Scheduling social networking time
When life is busy and you’re trying to consciously build your online brand communication efforts with an inbound marketing strategy it’s not easy to always find time to review and connect with those you distribute content to on your social networks.
You know it’s important to join the conversation as that’s how you build relationships online, but unless you take a strategic approach to it the day can slip away and your relationships can suffer for it.
My advice is to schedule some time each day, week and month to do a few simple things that will help you participate in conversations, build your networks and attract more readers to your content.
Daily social networking activity
Each day you should spend at least 15 to 20 minutes updating your social networks. You can certainly change your status and/or tweet something interesting. Use Ping.fm or TweetDeck, or some other service to efficiently take care of all your social networks in one fell swoop. Beyond that, make sure to respond to messages, and potentially wish folks who have a birthday on that day a happy one. Find at least one new person to connect with and follow or friend them, but make sure it’s meaningful to follow them--have a genuine interest in them before following them or requesting to be their friend.
You may want to also take around 10 minutes to “listen” to what others are saying about you and/or your company throughout various social media. You can use sites like Social Mention and Yelp! to help with this.
Weekly social networking activity
Each week be sure to absorb info and respond. Take at least 30 minutes to really pour over a few blogs from your industry and respond with added helpful info or comments (this is a more focused effort than your daily blog skimming). Use LinkedIn Answers and provide relevant answers to various questions that you absolutely can answer. This gets your name out there and positions you as a credible expert in your field. Post LinkedIn or Facebook Group discussion topic, or ask a question in a discussion, and be sure to respond when people answer you.
Monthly social networking activity
On a regular monthly basis it’s important to track and measure the results of your daily and weekly activities. Even if informal, it’s helpful to have an idea of how things are trending due to your efforts. You may want to track the number of new friends and followers you obtain, but probably more important is the number of new viable business and/or off-line relationships you gain from your efforts. So it’s a good idea to track how many of your new friends and followers have resulted or contributed to new business for your company. The simplest way to do this is to look at your new business coming in and simply ask where they found you, or if you know they’re a friend or follower on your social networks you can likely correlate that your social media activity had a bit to do with it. This is obviously not a sure fire way to track this, but it’s certainly better than nothing. However, if you use opt-in landing pages for various content that you give your customers and potential customer that can be a more accurate measurement of new business lead conversions.
If you find time to do more by all means take advantage of it, but these are a few simple things you can do on a regular basis to build your social networks and engage with those in your networks. The point is regular, even small, efforts will add up over time. Over time you’ll be able to see real progress from your efforts.