Some day in the near future I would love to be a major Social Media influencer. But first there are a lot of things I need to do, including revamp my Web site so it speaks to the new direction I want to go in life. I am patient though. I know when I set my mind to things, they will come to fruition. I just have to put the energy out into the universe and have some faith. I know the Universe is conspiring with me. Yes, I believe in the Power of Intention.
My main reason for wanting to be a social influencer is two-fold. I believe in the power of social media- the real-time ability for almost anyone in the world to post news or an idea and then watch that iota of information move effortlessly across a virtual time/space continuum, changing moments, days and lives thousands of miles away, with a push of the button. My bigger hope though is that someday after I have done the hard work to establish myself as game-changer in an ocean of avatar faces and catchy bios, I want to use my influence to help non-profit organizations change the world. I do realize though that to get to point B, I have a lot to learn. I am very aware that like life, Social Media is a journey without a destination.
So without further ado, I want to share 10 important ideas, blogs and people I have met over the last four months who have impacted my learning and increased my desire to become a better Social Media Human. For all you Social Media consultants and Managers, I would love it if you would share the names of books and blogs that you really like in the comments section below. I am always open to recommendations.
1.Social Media is about being Social: Not sure what this means to most people, but to the person in the Social Media sphere I respect the most, Kim Garst, this means consistently interacting and engaging with your fans; but also being AUTHENTIC. I look at a lot of social media pages and feeds and often see very little if any engagement happening. Engaging with your fans and followers is such an important aspect of Social Media. Being SOCIAL is in the name of this industry. By engaging you humanize your cause and put yourself right smack dab in the middle of the conversation people are having about your company/products. As I learn the in-and-outs of the basics of Social Media, I have watched and listened to Kim a lot over the past 3 years and she practices what she preaches better than anyone I’ve seen on the Internet. I’ve heard it said before, if you were working in a retail establishment and a customer walked in and said, “Hi,” almost everyone would say hi back. Take that same idea to your virtual sales floor. Being social also includes the obvious – engaging with follower’s questions and comments – and thanking your fans for interacting with your content.
2. Read books written by the best in your industry: Here are a few recommendations of some really great books I have read as of late. 1. Youtility, by Jay Baer. There is enough information in this book to keep a marketing or social media person busy for a year. There are a lot of great information on creating awesome blogs that will drive sales and some very knowledgeable advice and examples about how to be an expert, “Social Listener.” 2. The Art of Social Media, by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. No matter what level of Social Media prowess you believe you have, there is something in this book that you can benefit from. I think the best statement in the book that Guy makes is, excuse me for my paraphrase, “If you think you know everything about Social Media then you probably don’t know anything.” The book is laid out in a very easy to digest format. 3. Will the Real You Please Stand up. Here is the review I wrote on Amazon for Kim’s book. I am also in the middle of reading Neal Schaffer’s Maximize Your Social and I ordered Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Review from Amazon for, Will the Real You Please Stand Up.
“Way to go, Kim! This book is not just a must-read for anyone involved in the world of Social Media, but it should be a requirement for anyone in business, especially entrepreneurs and dotcomers. Kim is the epitome of authenticity and her book is written in such an accessible and honest tone, that if you are not being authentic in your own life- business or professional- this book will make the pit of your stomach turn-causing you to re-evaluate all that you stand for. I follow Kim on her various social media channels and can vouch that she practices what she preaches. This book offers easy to understand guidelines for building a strong and authentic brand. Kim offers great examples of Brands who are doing it right and those who do not. She also repeats the basics over and over again so you will not forget them. Engagement, Engagement, Engagement! Funny, how many people I see doing social without engagement. Each chapter is concluded with a exercise to help the reader put the information into practice. There are so many quotable lines in this book that mine looks like my college textbooks, full of scribbles and highlights. As mentioned before, this book is way more than a guide on how to excel in Social Media. It is a guide for being a good person and living a good life. Thanks again for sharing your wisdom and great attitude!”
3. Social Listening: Do you listen to what your followers and fans are saying on Social Media? Recently, I recommended to a client, that every morning they should grab a cup of coffee and sit down for 30 minutes and browse their company’s social media channels. Where else can you get so much real-time information that will help you take the pulse of an important section of your customers? Sitting in the middle of the conversation gives you the opportunity to take the feedback and redirect your social media plan. You can also give Youtility by offering suggestions to any questions. Be gracious too. Thank everyone for their comments good and bad. Every interaction is an opportunity to make a lifelong virtual impression.
4. Read a lot of blogs: Even though I feel that many blogs are saying the same thing, just in a different way, as this blog is and probably will do to, read as many as you can consume. I try to digest at least five to ten blog posts a day. The important take away is that, life is about repetition. We learned to walk by putting one foot in front of the other, a million times, right? Repetition builds expertise. So read as many different people as you can get your hands on and keep your mind open to finding something new with each. The best learners are able to be open-minded. Here is a list of a great place to start. Click Here.
5. Don’t let your Social Channels get stagnant: If you are opening Social Media channels or advising clients to do so, make sure you have a game plan to populate them and keep them fresh. See #8 below if you need a sample Social template. I have seen way too many companies open a Facebook Page or set up a Twitter feed and then let it get stagnant. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to post ten times a day, at least post something. Nowadays, unless you have money, once you open a channel you need to make sure you stay consistent. Otherwise, you might need to spend to get it back online.
6. Tweet the same tweet multiple times: I was recently listening to a podcast with Guy Kawasaki and he mentioned he tweets the same thing at least four times. Twitter is a fast moving environment and if you follow thousands of people you are seeing such a small portion of all the tweets in your feed. The probability of someone seeing your tweet if you post it once is pretty bleak. The top Social Media managers all recommend Tweeting out a blog link or a tweet at least two to four times. A lot of the big hitters are recycling content, tweeting others’ content and mixing this with their content to the tune of 40 to 50 tweets a day and 10 to 20 Facebook posts. Let someone else decide how much is enough. But, understand your channels and your audience; you don’t to use a “catch-all” to drive all your customers away.
7. Use the 80/20 Rule: For every post of your own content, especially if it is sales heavy, post three to four things that are industry-related or content from your peers or non-salesy content.
8. Use Marketo and Hubspot free materials. I have a folder on my desktop labeled E-books. I can guarantee that over half of the free books came from either Marketo or Hubspot. If you read the book Youtility you will learn the value in offering free information to your customers. There is a ton of free information out there to be used. This is much more cost-effective than paying a university tuition to learn the same thing you can get online for free. Between mentorship, real life experience and all the free tools and videos, you should be able to build a really good foundation to start rockin’ social media.
9. Join Twitter Chats- If you not only want to build your community, but also want to learn as much as you can from some of the best in the industry, join Twitter Chats. I have been participating in these for a couple of months now and I just love them. Everyone involved has been insightful and friendly. They cover so many different topics and the takeaways are priceless. A few of my favorites are #Sbizhour #Smchat and #CmGR Here is a list of a few more. Click Here. If you are not sure how to get on a Twitter Chat, Google it.
10. Follow the leaders- If you want to be a doctor wouldn’t you go to where the doctors hang out and talk to them? Look for lists of the people who are considered the best in your industry and add them or follow them on their social media channels. The best way to see how it’s done is to watch the pros in action. Here is a link to a couple of great lists highlighting the industry’s top leaders. For a great list of women who are rockin’ it click here. Here is an another awesome list from Entrepreneur. Click Here.
11. BONUS: It all starts with the basics. Remember to LISTEN, ENGAGE and be SOCIAL! If you are about to type something and you have to question whether or not to send it. Don’t. It’s much harder to take something back than it is too just not say anything in the first place. Remember, there is a lot lost in translation when it comes to digital technologies. If you have to guess, use a tip out of one of my favorite books, the Four Agreements, “Don’t Make Assumptions.” Ask questions until you understand.
If you really want to work in social media, jump in and do it. Follow your dreams. I just finished reading the Alchemist again and I know exactly where I want to go in life. I just need to have persistence, patience, be friendly, and Authentic –like Kim Garst says- and don’t let anyone talk me out of my dreams. Best of luck and I look forward to seeing you out on the virtual highway.
Antonio Fernandez is the social media manager for LUCIDMEDIA.