Social Media for Busy People

White Paper

In the past, the job of looking after posts and tweets may have fallen on the shoulders of more junior members of the team. But increasingly firms are now sitting up and paying attention to the power of social media. The problem is that companies, and senior team members in particular, are often time-short and pressure-heavy.

This guide offers a very simple solution to getting started on more strategic social media use, as well as some top tips for getting the most out of it.

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Choosing the right platform

So where do you start? There are so many different social media platforms to choose from that it may seem overwhelming when deciding which ones to use.

What you should aim to do is to choose the ones that will be the best fitfor your business and yourtarget audience. Just do those – one or two is fine - and really focus on doing them incredibly well. That will be far more effective than trying to do much across too many channels.

The two sites that are the most well suited for B2B are LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook may seem tempting as it has the largest amount of users in the UK, and you may already use it yourself. But you’re looking for the ones that will give you the bestreturn on investmentfor what you need to get out of it. Remember, at an entry level these sites may be free to join butthey all still come with a costimplication - whether that’s time you and the team are spending, money for more advanced functions or boosting your posts to hit a specific audience, or even the cost oftraining forteams.

To get going and keep it simple,the main strategy we suggest you follow is: have a fully filled out LinkedIn page that will act as a well rounded, professional profile,then use Twitter for your quick updates.

Can you delegate social media interaction?

Of course you can use the social media savvy people within your company, or an outside agency, to help you set up personal and company profile pages. Butit’s not a greatidea to outsource the management of your personal pages, orto use automated posts which are also a bit of a no-no.

If you’re worried what to write then just remember, always go for quality over quantity. Re-search shows it’s not the frequency that matters (as long as you’re not leaving it weeks between posts and always respond promptly to others), so don’tfeel you have to post anything just so you’ve posted something.

It’s almost like going to a networking event – what might you say? What you had for lunch may not be of interest to many people, but your attendance at an industry conference and snippets of advice you heard definitely would be.

Your social media presence is representing you to the public. Everything you do, or don’t do, says something about you. Even the basics like spelling and grammar could potentially impact on your target audience’s opinion of you.

This guide has two parts. Firstly, setting it all up. We will then look at those things you need to think about once you’re up and running. We hope you enjoy your journey into mastering social media when time is short.

Part 1: Set up

Before you startthere’s a bit of prep you can do which will make setting up your profiles far quicker and easier Start a new document where you can jot down the answers and your thoughts to the following questions. You’ll then have a prep sheet you can use to create your profiles, with all the info you need in one place.

Who am I - your mini biography

If you were in an interview, how would you describe yourself? Write down a couple of sentences that best describe you. Concentrate on the most important things about your professional life but also include a few personal points. What are those things about you as a person that you are happy to share with the public? Find a good middle ground here - too little information won’t help you engage with people and give an impression of you, while too much information that’s all ‘me, me, me’ can stop people’s interest very quickly.

Write everything down that you can think of, then edit it down to a nice one page summary.

Narrow it down even further and see if you can get it to a paragraph of maybe two orthree sentences. Eventually reduce it to 160 characters, which you will be able use as your profile on various sites.

What is my story? The back story to your biography

When we write a biography we can end up simply jotting down a list of the jobs we’ve had and a few milestones along the way. However,there is a far richer story behind your professional life than justthis.

Relevant keywords

The next item to jot down is keywords that are relevantto you as a person,to your company and to the products and services you offer.

These will be the keywords and terms that would be helpful for you to monitor on social sites. For example, you may want to track what people are saying about HR if you’re in recruitment. The top keywords will be your name, your company’s name and your brands’ names. Others may be terms related to your business, industry and even location. You may also want to monitor competitors’ names.

You will use these later to set up monitoring and find relevant conversations online.

Sometimes some keywords don't produce good results and it takes a bit of trial and error to hit on the best words to use. You will need to use your list as a starting point then may need to refine them or find better ones once you see what works. It’s worth the effort though as it is the best way to narrow your stream (i.e. all the posts and information you’ll be hit with on the various sites).

Information sources

Where do you personally go forinformation currently – for example, for news about your industry? Or business and management advice? Are there particular sources like magazines, blogs or news sites that you go to? In the same way, which companies and institutions do you respect and would like to hear more from? This could be trade industry bodies, world-leading corporations or even a local company that’s going places. In all these cases you should be able find if these organisations are on social media with a quick Google search. Make a list of the names and Twitter tags of those you want to get updates from.

Step two – setting up your profiles

Your profiles need to be accurate and interesting. You will need:

A professional photo

An inviting, well lit portrait shot with a simple background is the best. You only need to show your head and shoulders. For someone in a position of management and leadership it is really important to use a professional quality photo. It all adds to your credibility.

Interesting bio

You have already prepared your biography now you simply need to transfer it to the relevant online profiles. On LinkedIn you have a lot of space for your biography and can add quite a bit of information. Start small and continue to flesh out your profile as you go along. Stick to the most relevant professional milestones and include any publications or anything else that could be interesting about you as a professional person.

Make Facebook private

Facebook is bestleft private. If you’re on there, make sure your settings are on private so you do not show anything by accident that you don't want the public to see. Have an appealing profile photo and cover shot and only connect with people who you really know. Never connect as a friend on Facebook with people you do not know.

Upload existing contacts and connect

The first step to building up your connections is to connect with those you already know. This is quite easy on LinkedIn where you can simply import the data. It doesn't mean that you have to connect with all of your contacts and in most cases you wouldn’t want to – be selective and do not let LinkedIn do this for you. With this in mind, be careful notto automate this matching process as you also do not want LinkedIn to spam all your contacts.

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You can do the same on Twitter but it’s more about choosing who you wantto see updates from. As a tool it is a great one for connecting with total strangers because the connection is not so deep, it’s a simple follow. On LinkedIn if you connect with someone the connection is deeper and you can see a lot more information about that person and the people they are connected with.

On Twitter you have to think who you wantto follow in orderto keep your stream interesting. In the beginning, only follow people and businesses because you wantto hear what they are saying. And don’t get fixated on numbers. There is no need for you to worry about how many followers you have on Twitter. They will come naturally as you engage and get more active on the platform. Your goal isn’t to have the highest number, but to be interesting and engaging to those people who choose to follow you.

Unfriending someone on Facebook has a lot more implications than unfollowing someone on Twitter, so don't worry if you follow and unfollow, it happens all the time.

Step three – set up the tools

There are loads of clever tools you can use to help save you time and energy on social media. Without them it can become overwhelming, especially for busy people. So it is crucial to use tools to help ensure you’re spending your time on the stuff you really want to see.

Speak to your marketing department, or whoever else manages your company social media, and see if they have some recommendations for you. HootSuite, Buffer, HubSpot, TweetDeck are all great tools, to name but a few. These tools can help save you time in many different ways, for example you can use them to schedule posts in advance, to set up specific searches for your keywords and to see all those searches in one quick glance.

Step four – setup monitoring

To avoid social media overload you need to be in control of what you see. You achieve this by making monitoring lists. All the better tools will allow you to set up lists where you can either follow specific topics, or specific keywords, or specific people, etc.

Find out how to set lists up in your preferred tool (their help function should be able to help if you get stuck) and create monitoring lists based only on what interests you. Yes this will be a little bit time-consuming to do, but once it’s done it’s done.

The key is for you to be comfortable enough with your tools to set up those lists and then experiment with them and update as you go along

Part 2: Recurring steps

Social media can be used to listen, to nurture new and old contacts, as a source of information, and also for advertising (as long as that’s not all you do as no one will keep following your updates if they’re just constant ads).

You do not have to invest hours but take a little more time in the beginning to learn more about using the platforms, so you can work out what the best strategy for you will be.

This guide is simply meant to help get you set up and off the ground. Social media is all about content. To stay interesting you will have to publish content of your own.

This can be a little tweet of 140 characters, or a 1000 words long blog article.

As the leader of an organisation and as a thought leader you should take the time to publish yourthoughts regularly. If you do not have a company blog, LinkedIn is a great platform to publish your articles. Do not just post your articles and never return though, check back for any comments and join in the conversation.

If you struggle with the writing, simply jot down your thoughts then pass it on to a copywriter. If your company doesn't retain someone, it will be very easy to find this type of support online.

Weekly steps

The things you need to be doing on a weekly basis are making new connections and nurturing your existing ones. All the social platforms will suggest people for you to connect with, look through those suggestions regularly and see if anyone’s a good fit.

Every time someone mentions you on Twitter, or follows you, have a look and see if they are worth following back. Mentions are a great way to find conversations, you can also look up other people’s mentions and conversations. On Twitter everything is out in the public eye, on LinkedIn some of it is but not all, and on Facebook (private profile) most will be private.

On Twitter you can also see who someone else follows, this is another good source of inspiration for people to follow yourself. Don’t overthink who to follow. If you follow someone and they just post nonsense into your stream, just unfollow them again. As mentioned earlier this is in no way a big deal.

Engaging in groups

There are millions of groups on LinkedIn, which may seem overwhelming at first. The best ones to look at are the very targeted, private groups that only specific people can join. Those groups are usually well managed and provide a great platform to engage in conversations with other people.

You can find groups by simply searching for specific keywords and then narrow your search result to show groups only. Another way is to look at the profiles of your connections and check which groups they belong to.

Daily steps

Now it’s time to look at daily steps. In the beginning those will take up more time than anticipated but very quickly you will find a routine that works for you and then the time spent for this activity will become much less.

A suggestion of a daily to-do list on social media:

  1. On Twitter check your mentions and private messages,respond if necessary
  2. Check the lists you’ve set up for your keywords and look for interesting information to either add your own comment to, or share with your network
  3. On LinkedIn check all your notifications and act appropriately. Be aware that a lot of people send spam messages, so just ignore these. You will quickly be able to figure those out and simply pass by.
  4. Read the stream and pulse news to find interesting information to like, comment and/or share with your own network

All of these actions are reactive, meaning you react to the things happening on the network. Rememberto be helpful in all your engagements and very soon you will enjoy a positive reputation.

Send your own updates

On Twitter it is quite common to tweet several times throughout the day. With 140 characters only it is important to come to the point quickly. It’s the perfect vehicle to have a public conversation in your down time, when you have to wait in a queue somewhere, sit in a taxi, wait at the gate to your flight, etc. Find those moments, pull out your phone and check your Twitter.

Bear in mind that in the beginning, when your profile is still small and you aren’t connected to many people yet, it often feels like talking to the wall. You will wonder “is there anyone listening at all?”. The answer is: yes! Most people will only read your updates and never like or comment, much less share.

Don’t throw in the towel, keep going and remember to make your status updates tick at least one of these boxes: interesting, educational or entertaining.

On LinkedIn people usually don’t post updates as often. Many will share links that are of professional relevance. And of course it is a great platform to publish your longer articles and thoughts pieces.

Sharing other people’s content

If you come across interesting bits and pieces online, share them with your network. A quick RT (retweet) and a share on LinkedIn go a long way to keeping your audience engaged. Be careful, usually sharing means association in some way, so if that is not something you want then you’ll need to post your own comments along with the link, not just post the link alone. Do this every time you come across interesting information.

Sharing your own content Of course when your company has interesting information you should share thattoo. Be careful not to overdo it with the straightforward marketing material, keep it more about the PR items.

And then what?

Do all the steps as outlined above for the next 3-5 weeks and get a feel for each platform. After that time you will naturally find your own strategy and what works best for you. Itis important not to give up.

By watching what others are doing and refining your own strategies you will soon reap the rewards. People out there want to connect to you, give them a chance to do so.

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