What is the one social media activity a business owner must do each day of the week? This question was recently posed to a select group of professionals on major social networking site and it generated a wonderfully rich set of answers. I will summarize some of the comments, guidance, suggestions, and tips that came from the collective wisdom of over 20 professionals. Unfortunately, an article is too short to provide you with all the great advice offered, but I will provide you a good sample of the thoughts these people generously offered.
Perhaps, the one theme repeated most among professionals I have talked with is that “There is no ONE thing.” In affect, the answer to my question is “the premise of the question was essentially flawed.” This is no doubt true and in retrospect, I admit that trying to boil down a business owner’s activities related to social media to one thing is a bit like asking the skipper of a sailboat during a race to tell you the one thing the crew must do to win. Impossible, you must do many things and do them well.
With this in mind, here are eight of the suggestions people provided: 1. It depends on your goals and objectives for the business. Decide what you want to accomplish through social media and then find the best strategy for using social media to support your business goals.
Several of the people who participated echoed this comment. While it is a higher-level suggestion than the question asked it certainly is good sound advice not only about social media, but other business activities as well.
2. Once you start a conversation, keep it going do not let conversations run out of steam. This can be as simple as checking email or as complex as responding to multiple posts and forums. Once you have started a conversation, be there to keep it going.
It may seem obvious, but too few companies consistently use social media to listen to customers and prospects. They start something, but don’t follow through and when they don’t see immediate results they abandon the approach.
Here are a few of the various social media resources recommended:
3. LinkedIn is your best bet! Linkedin.com is the single most important social network for business.
4. Twitter was recommended by a number of people as a good way to develop interest, target people, and keep your finger on the pulse of the market.
5. Forget all the other stuff. a. Blogging is best way to establish yourself as an expert by offering content that provides insight. b. If you have to choose one – blog. You should write a blog entry or have other people in the company do it, at least twice or more per week. c. Yes, write a blog. However, you cannot fully engage in social media by using only one approach.
6. First, listen. Read blogs, twitter messages, and go to LinkedIn groups related to your business. Only than should you get involved in contributing.
Obviously, there is NOT one thing!
7. Business owners should post content (preferably original) to their site each day – search engines pick it up and it will create activity on their site. For example, travel agents could post the latest travel restrictions.
8. The most important activity, and the first analysis you should do, is to find out what social media channels your customers use. Once you know the answer to this question, you can efficiently communicate with your prospects and customers on the social media networks they use.
Clearly, there are a number of strong opinions on the topic of best practices for using social media. This is a rapidly evolving area of marketing and it has strong implications for market research.