What's the key to success in social media?Being social, of course! But what does that really mean? Does being active on social media mean that you:
- Share the intimate details of today's lunch with friends on Facebook?
- Build your LinkedIn network to the system max of 30,000 contacts?
- Tweet your opinions about the Oscar results?
- Blog prolifically every day?
For most of us in the business world, social media is a great tool to network, build relationships, create a personal or company brand and attract our target clients (or candidates). And when it comes to social media, there are two primary ways you can use it:
1) One-to-one - personal networking
2) One-to-many - content sharing
For most social media purists, the first option above is really the only option. You use social media to converse with specific people just like you would in person, over the phone or through an email. Through social media, you direct message people you want to reach. You send personal messages with InMail messaging (LinkedIn), you send direct messages on Twitter, or re-tweet the people you like and you use social media to create personal relationships.
The advantage of social media for personal networking is that it allows you to discover and easily connect with people you'd like to know. Why? Maybe because you value their expertise. Maybe because you admire their company. Or maybe because you'd like to open the doors to a potential business relationship.
For the purists, social media is exclusively about one-to-one communication.
But I'm not a purist.
While social media is a terrific way to network with specific individuals, it's also a powerful way to attract a group of people to you and your company. Social media makes it easy to get your message in front of hundreds, or even thousands of people who don't already know you--people who are highly likely to be a great fit for your company.
Another benefit is that social media makes it easy to position yourself as an expert, or even a thought leader. It makes it easy to get your message in front of the right people, at the right time.
All it takes is a consistent effort to participate in social content sharing.
What is Social Content Sharing?
Just as the name implies, it refers to sharing ideas and information on social networks.
How do you do Social Content Sharing?
- Use status updates to post information, ask questions, and drive people to your website.
- Post snippets from blogs, talk about upcoming events, achievements of your staff, current events, industry news, etc.
- Share pictures and images and create a more "fun" platform to share information and content.
- Tweet snippets from your blog.
- Re-tweet industry influencers tweets.
- Write @ tweets to key influencers.
- Begin following your target audience.
- Listen and respond!
- Become part of industry and other groups in your geographic area. Start discussions in groups and respond to other's questions.
- Share your blog posts as discussions in groups.
- Use the event tool to create events and invite people directly.
- Create a company page where you share important and relevant content with your members.
- Use the LinkedIn answer search to find questions and post responses to those questions.
- Get your team involved. It's really boring when one person does all the posting.
What's the point?The value of social content sharing is that when done correctly, it exposes your company to the people you want to reach. It's like very targeted advertising, but it is DEFINITELY NOT advertising. And it's not about selling. It's about sharing highly useful, relevant content with people who will appreciate what you have to say. It is an absolutely essential part of any online marketing effort today.
It's also a great way to drive more traffic to your website.
At Haley, we saw a dramatic increase of web traffic from the social media sites when we started a concentrated effort of our own social sharing once a week starting in December 2011.
The graph below shows web traffic from the social media sites to our website. (The spike in September is from a Facebook contest that we ran.) As you can see, our overall increase in Facebook from June 2011 to January 2012 is 680%, while LinkedIn traffic increased 391% and Twitter traffic increased 248%.
The majority of this traffic is from our exact target audience. And most of this traffic was from "new" visitors--people we haven't yet reached in other ways.
Web traffic from social media sites (June 2011-January 2012)
If you're in sales, social content sharing can be an integral part of your cold calling process. It's an amazingly effective way to get people interested in speaking with you. When combined with personal networking on social media, it becomes a powerful way to generate appointments. But you should plan to spend at least an hour a day on social media to maximize its value.
If you're in recruiting, social content sharing can be a terrific way to attract the best candidates to your firm. It's also useful for building a following (on Facebook or LinkedIn) of people who may become future candidates.
This sounds too good to be true--so what's the catch?
Time. Social content sharing is very labor intensive. It takes dedicated time every day to find, or better yet, produce interesting content. And it takes time to share the right message with the right people on the right social media.
The other catch? Expertise. When done well, social content sharing is a powerful tool for attraction. But done incorrectly, and you'll repel the exact people you are trying to reach.
To help you make the most of social content sharing, here are a few do's and don'ts:
- Share content regularly, at least once a week and ideally once a day or more.
- Produce original ideas or at least comment on other's ideas and articles.
- Join groups where the people you want to reach hang out.
- Build a network of people you can direct message with new content.
- Share the content and ideas of the people you want to read your content. (Sharing is a two-way street!)
- Focus on problems and interests your clients have. Always add value!
- Drive people back to your website where they can take action (apply for a job, request more information, etc.).
- Sell. Social media is NOT a channel for direct sales calls.
- Only share information about job openings (it gets boring really fast--and you'll lose followers).
- Spam groups with junk content. Only share good stuff.
- Focus on staffing and what you do for a living. Focus on what your clients care about.
|Need help with social content sharing?
Whether you need help coming up with a strategy, producing content, or simply finding the time to execute your social content sharing plan, Haley Marketing is here to help.
Just give us a call at 888.696.2900 or contact us online.