This is a follow up to yesterday’s post. All of us, even the early social media pioneers, are learning as we go along, and you will too. You don’t need a plan, but having one, even a simple one, will move you forward in much more effective ways.Â Here’s where having an ally, a social media guide of sorts, who is already out there and has tested the waters can be helpful. Although any plan needs to be tailored to the person, company or organization, here are what I see one set of steps in reaching out and effectively expanding a brand into this new web 2.0 frontier:
My favorite quote of recent days: “The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” Benjamin Disraeli
Step One begin to define your social media public relations road map:
- Think about and refine your “it” – your “it” is what You and Your Work are all about – and how it can be used by those in that space: begin to step into and own your “it,” and use it to help others.*
- Define your goals
- Create actionable objectives**
- Draft a plan, even if it is simple, writing it down helps, really it does.
- Learn about the tools, and social networking places; they are easier than you might think, most are free
- Be willing to spend some time each day using the tools and exploring the online spaces
- Be willing to connect in the real world as well.Â Combine your online networking with offline networking too.
- Integrate these new tools and ideas into your current PR and marketing plans
Then Implement Step Two:
- Find the networks your customers/clients are in
- Learn the to use the tools they are using
- Listen and learn the culture, see how others are connecting
- Be willing to put in a little time. But be consistent. It is a balance – what is called social networking goes on 24/7, and it can be like meeting an octopus – you reach out to shake one hand/tentacle, and 8 others reach out, one after another and can overwhelm you.Â Do a little everyday; once a week won’t cut it. Remember Steps one and the first step of step two above.
- Bring something to this 24/7 networking picnic. Don’t just bring Your signature dish; bring the equivalent of a table cloth to brighten up the picnic table; bring a friend and introduce them around; connect the dog walker you just met at the party to the person you know needs those services; bring that magazine article (or link to it’s online counterpart) that made you think of one of your contacts – share it with them and others who may be interested. Be the person that comes early to help set up, or stays after to help clean up, even if you weren’t on the organizing committee. After a while volunteer to join the committee. Remember what it was like to be a newbie, and help other new kids on the block.
- But don’t be the overeager person shaking everyone’s hand, slapping their backs and tooting your own horn all the time; it’s as tiring online as it is in the real world. If you get feedback from folks, and you will (positive and negative) listen, apologize if needed and adjust.
- Just as important, yes listen and learn, but participate, even if that is hard for you. If you are shy in real life, don’t think of the huge party, connect with one person, then the next and let it grow slowly. Ask questions, give answers, connect people and information and be you.
- Also be wary of falling into the “If I build it, they will come” theory. It is a logical fallacy outside of the movies.
- Be authentic; this is huge in the online space. People build trust with those who share information, not just push their own agendas. Social media maven extraordinaire Chris Brogan suggests a ratio of 12:1 – give 12 pieces of info about others for each link to your own info/product/service you mention.Â Or at least 6:1.
- Connect with the movers and shakers, when appropriate, and with the everyday folks like yourself. Connect with those in your field and share back and forth with them, but more importantly – reach out and connect with others who need your services.
- Find how your “IT” – what You and your Work are all about – can be used by those in that space, begin to step in and own your “IT,” and use it to help others.
Then implement Step Three Keep Exploring the Social Media Space and Refine your Plans:
As you begin to feel more comfortable in this new environment refine your goals, objectives and plan.Â Apply what you have learned, refine as needed and move forward.
You can find me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathylarkin
on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CathyWebSavvyPR (no caps needed, it just makes it easier to read)
or e-mail me at Cathy [dot] Larkin [at] WebSavvyPR [Dot] Com