What works in social media?

(Last Updated On: March 23, 2012)

People often ask me what works in social media.

First, lets define social media. I like to define social media as the ability to comment to the content creator.  This can be through commenting on a blog post or asking a question about a YouTube video.   It’s an opportunity to follow up on great material. It’s a chance to develop relationships with the people you value as experts.

It’s all fairly clear to me.

Nevertheless, people still want to know the quickest way to get to the top, the secret to driving traffic and becoming experts in their field. Unfortunately, the answer is not usually what they want to hear.

The secret to success in social media is being social.

I disagree with all the people suggesting social media is poorly named.  It’s all about providing great content (media) and being social with it by extending the conversation.   The more quality content you create, and the more social you are the more success you will have.

Where should you start?

When creating a sales funnel — or plan — I recommend using your website as the foundation. A blog is a great home base to create and share good information.  Your blog is where you develop your reputation as an expert.  Although blogging among many top corporations seems to be dropping off, blogging as a whole is still growing at a solid pace. Blogs are valuable and still drive traffic.

The search optimization value alone is worth the effort of regularly posting to your site.  The more you blog, the more traffic you will attract through the search engines.

Three things that work for blogs:

  • Keyword-rich headlines and titles are highly valued by search engines.
  • The more you post, the more subscribers and traffic you will earn.
  • Share your blog posts in the social media (including old posts).

What works with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn?

  • Sharing quality focused (themes) information
  • Sharing other people’s stuff
  • Commenting directly to people
  • Thanking people

Podcasts, videos and streaming events position you as the expert.  The more people hear you talk and see you on video, the more familiar and trusting they become of you as the expert.  Your Tweets and status updates have more meaning because your followers have started developing a relationship with you, even if you have never met.

  • Video on Facebook is a great combination.

Attend events where you know you have social media followers.  A meaningful hello, hand shake, and a conversation will add depth to the relationship.

Why is this important?  Because people you have solid relationships with in the social media are more likely to share your stuff and answer your calls. Online relationships tend to last longer if you have met in person, even briefly.

As tempting as they are, social media spamming tricks don’t work.  Shouting into a room full of people networking, urging them to visit your website, doesn’t make people want to connect with you.  If you take time to walk into the same room, start conversations and develop relationships, some people may actually look at your website and follow up.

The same rules apply online as do offline.

We so badly want a magic formula that will instantly drive quality traffic, or a trick that will attract new clients and make us all rich.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Social media does amplify your skills, talents, and networking abilities to the world.  If you are engaging, creative or highly talented, social media will help you connect with more people around the world all for the cost of your time.

Can you develop a following without being interactive? Yes, you can, if you are awesome or already famous.  People will follow you in great numbers if you offer unique or creative material or if they know you through other media.

If you are a social media wallflower waiting for people to come to you — please stop wondering why social media is not working.  What works is being proactive and connecting with people, not just placing stuff on your social media.

For some, it is good just to have an open Facebook page and Twitter account because it’s 2012. These sites have regular posts, but little interaction.  Don’t expect much from them.  They are useful for the press, analysts, and customers looking for more information.

Not everyone is willing to invest time in social media. There is nothing wrong with that, especially, if your business is doing well.


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