Once we have decided to use social media as a tool in our marketing and image development efforts, we need to build a following. Unfortunately, it is not always a 'build it and they will come' scenario. So, how do we build followings that justify our time commitments?
First and foremost, it is crucial to note that it is not the quantity of our followers, but the quality. We could have 5,000 followers, but if they are all our competitors trying to see what we're up to rather than the audiences we are trying to reach, we are throwing our time away. Be proud and appreciative when we gain followers from our target audience.
Once we have established ourselves on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other, we need to reach out to others. Here are a few simple ideas to get us started, but not overwhelm:
Facebook: Become a fan of the page. Encourage friends and family members to become fans by posting a link on our personal walls. Fan area businesses that are also on Facebook. Solicit the help of teen groups, advocates, business groups, etc. to get the word out and become fans. Don't forget that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is women 55-65, so we need to remember to focus on reaching our female audience.
Become a Fan of Laurie Boettcher Speaks today! (I know, shameless, plug. ;-)
Twitter: Go to www.twellow.com and in the search box, enter the name of your city. The results will show registered Twitter users in your city. Follow them. People often check to see who is following them and will follow in return, especially if they did not realize we had a Twitter account. (Note: While on Twellow, make sure to register your Twitter account!) Also, use the Retweet function to forward information on. When we Retweet a message, that message shows up in the stream of the person/business we retweeted, as well as all of the people that follow them. Thus, we may earn new followers just by recognition.
Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/LaurieBoettcher.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is my favorite, as many of you know. This is where we build our professional credibility. Connect with credible friends, family members, colleagues, board members, clients, patrons, vendors, and fellow professionals. Whom do we know that we would like to stay professionally connected? When we send invitations to connect, let's not ruin the opportunity by not having a completed profile or personalizing the invite. Instead, let's greet the person, remind him/her of how we know each other, and tell why we want to connect.
My profile is at www.linkedin.com/in/laurieboettcher.
Overall: Have frontline personnel wear buttons reading, "Fan Us On Facebook at . . ." or "Follow Us On Twitter @ . . ." Have bookmarks, drink coasters, hand-held fans, and other trinkets created to let our audiences know we are using social media. Include links to social media accounts in e-mail autosignatures and on business cards.
We'll go into more detail in later posts, but this will get us on our way.