Social media enables conversation. But do you?

using social media as a broadcast medium, talking at peopleOver the last few days I have been putting together a presentation about how to drive engagement through social media.

As I looked for examples, a couple of things struck me.

First, engagement is just a trendy word for conversation, and conversation is a big word for talking. In other words, social media is about talking with people.

Second, I discovered that almost nobody was actually using social media as a means to talk with people.

By far the most common use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social sites was simply to talk at people. Here is what I’m doing. Here is what I’m thinking. Here is what I have written. Here is some news about our latest product or service.

In other words, most companies are still using social media as a broadcast medium.

However, I did find companies that were taking the trouble to talk with their prospects and customers through social media.

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A short video on how freelancers can profit from social media.

You don’t need to me to tell you how fast social media is growing. But you may not be aware of some of the actual figures…like how there are almost 700,000 updates being published on Facebook every 60 seconds.

Within the ongoing growth of social media, opportunities abound. And this is particularly true for freelancers who are, in many ways, ideally positioned to profit from social media.

To give you an idea of the scale of the opportunity for freelancers, I have created this short slideshow video…

The teleconference call mentioned in the video has come and gone, but you can learn more about my social media program here.

3 Ways to Make Your Web Content Headlines More Shareable.

web content headlinesMaking headlines shareable through social media? What’s that about?

Well, if your content page headlines aren’t gaining significant traction through social media, you’re missing the boat.

Today, all your content headlines have to do double duty:

First, they have to work on the content page itself. The page headline has to compel attention, hook the reader, and drive readers into the body of the content.

Second…your headlines have to be shareable through social media.

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Compare 2 hours spent on social media with 2 hours having lunch with a client, peer or colleague.

Let me preface this by saying I am a big fan of social media as a business tool for freelancers, or for any other kind of solopreneur or business.

The smart use of social media can be a great way to connect with people in your industry and reach out to potential customers, clients or partners.

However…

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To set smarter social media goals, think like a B2B marketer.

One of the great challenges of social media marketing is to make sure your time and resources are being used effectively.

It’s all too easy to put a huge amount of energy into social media, across multiple sites, and then scratch your head and wonder whether your hard work actually made a significant difference.

Social media activity is always open-ended. There are always more sites you could become active on, and there is no limit to the time you can spend on the sites where you are already engaged.

Hence the need for a strong strategy and clear limits.

If you work for B2C companies, it can be tough to set those limits. And that’s why, even if you don’t have B2B clients, I suggest you create a social media strategy for an imaginary B2B client. Just as an exercise.

For B2B it is somehow easier to set limits.

Let’s imagine you are working for a company in the food services industry that specializes in selling frozen goods to independent restaurants and bars.

How might you help them with social media?

Here are some options I might explore:

– Look for vertical social media sites which serve restaurant and bar owners etc.

– Search for and join relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

– Create an account on Twitter and engage prospects, thought leaders, food journalists and other influencers.

– Create a geolocation based campaign to implement at hospitality services trade shows and other relevant events.

– Reach out to restaurants and offer to sponsor local, geolocation based deals and offers.

That will do for now.

Each option is fairly clearly defined. Each has a specific purpose. Each is looking to engage with a specific group of people.

It’s this kind of clarity you want to apply to any social media work, especially for B2C clients.

What you want to avoid is goals that sound like this: “Reach out to as many new prospects as possible.” Or, “Use social media to better establish our brand.”

These are very open-ended goals. There are no boundaries or limits. You could spend forever on them, and probably with a very poor ROI.

One way or another, whether you do my B2B exercise or not, create social media strategies and campaigns that address a specific audience, for a particular purpose, within a specified time frame.

Do that, and you’ll be able to apply resources where they matter most, and measure the results you achieve.

Above all, avoid vague, open ended strategies and campaigns that will be a drain on your time and unlikely to achieve tangible results.