. . . Social media, that is. Interesting as I listened Wednesday night in on a presentation by Ric Dragon and Ric opens with his recommendations, the makings of recipes in a social media cookbook. I’m taken by the questions from the 32 people in the room here at the SUNY Ulster Business Resource Center and the dialogue back and forth among them, Ric and two members of his team, Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy and Etela Ivkovic. The event was sponsored but SCORE.
Each of the ingredients in the recipe for successful social media communicating triggers enthusiastic discussion. Here’s how Ric says to start:
Take up Google Reader and follow 10 blogs. Use Twitter and follow 10 individuals, sign onto Facebook and follow 25. Go to LinkedIn and follow another 10… and now – just this week – says you can follow companies. Make sure to create profiles in your social media sites and in doing so it’s good to have a folder of images so you have neat pictures of yourself in easy reach. Ric’s Recommendations, in a far more formal version, appear in this blog.
But what is really interesting are the discussions and there are lots and lots of conversations buzzing through the room. “I want concrete social media tools,” says one audience member, echoing a sense of the buzz in the room. Atta boy, Ric. What’s going on is the prowess of social media is making headline and people are listening, and they really need to learn how to use the media.
“How do you find in Twitter people you are sincerely interested in following?” Early on, in the old days of Twitter, says Ric, if you wanted to find followers you would find people and elect to follow them, and in doing so you’d build up your following. But Twitter rapidly became far more vast then friends following friends. Some people have 10,000 followers, and says Ric many of that number are not paying attention. For today, Ric suggests we begin by searching for terms or phrases of interest to you, such as “Hudson Valley.” You will identify people you want to follow. Another way is to find people you respect and follow their followers, and a third approach would be to identify authorities – for example, authors – and develop lists of these topic centered experts. You can then elect to follow people on the list.
How do I get social media on my smart phone? Go to the app store or go online and access the social media site’s mobile phone. “My best suggestion,” says another in the audience, is “go to the AT&T store and ask them how to do what you want to do? There is this skinny little guy there and he’ll take your phone in hand and do it for you free!”
To a lot of the questions, Ric recommends what he calls “The Google Universe. “I like all things Google.” Google profile; Google Reader where you can read blogs and also follow people; and Google Local. It’s a freebee; go to Google with your browser, select Google Maps, and then, add your business. It’s important so long as you yourself are your business, even if you don’t have consumer traffic. The Dragon Search team jumps in with more concrete advice: “You have to verify, and your response will be followed with a postcard from Google or phone call from them.” Then you can go in and edit it. Then ask your clients to post reviews of your localized listing.”
Write a blog per week. Blogging is the meat and potatoes of social media. The best for people in business is for you to host your blog on your Website. Second, say the Dragon Search Marketing experts: use Wordpress – the broadest app being used in blogging today. But if you don’t know what you are doing and are scared, try Google’s Blogger. “It’s a great deal for $10.”
And comment on blogs. Think about adding relevant comments to others’ blogs. Maybe the blog missed a point, and this can be your chance to augment. Good practice: Post a blog. Then go to your Twitter account and write that you just posted. Go out to other blogs of similar themes and mention that you just posted a blog covering the same address.
It’s important to start with goals and objectives. Examples would be to use social media to sell more product. Then you can ask what are some of the objectives, such as to build an audience of people who we can dialogue with, the audience who will potentially make a purchase, down to the evangelists.
Panoramio is great for geo tagging photos. It’s like Flckr, but you can post pictures to your profile and you can place geographical location for this.
Use Facebook to add a Fan Page for your business. The Fan Page is built from your personal Facebook page. Then you ask your friends to go to your fan page. There is a solid business reason for Facebook in business. “ We think we are selling our service or product, but we are actually selling our passion, emotion,” Claudia said.
“What is social media but having conversations. You cannot just go out and promote, “says Etela Ivkovic, who with Claudia is part of the Dragon Search Marketing team.
What is the worst that can happen in social media? One day SUNY New Paltz lost all of its fans. Happened to one of our clients. You can store this, Facebook FBQL to bring up XML list of all your fans. You will have to ask all of them to return. How can this happen? On Facebook you can have more than one admin, and one could have deleted. Facebook will never send you an e-mail.