Although I’m not a qualified social media consultant by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve been involved in setting up, running and expanding a couple of company’s and community’s social media presences online. With that being said, herewith some of the basics I use when setting an entity up from scratch.
I’ll focus on the 4 big ticket items – Email, Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.
Note: LinkedIN & YouTube are different animals all together, so won’t be covering them for now. YouTube is a biggy, but the investment and time required to establish a proper channel is not for beginners, so for now I suggest putting it on the back burner. LinkedIN is less complex to get started and ultimately drives down recruitment costs. Also not for beginners, but something that needs to be started before YouTube if you’re strategy allows for it..
As Microsoft homer, I’m definitely going to recommend going to www.outlook.com and registering an email address. I find the email functionality, coupled with Office Web Apps, Skydrive and Calendar functions a charm to use.
Once you have your email sorted, example firstname.lastname@example.org, it’s time to move onto your twitter feed.
So step one is to register your new twitter account by using the email address you have just created. Try your best to keep your twitter username short, but descriptive. Remember you only have 140 characters to tweet with, so having a loooooooonnnnnnnnnnggg twitter handle, will make tweeting difficult. So I suggest a little abbreviation for example @my_comp considering your full company name is my_company.
So, once you’ve registered the account, you can customise your page via settings (stick to the basic themes, don’t go crazy with too many add-ons.) After you’ve done this, its important to follow accounts or people relevant to what you are doing and in the same industry. This will expose your account to them and also give you insight into what is going on.
Twitter – Super Important
Don’t go live with your twitter account unless you intend to use it. A dormant twitter account won’t win you any followers.
Twitter – Widgets & More
Once you have your twitter account rocking, it’s time to look into the additional features that it provides. Basic uses are embedded tweets and timelines shown on Intranets, Public websites and other. In order to use them you will need to have a basic understanding of widgets. Not going to delve into the detail, but for great info on how to get started, have a look at https://business.twitter.com/.
I have to confess, I probably utilise about 20% of Facebook’s true power, but herewith some basics. When starting off, register your account and then create a page.
The account is used to interact with facebook in terms of posting comments, making friend requests and spreading word on your brand throughout the network.
The page is there to advertise your brand & notify people that ‘like’ your page of what the latest happenings of your brand or cause. To understand the difference between pages and groups, have a read through this article on MASHABLE (http://mashable.com/2009/05/27/facebook-page-vs-group/). In terms of social a large benefit of having a page and NOT a group is the fact that a page is indexed by search engines, where as the group is not.
Connected Facebook to your fans works in a similar way to twitter in terms of exposing widgets that can be used on intranets & internet sites to expose comments, likes and more. More info on how this works can be found here – https://developers.facebook.com/apps.
Microsoft replaced their live spaces blogging platform with WordPress a couple of years ago. That alone should tell you a lot about the nature of the platform. I used to use blogger, but since moving to WordPress I haven’t looked back.
Creating your blog and managing multiple blogs are really easy via the dashboard, but to get started, simply register your WordPress account and get going. Once you have your first blog, posting is easy via a couple of options, namely:
- Windows Live Writer
- Browser WordPress.com (quick post & full blown authoring)
- Mobile & Tablet applications
- Email (a feature enabled via Dashboard)
Spending a couple of minutes customising the design is both crucial and easy as pie. Pick a theme, add some widgets and publish the changes.
Personally, I love how WordPress handles tags, categories and seamlessly makes them available via SEO with NO interaction from the author.
Another groovy feature is the WordPress reader which allows you to browse through blogs that you follow and “reblog” posts that you think are relevant.
Other than posts, WordPress also gives you the ability to create pages and forms. The out of the box forms element is pretty limited, but widgets for sale quickly take that functionality to the next level.
As for pages, use it to create the “About”, “Contact” and other pages required to round off you blog nicely. Another groovy feature is decided how the landing page is handled. It can either be a custom page OR a list of your latest posts – LOVE THIS!
Before embarking on a social strategy, it’s important to have an internal policy in place that governs communications of your employees on social networks. After that, ensure that you have dedicated staff that are responsible for keeping the various platforms up to date. There is nothing worse than a dormant account be it Facebook, LinkedIN, twitter or a non responsive email address.
Tweet daily, post to Facebook & LinkedIN weekly and create a blog post at least twice a month. I would say those are the bare minimums, but stay consistent.
Separate the type of updates into the logical areas, for example Facebook (events & social), twitter (opinions & announcements), LinkedIN (job posts) and WordPress (opinion posts & blog).
Most importantly, be passionate, fair, stay humble and keep a good balance between social media and real life.