that list that helps to socially supercharge your e-mail marketing.
3) Encourage People To Comment And Respond To Their Comments
Once you begin creating content on your blog you want to start interacting with your followers so remember to include a call to action. You definitely want to have people commenting so remember to ask.
This will get the relationship building process moving as it allows people to express their thoughts on the information you provide. Relationships are built through sharing information and this is the entire foundation from which deeper relations are built. Communication is a two way street.
You also need to respond to comments that are left in response to your posts. This is where the REAL interaction takes place and what makes the entire blogging process a dynamic exchange of thought and information.
4) Post On Other Top Blogs In Your Industry And Niche
It is equally important to continue to interact with people on their blogs as well long after you are established with your own. The best way to maximize your visibility to the community in which you are a part and build new associations is by choosing to respond to blog posts by leaders in your industry.
Pick a handful of successful individuals or businesses in your niche and make yourself know. These individuals attract substantial numbers of people interested in what you have to say as well.
In many cases, you will generate a nice amount of traffic back to your blog as a result. These are like minded individuals that are also looking to reach out and connect which is one of the reasons why there are leaving comments too.
5) Create Guest Posts
Once in a while, take some of your best content and submit it for consideration as a guest post on one of the top blogs you follow. If you manage to get syndicated, this can bring you a MASSIVE amount of exposure.
One of the keys to being SOCIAL is getting noticed. It is impossible to promote interaction with others if you are hiding behind a rock! Get out there and increase both your visibility and credibility by taking the time to craft a masterpiece and get it published.
You may want to first build a relationship with the blog owner (through step 4) which will increase your chances exponentially. If you have already built a relationship with a particular individual, they would be much more inclined to share YOUR content with their followers.
You can also reciprocate by offering to post their content on your blog as well once you build up a nice following. Your offer will have more value to the guest poster after your blog is more established.
6) Get SOCIAL on the Social Media Sites
Having an account on all the major networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are MANDATORY. Having an account and posting content is only half the strategy. What’s important is the way in which you interact with other users.
The Facebook strategy is simple (similar to step 4 above). You want to seek out top notch leaders in your industry and start interacting with them on their profile, group or fan page.
Once there, you will have the opportunity to meet others in your industry and build relationships with them too. You also want to make sure you comment back when people leave comments on your wall.
The same exact strategy applies to YouTube. Comment on people videos and be sure to reciprocate when comments are left for you.
Although Twitter may be a different platform and moves at a much faster pace then posting seemingly static comments, the same principles still apply. Make sure your focus is more on your followers wants, needs and desires than your own.
I’ve covered my personal twitter strategy in detail in the three part series Twitter As A Marketing Tool, so if you haven’t read the post and watched the video already, I invite you to go check it out for a complete plan of attack!
7) Social Bookmarking
Whether you are creating your own content, would like to share content for a tribe member or even just a cool story or video you found and want to share, sites like digg, delicious and stumbleupon are fabulous bookmarking tools for spreading the word.
The more sites you submit to, the better the chances of having the content ranked high in the search engines. This means even more people will find the piece and will have an opportunity to leave a comment.
If it’s your content, then this provides yet another opportunity to get SOCIAL and start interacting with people individually and collectively.
There are some free tools you can use to submit content such as onlywire and socialmarker as well as some paid tools such as traffic-bug which does most of the work for you.
8) Join a tribe
Tribes are all the rage, especially on the internet where geography knows no boundaries. Tribes are defined as people who are connected through a leader, an idea and ultimately one another.
What you’ll likely find is that many tribes are made up entirely of leaders, especially in the internet and network marketing circles. This is where your social interaction is at it’s most profound. The information that can be exchanged and relationships formed are of the highest caliber.
Joining a tribe syndication network is an especially useful process in which relationships are formed on the basis of helping syndicate each others content using all of the tactics outlined above.
By far, this type of syndication arrangement can dramatically increase the results of your marketing as well as the relationship building process with your peers.
A great book I highly recommend is “Tribes: We need You To Lead Us” by Seth Godin
9) Post on forums and/or niche specific sites/networks
If internet marketing and/or network marketing is your thing than sites as warriorforum and betternetworker are examples of places you should be hanging out.
These sites provide yet another interactive environment where like minded individuals can come together to network with one another. Join in or create discussions, ad content and get busy talking shop about whatever it is you’re passionate about.
Not only is this another medium to get social and increase your visibility to the community, but you can position yourself as a leader and an authority figure magnetizing people to you.
10) Join a network marketing opportunity
What better way to monetize all of your social media efforts then to build a team or organization as a result of all the relationships you’ll be building.
Networking is all about being social and the internet provides a dynamic communication platform that will enable you to first attract and then bring people into your business.
It’s when internet and network marketing merge into a potent combination that gives you the ability to create and capitalize on endless leads.
Social media in all its various forms is a powerful means of reaching unlimited prospects where you can in turn work your social magic and be a magnet for people interested in partnering with YOU in business.
In conclusion, the bottom line is that relationship building should be your number one priority as you get out there and interact with individuals across web 2.0. If you are following the principles of attraction marketing, you are creating value for others and are consciously aware of their needs, wants and desires before your own.
If making money is your primary objective online, understand that the finances will flow after relationships are created, maintained and deepened. This is a mistake of many marketers and it is important to remind yourself this general rule of thumb.
Start using the 10 tips on this list and lay the foundation for your success. Create the interactions that will ultimately led to a thriving business bringing with it the freedom that we all desire as entrepreneurs. Put the SOCIAL back in YOUR social media.
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