In A Simple Presence Framework, I gave you a potential set of steps for building a platform (or a collection of sites and software to use) to carry your online presence. In Make Presence Management Work for You, we’ll show you some thoughts on how to use it. This is written from the perspective of managing an individual’s presence needs, but you’ll see where the corresponding points for a business would be, as well.
Know Your Goals
There’s not a lot to say here, except that if you’re not sure why you’re on the web, how do you know you’re doing it well? Your goals might be simply to participate in online conversations and to build digital relationships. If you’re coming here to promote something, to sell something, to try and claim some part of the market share of everyone’s mind (and most of you/us are), you’ve got to realize that your goal isn’t synonymous with the larger goals of the communities where these tools allow you access.
But that said, know that your goals must be in front of you, and should be measured (thanks, Lawrence Liu). Just being there isn’t necessarily going to change your business.
Listening Comes First
It’s always about listening. We talked about it yesterday. I talk about it always. If you don’t start by listening, you’re not there.
Be There Before the Sale
Long before you get onto the topic of the stuff you’re trying to push, just get to know some people. Who? If you listened well in the step above, you’ll have a start.
I recommend commenting about other people’s things much more than you write about yourself. On Twitter, I try to do a 15/1 rule, of talking about or to others versus talking about me. It’s a little different per place. For instance, on Facebook, your stream of information comes from many sources, so it’s harder to keep that rule.
Find other people’s good stuff and share. There’s a big benefit to sharing other people’s thing. If you retweet on Twitter and if you use the share feature on Facebook, people appreciate that.
Sharing using sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, and Delicious don’t hurt, either.
Be clear and Simple
When you’re ready to make an ask, be very clear about it. Tweeting “This looks like a really cool site,” with a link to your site is not pleasant. It’s kind of jerky behavior. Instead, You might say, “I’ve launched a new site about design,” with a link, and that will be very clear and open.
I said it before, but if you want to spread your message, make it easy to get more retweet action.
Simple messages with a call to action work best on any social site. I find that asking questions really helps me get people to engage. Instead of, “New blog post: I’m smarter than you,” I would tweet, “Are you smarter than me?”
That one little change makes a big difference in response.
The Two-Way Street
Commenting is currency. Comment on other people’s blogs. Respond to other people’s tweets. Spend time in this space and it will repay you.
Be the #1 commenter on your own blog. If others have something to add, try and connect and pitch in. I can’t always respond individually to every comment, but I try to stay in there enough that people know that I respect a conversation and not just a push.
I can’t really stress that one enough.
The Time Question
The answer is lots. Does that spoil it for you? You must spend more time than you might like to participate on social channels. How much is more? It might take as much as an hour to two every day. I spend more, but then, this is my business. I know that you’ve got other things to do. Here are some thoughts on one way to spend time in your day. Note, this is a 2 hour breakdown. You can adjust as necessary:
- Read and listen. – 30 minutes. If you can spend the first 30 minutes of the day reading people’s blogs and checking in on their media, that’s a good start.
- Create. – 30 minutes Make a little new media every day. If I were to add time to any part of the equation, it would be this. Building media is a perfect way to build conversation starters. Blog more, make more video, do more things.
- Connect. – 1 hour. By connect, I mean talk with people on Twitter, on Facebook, on your blog and in forums. Spend an hour a day connecting with people, communicating with people, reaching out to them in whatever ways you can. This is obviously the reason to bother with social media. If you don’t want to do this step, rethink why you thought you should be on these services.
You’ll note that nothing above very clearly spells out doing business. It’s up to you to determine how you’d like to mix your business-doing into your online presence. Let’s show an example of that.
A Simple Online Presence “Push”
Let’s say you have to get the word out about a project of yours. You’ve done all the steps above. People know who you are. You’ve built up tons of great karma so people are really open to receiving your message. Here’s one way to consider populating the social web to build awareness for an event of yours.
- Create the post or page that lands your request. This might be a link to a URL for a conference. It could be a site where someone can buy your album. Whatever the “ask” is, make this page where they get all the details.
- Write a brief, simple tweet with a link to the page. “Ever wonder what happened to MC Hammer? ….” The tweet should be engaging enough that someone wants to connect and find out more, but never deceptive.
- Your posts should already show up naturally on Facebook and FriendFeed.com (if you’ve chosen these as outposts. You might even have your blog in LinkedIn). That’s just built in.
- I use tools like TweetMeme and ShareThis. I find that most of my inbound traffic comes from Twitter, StumbleUpon, other people’s blogs, and then Google. Social sharing tools work well for my presence.
- Thank people. As much as you can, when others share and retweet and post your information out there, be thankful to them. Make sure you give them praise and worship for being helpful.
- Get back to talking about things that aren’t related to you or your offer. Talk about other people. It restores the balance.
In writing this, I realized that I could go on and on and on. Maybe I’ll write a book about it, or at least a larger ebook. But hopefully this was a good start. Yes?
You’ll do it differently. That’s okay, too. Share those differences in the comments, as we all want to know.
Thanks for your time, and I hope this was helpful.