Lipstick on a Pig? 5 Ways to Upgrade an Existing Social Media Presence
I get asked by my prospective clients on a regular basis to “fix” their online presence. They, in either a rush of enthusiastic urgency (which I adore and nurture) or on the rather expensive paid advice of some expert (which I abhor and curse), have ventured into their online reputation development and it has fallen short.
They don’t like how their blog looks or they do but it doesn’t bring them any clients. They auto post quotes to their Twitter feed and don’t understand how they’re not getting clients from that. They think constantly running promotional specials on their Facebook page is a good idea (as a professional disclaimer, if you are currently my client, NO, I am not talking about you – any similarity this description has to a real client is not intentional….that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).
To help you – maybe you directly or the clients you serve – here are some tips to help you upgrade an existing social media presence.
#1 – Identify your business purpose and use it more
Instead of launching an arsenal of tactics, think about your core strategy. What are you trying to accomplish by being on social media? If you are wanting to get more media, then are you engaging with media outlets? If you are wanting to be of service to more clients, are you providing them with something they value when they come to your social media stream? Are you solving problems with tips and resources? Are you increasing your brand loyalty by demonstrating your values? Maybe you want to drive people to the fresh baked goods that just came out of the oven – if so, are you telling them the donuts are ready NOW? Are you incorporating calls to action into your stream?
It’s just as often that I see people being too social instead of too business like on their social media. Part of it is a fear of the sales close and part of it is a fear of looking like a jerk. Ignore all that and don’t forget to ask for action. Be honest in your presentation – people know you’re in business. Don’t pretend you’re not. Yes, you want to be a real person, have a conversation, not be a pitch machine. Don’t neglect your business purpose in the pursuit of being social. Know what you want to accomplish and remember to include that in your activities.
#2 – Add the power of SEO
With the rise of social monitoring tools and search, it’s important to include the right search engine optimized (SEO) keywords in your profiles, your blurbs, your blog posts, your picture tags. It will make you easier to find and will reinforce your business purpose. People want to find you. Make it easier for them to do that. Use the words in your online presence that your clients use to find someone like you.
For example, when conversing with a new follower on Twitter, maybe someone who retweeted your blog post, include keywords in your response. Don’t just say thank you. Drop little breadcrumbs for others to pick up and get engaged. “Thank you for sharing my post on #socialmedia, Mr. New Follower. Glad you enjoy online marketing too.” Extra points if you use a hash tag.
And, please, please, please, for the love of God – drop the 3rd person PR release style bio. Only cheesy motivational speakers that live in a van by the river and obnoxious prize fighters talk about themselves that way. “Vicki Flaugher says don’t do that and Vicki Flaugher is always right, so don’t do that. Vicki Flaugher won’t like it.” See, cheesy (and obnoxious).
#3 – Mix it up
Whereas many people are good at auto-posting fluff, not many of them mix it up enough. Quotes from Gandhi and Tony Robbins are OK, if they are relevant to your audience and add value. Same with only posting your own blog posts. Doing it because you don’t know what else to say or do and you want to stay “top of mind” is stupid. Find something compelling to say!
Being the top of mind d-bag is not an honor you are seeking – um, here’s a thought – be quotable instead. Include responses to other people, highlighting other people’s business, thanking people, adding videos/audios/blog posts instead of just pitches, personal and business mentions, funny and serious, short and long posts, etc.
Set aside some time every day to watch your @ replies and the other online conversation about you/your industry and respond to it. Post some blog comments on other people’s blogs. Add a comment to a Youtube video. Engage with your community. It’s more than just talking to them. It’s hearing them talk to you and responding.
For more tips, read the past post re: 14 quick and dirty things to talk about on Social
#4 – Add consistency, continuity, and connection
I confess this one is hard for me, but it’s the advice I do my best to live by. Show up. Show up regularly. Show up being the same basic persona you were yesterday. Show up.
Maybe that seems too simple, but I think it’s hard for most of us. We all have a gazillion things to do – it’s easy to push social media to the side. It’s easy for the urgent and unimportant to crowd out the non-urgent yet uber important.
Social is a knob, not a switch. You have to warm up the crowd, work the audience, become a fixture in the community, and spend the time before you gain much credibility. Spend the time – show up.
While you’re at it – work the community you already know. Spend a day connecting via social to every customer (vendor, supplier, sub-contractor) you have ever served or known. Google their name, find out what they do. Friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and connect with them via LinkedIn.
Start sewing together the loose pieces of communication you already have access to to build your connected and powerful network. Extra points when you start introducing members of your community to each other. The power of connection will always play to your favor. Use it – connect people who need to meet.
#5 – Fire yourself
This one is going to be short and sweet. Hire someone else to do your social. Fire yourself. Maybe not for everything, but for most of it. Tap into the ever increasing base of professional social media managers and hire one of them. Heck, maybe hire a whole team of them.
Very few of us write a great bio for ourselves – we don’t have the perspective. Very few of us can step outside the urgency of meeting today’s budget and sales goals to chat with our clients. Very few of us can focus on just that one aspect. Most of us get our feelings hurt when someone complains about something we did.
Use your own engagement as spice and let someone else make the foundation sound. Yes, you want to show up but you shouldn’t try to carry the entire weight. Let other people on your team help out. Make a community by being willing to share. Expand your concept of what you do to include others.
Fire yourself – you won’t regret it.
There is always hope
The good news is that most social media online reputations can be fixed. Being there is the first step. Being there in a great, effective business way is the next step. If it’s time for you to take it to the next level, then these few suggestions are a good start. Knock them out and we can talk some more about it in the future. Let me know how it goes, ok?
~Vicki @Smartwoman Flaugher
graphic by gisele13
Published: July 5, 2011 By: