This is going to be the first chapter of my future book: How to get established on social media from scratch. This will also be the hardest one: I am used to writing from experience and I started so long ago that it’s going to be not easy to imagine starting out again.
I created a public project at MyBlogU to crowd-source some ideas and opinions to form my future article.
Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Andrew Plaza @liquid_think: Research and keep with It, no matter what
As a person who is just starting to figure out the mysteries of social media, I understand the blank mind one gets when they first arrive at a Twitter Feed. You ask yourself if this Social Media thing is actually going to benefit your website, build your userbase and trust among your fans. Then you force yourself to write out some tweet related to your niche, and you call it a day. If people are interested, they should come, right?
Well, that is sort of right, but not really. After I started out, not long ago, that was me. All my tweets consisted of were a new article I had published on my website. No hashtags, no engagement. I was effectively tweeting to myself. I knew, however, that I was doing something wrong. So I decided to research.
Therefore, the best advice I can give someone just starting out, is to do your research. Learn how social media works before you engage with it. Read some articles on how people have gained massive followings related to their niche, and apply their strategy to your own Social Media Tactics Plan.
Even more important than research, however, is sticking with it, and doing. Research is all good and all, but if you don’t actually apply the concepts and strategies and do something; you will simply never see results. Even if you were like me and all you were doing was tweeting out your new articles; keep with it. You might not be gaining any followers, but at least you are doing something. Enlightenment can come next. Most importantly, avoid zero-days. What do I mean by this? Well, from my own personal philosophy that applies to more than just social media, never go a day without doing at least something. Hell, even if it’s 10 minutes to 12, and you haven’t done anything yet, put out a crappy tweet. I don’t even care if it has anything to do with your niche; just do it. Then do it again tommorrow, and the next day, and the next, and the day after. Improve upon what your doing, and then do that again. Rinse and repeat. Eventually you will see results; and it will be oh so satisfying.
Start now. Go. Make sure Today isin’t a zero day.
Tat Apostolova @muminsearch: Don’t be everywhere at once
Don’t try and be on every single social media platfrom at once, unless you have tons of spare time on your hands. It can be a steep learning curve and mastering everything at the same time is overwhelming. Reserve your name everywhere, but only pick 1-2 to focus on. Stick with them until you’re comfortable before adding more.
Jeffrey Romano @JeffreyRomano:Getting started on Twitter
Just speaking about Twitter, I think there are many different ways to start out. Here are a few:
Using TweetAdder – the common method of following people and unfollowing them if they don’t follow back. This blogger used TweetAdder + Facebook to get his first 1000 blog visitors (see here: http://www.fitforblogging.com/1000-blog … s-guide/). Here is another guide that offers some good TweetAdder tips (http://leavingworkbehind.com/get-more-t … followers/).
Interaction – this can be in the form of sharing links, retweeting, direct messaging, replying, favouriting.This is the method I use on my personal account as it just seems natural to me. It is slower than simply following/unfollowing people but more effective in my opinioni. I’m not a Twitter power-user but even with a few interactive tweets, I get new relevant followers every day.
Strategic Retweeting – Retweet influencers and give the tweet your personal touch. Some followers of the influencer will start following you back + you earn brownie points with the influencer. This guy was retweeting 5-10 times a day and was getting 5-30 followers per day – http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/12/18/a- … wers-fast/
Twitter Chats – I’m sure you already know this one. From personal experience, I’ve gotten tens of new contacts through the #myblogu & #vcbuzz Twitter Chats.
All of the above – I bet combining all of the above would be quite effective and I’m tempted to try it out.
Whatever strategy used, it is important that one has a solid Twitter profile, ideally with at least a 3-figure tweet count, and that the person shares his/her Twitter profile in multiple places (e.g. forums, email, social media profiles, blog posts, etc…).
Samuel Scott @samueljscott: What makes you original?
Long before you even start to think about social media, it is important to create a good positioning and messaging strategy first. There are likely countless others — perhaps extending into the thousands — who know what you know and write about what you write about. What truly makes you stand out? What makes you original? What is your “unique value proposition”? In other words, why should people follow you? This is the first step of the marketing and PR process that I’ve outlined at Moz here and here.
I’ll give a personal example. There are many people who know SEO and digital marketing. There are many people who know public relations and traditional marketing. I position and brand myself — accurately, I’d hope people think — as one of the few people in the world who truly understands both. This is my personal positioning. To the reader, I’d ask: “What’s yours?”
Then, unify your personal messaging. Once you know your overall positioning, you need to unify your personal messaging everywhere so that the same branding is communicated. The text of your website, your meta titles and descriptions, your social media profiles, your writings themselves, and your social media posts should all reflect the ideas in your positioning.
Gina Davis @CustomGrowthGrp: Create a new Persona…..
The one thing I know about social media is that it changes. What you/we did when first starting out is not necessarily what you would do now.
1. Take an idea you might be thinking about, start a new persona. Like you are just starting out, then you could showcase it, like a case studies.
2. At the same time find others that are in different stages of getting started. Talk with them about what they have done, how they got to the point they are at now.
I started my blog in May 2013. I looked for experts both locally and online, like other bloggers & social media experts. I learned some myself, hired people on occasion. I think the main thing I did that I wouldn’t change is I picked one platform, learned everything I could about it, implemented techniques that I found, before moving on to learn the next platform. Otherwise I think it would have overwhelmed me. I am by no means through with learning either. 10 years into this I won’t be through learning.
If you have more specific questions, I am happy to answer them.
Philip Turner @EP_pturner: Follow others
I have a protege who was asking me for advice, ME for SM advice!! That was in Spring 2014
I told her to open a Twitter account and start to do regular status updates, tweet about stuff she was interetsed in. I said to follow people whose profiles interested her, which she did, including Michelle Obama…
Joyce Barnes now has 1426 followers – and seems to be enjoying Twitter
Mike Tiscione @mjtiscione: Variety is key
Be smart about it. When beginning to build and grow your personal brand on social media, always treat it as you would treat work for a paying client. Always stay professional, and show that you’re interactive with others that you encounter. Engage in different topics, and don’t just constantly push your own material on others! Variety is key.
David Leonhardt @amabaie: Set up profiles properly
The first step is to get set up and make your account look professional. I am sure you can write a few pages justr on that. No point in making connections if you look like somebody nobody would want to connect with.
Second step is to post content. Who cares if nobody sees it? The key is that you have on display a smaple of what you offer before you start connecting.
Then comes the connecting, and there are of course so many ways to do this. These days, unlike when we first started, one of the best ways is to find groups (at least on G+ and FaceBook) or search posts of a similar interest and start engaging with comments and shares of those posts. On Twitter, you can just start adding them, then use JustUnfollow to remove those that don’t follow back (except those that you want to follow just because you want to follow them).
Cormac @BrightonCormac: Consider Paying for Facebook
If you want to leave a mark in 2015 on social media, I’d say consider using a small paid campaign to get your personal brand or something offered around your personal brand in front of people. In the past it was a lot easier to make that initial ground on Facebook for interest, however with reach as it is I don’t think it’s nearly as easy. There’s a lot to be said for what was said on Moz in my opinion. It doesn’t even have to be $1 a day, maybe just a few a week. I think it’s the only way to make a mark on Facebook if you’re starting out now.
Joanna Gasdogas: Be Proactive!
I remember starting on facebook 3 years ago. I started by searching and joining groups that were in the marketing niche. I didn’t start with many groups, actually there was one particular facebook group that I focused on. I was very active in the group. I asked questions. I commented on peoples’ posts. I was also consistent and participated everyday or every other day. From there, it all fell into place. People in the marketing niche started friending me and following me.
But I think the entire trick is to be authentic. I suppose I am social by nature, so that works in my favor. It can be harder for others, I understand that. But you really need to try and be as much
If you look at my timeline, you will see that I don’t promote on it. I like to post encouraging memes, funny videos, beautiful photos, interesting news and facts, my favorite songs and artists, medical advice – and my marketing FB friends all love it. Posting about your private life is also a good way to go, as people are curious about eachother. However, I would proceed with caution with what you post personally on facebook (or anywhere, really)
Dennis Yu @dennisyu: Before you start out in social media, decide on your WHY
Your WHY drives why you get out of bed, why you work so hard, why others participate gladly in your mission.
When you have your WHY clarified, then the matter of success in social media is about mechanical implementation.
In other words, 3 things:
- Rounding up your content– ideally, high credibility third party endorsements from people in your industry and customers. Their word carries more weight than yours, especially on video. Set up your content sequences to guide people on a journey from being unaware of your cause to being a full-on supporter. Use personas in your marketing automation (email tools) before you attempt to scale it to social.
- Amplify– when you have your various channels working, you can use social media to amplify this content in the right sequence to the right users. You can influence the influencers, largely through ad platforms like Facebook and elbow grease on twitter.
Understood properly, social is an amplifier of what you already have, not a random project you give to a “social media expert”. Without the vision and supporting content in place, no amount of social tech mastery will get you where you need to go. In summary, you need GCT (goals, content, targeting), in that order.
Steve Counsell @stevecounsell: Building Personal Brand on Social media
f you’re lucky enough to be just starting out an dhave good handle on the idea of creating and promoting a personal brand then Social media is a reat way to go. All of the social media platform want to see real people behind the profiles anyway so you are in with a good start.
When I started out in Social Media I created what might be called fake profiles that described a company rather than me as a person. Having done that and foun d it too hard to separate the business identity from me I decided about six months ago that I’d focus on a personal brand identity for all of my business dealings.
This has proved problematic because I’ve built up a presence as Segment Digital and now want all of those people who know me as that to suddenly switch to my personal brand of Steve Counsell. I’ve even changed my public profile name!
While promoting my business I became Stephen Counsell, Marketing Director at Segment Digital. Of course no one who knows me would actually call me Stephen to my face, it’s always been Steve; no surprise there…
Creating new and ammending old social media accounts has been a challenge to get right especially with my Google Accounts and Google Plus.
Creating profiles that match a personal brand would be an absolute joy if the account names are all available for my name. Sadly they’re not. Yes there is more than one person called Steve Counsell in the world.
As for the basics of Social Media I’d say that profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ LinkedIn and Pinterest are all must haves. I use Buzz bundle to do multiple posting to the main platforms and have a domain name that matches my personal brand. Luckily enough stevecounsell.com was available.
Jeevan Jacob John @DaringBlogger: Select the social media sites that fit you
My best tip would be to select the social media sites that fit you. So many of them out there, so it’s really easy to divide up our efforts (and get lost). In the end, we might not achieve much in any of these sites.
I did that before, wanted to be more active in several sites. I didn’t get much results at first, so invested more time and effort into each site (hoping to get better results). I did get small victories, but in the long run, I lost valuable time and effort (which I could have otherwise spent on creating content for my readers).
So, find the best social media sites to work with. Of course, to find that, one must first work with it. My suggestion would be to do some research first and then experiment. Find out similar bloggers from your niche – are they active on Twitter? On Google Plus? On FB? Where do they have most success?
Then select 2 sites to work with – focus on these two sites for a couple of months (I would suggest working on it for 5-6 months for conclusive data).
If they work out, great…stick with them. If they don’t, try someother site. Of course, within thse 5 (or 6) months, you should also experiment with various tactics.
(Research into that. Researching is the key aspect of all this, especially for a new marketer…finding the key techniques, testing them out and tweaking them. Without proper techniques, you may not achieve much in 6 months).
Jason: Social media really is not about sales
Most people today want to start on social media to promote some sort of product or service. They want sales.
Back when I started, I dreamt all about the kind of sales I could possibly do, inspired by the hundreds and perhaps thousands of successful businesses on social media.
Somewhere down the road in the last 2 years, I understood that every tool has its advantages and disadvantages. Every person who chooses to use a tool will benefit more if they use it to their advantage.
This lesson taught me to use social media to find new people, connect with them, interact, and ultimately offer value in one way or another. For example, it could be pointing them to a useful URL if they faced a problem, or answering them if they had a question. Often, participating in communities helped me to get to know new people and because of the help they received, they reached out to get to know me better. Everything after that is history.
Liudas Butkus @leduxx: Get focused
Starting out on any social media site these days is hard because they are cluttered. It can take a lot of time to build a noticeable following. What I would do is to select 2 or 3 social media sites where I want to build my audiences, I would create profiles there and would start a blog where I would publish high quality content. I would feature social media widgets on my blog so that people could follow me.
You could probably start differently, for example on Twitter start following other people and hope that others follow you and slowly build it up, but I think that’s inefficient.
Greg DiVilbiss @GregDiVilbiss: Find something you’ll enjoy
I would say for a start the person getting started should take the time to look at the various platforms and see what appeals to them personally. If they are really visual than Pinterest or Instagram might be the best place to start. If they really want to engage with their clients than I would say Facebook for sure. I think the most important thing however for some one new would be to pick one master it, build the following and then spread their wings.
If they are motivated enough a product like Hootsuite that will post on multiple platforms would be good.
But if someone is really new to social media, they need to find something they enjoy so the stay with it. They have to post regularly and I believe that is easier when you like it.
Casey Markee @MediaWyse: Publish, regularly
I remember when I first started out in social media, my first “tweet” was like yelling at the top of your lungs at the bottom of a pool. No one could really hear you. But I knew that if I kept writing, tweeting, and interacting someone out there “may” be interested in what I had to say.
I don’t think that’s changed much today. The best way to build a personal brand is to publish, regularly. You’ve done a fantastic job of that. Make it a time to publish new updates, discover and follow new people, and add your voice to the chorus of new ideas and topics that interest you. No one is going to agree with you 100% and that’s just fine. Write, publish, and interact for you. Discover what it is about YOU that separates YOU from the rest of the world. That’s your personal brand.
Not that you’d ever need advice from me but I’m all about following and sharing passions. My Twitter account is an amalgram of my love for Crossfit, Bacon, Beer, Comic Books, Softball, Bad Movies, and lastly…SEO. And I bring all those passions out when I speak or write (at least I hope I do). I’m sure you do as well. So if you are building a personal brand, be passionate. Like what you do and tell it to anyone who will listen.
I hope there was something useful above. Good luck with the book and I can’t wait to read it!
Lukasz Zelezny: Social media defined the way that my branding is done
Social media has really changed the way that branding is done. It is now really possible to alter the way that people perceive you, especially as most of the people you are marketing to do not know you in person.
For this reason, it is vital that everything that you publish on social media is in keeping with your brand, and who you are. Before joining every social media site that’s out there, consider which ones are important to your brand. LinkedIn is ideal for professionals who want to connect with others in their industry, Instagram is ideal for visual expression, Pinterest can be a great place to show off things that you are passionate about, Facebook is a great place to be friendly and personal, and Twitter can encompass all of these.
However, not everyone needs to join every social media site that is out there – try to pick two or three that are relevant to your branding and focus on updating these consistently. Whether you are new to social media or not, you need to remember that once you post something on the internet, you can’t take it back.
I highly recommend reading, and then re-reading, everything you write before you click the button to publish it. Choose your wording carefully and remain consistent in everything you do.
Finally, remember that there will be times when you will receive criticism. Try not to let this get to you. Take a step back and wait a while before replying if you need to. Social media can be a great platform to address the issues people may have with your brand, but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about this.
Jolynn Oblak @JolynnO:Know who you are and who your target market is
I think as a semi-new entrepreneur, my advice would be not to jump too quickly on social media before you define and truly understand your target market. You have to go beyond the demographics and dig into psychographic data- what their interests are, what they struggle with, what their belief system is. All of this data should roll into a customer avatar/persona so you have a crystal clear ideas of Who your prospect is.
This will help you identify the social network where you customer spends their time (B2C and B2B) . Also spend time branding your page and clearly identifying who you are and what solution you have to offer. I would also have a focus on 1-2 social networks to start and then grow to other networks when it makes sense. Most importantly, have a defined content marketing and editorial plan that offers value to your followers and focus on brand building and engagement. Also know what resources you do and don’t have. If you are a solopreneur, you may need to do a cost/ebenefit analysis of your time and see if you are better off hiring someone to handle your social media posting and campaigns vs. doing it yourself.
Maxwell Ive @maxwellivey: Figure out who you are or what your business identity is
I actually remember when i started with twitter because it was last year. I remember the date because twitter has a feature where you can look back at your first tweet.
Just like you can go back to the beginning of your time line on face book. But it was jan 4 2014 I had just watched David Letterman open an account and send his first tweet live on the night show. My first post was if David Letterman can do it then why can’t i.
Funny now people say if Max can do it then, why can’t they.
I would say figure out who you are or what your business identity is. Then decide on one network. For most people I would say linkedin, twitter or G plus should be their first network. Since g plus and fb are going to offer ways for you to sell directly from their site you might want one of them or pinterest or instagram if you are going to be selling stuff.
If you have a lot of friends on facebook, then you might start there but be sure to open a separate page for your business. You always want to keep the personal and the business separate.
I never post anything on any of my pages that I would be ashamed to have on my business feeds. This means I avoid controversial subjects like religion politics and heated sports debates.
I would also recommend that they have their own blog or website before starting with social media. Remember you want to use social media to drive people to you and you can’t do that if you don’t have your own site. But assuming you have your own online property then be sure to include links to your site in every social media post. every one that’s a absolute must in my way of thinking.
Lindsey F. Rainwater @LindseyAngels: Don’t Get Discouraged
Social media is great, but it can also be super frustrating and make you want to bang your head on the wall when you post something and get crickets for your efforts. I’ve been poking at it here and there for a long time, and only recently really got serious about using it as an audience building tool, and started seeing a little bit of traction.
So I would definitely point out that there is a LOT of competition out there (since you’re not just competing with those you would normally think of as your competition, but literally EVERYONE online) and you have to keep plugging away and being consistent. Making small changes is a great way to test things and see if you can get better results, but you have to keep at it!
Also, don’t try to attack them all at once. For example, I’m focusing on Facebook, and doing a little bit of work on Twitter and Pinterest, but that’s really it. And I’ve automated as much as absolutely possible from my website. At one point I was trying to do ALL the social media sites at once, and just got burned out.
Carrie~Anne Foster @cafosterca: Be consistent with your social media platforms
Here are a few things I usually suggest to new social media users:
1) Secure your username on all social media platforms – Even if you don’t plan on using a specific social media platform right away, at least you have your username if you even venture into that platform.
2) Be consistent with your social media platforms – Have the same username and profile photo across all your platforms. This will help with making you easily recognizable. *Use a photo of your face, rather than a pet/flower/etc.
3) Follow influencers in your niche – These are the people who have a good level of engagement with their followers and are providing valuable information.
4) Be consistent with what you post – If your niche is related to food, don’t post about sports.
Krista Wiltbank @kristawiltbank: Personal branding on social is top priority
I’m in this boat now. I’ve used social media for personal use for years, but now want to start my own social media marketing business solopreneur gig. Personal branding on social is top of mind for me.
My general thoughts:
Treat your brand like you would your business (very carefully, very seriously). Make a conscious decision about how you want your digital footprint to look like, and clean up what doesn’t match that.
Choose your platforms thoughtfully. If you’re going to use something for personal AND business use, lock down your privacy settings for the personal side. This can mean things like making some Pinterest boards private or actively choosing to use Facebook only for personal use and putting the business side on Google+.
If the end goal of social for personal branding is a job of some form, your choice of platforms should be driven by where your target audience (e.g. recruiters, hiring managers, potential clients, potential publishers, etc.) do their business. If it’s LinkedIn, create a beautiful profile. If it’s Twitter, find who you want to work for/with/influence and follow them – respond/engage accordingly.
Starting a blog is a surefire way to control your message. It’s worth the small amount of money to reserve your personal URL & make a blog. If money’s an issue, do it as cheaply as you can with Blogger or WordPress.com.
Jeanne Alford @JEAlford: Pick one!
I do remember starting out in social media.
I chose to “pick one” and that’s the advice I’ve given colleagues. Pick one platform to start out on and learn how to use it; get comfortable; build up your list and read what others are doing on that platform. For me, it was Facebook. My strategy was to build my personal connections — friends from my hometown, my extended family, new friends.
Once I was comfortable adding updates, photos, etc. I added to my skill set. It had to be LinkedIn, I needed to establish a strong professional network — remember we went through a pretty rough recession and keeping afloat meant getting new jobs, new projects, etc. I found most of my interviews came via LinkedIn connections.
I finally added Twitter — getting comfortable with the 140-limit took some time, but I slogged through figuring it out.
So, the strategy “Pick One” worked for me on a personal and professional level.
Roxana Nasoi @roxanasoi: “It’s like going to the same bar, over and over again, until the bartender knows your name and your choice of coffee”
Here are my suggestions, the way I helped clients start out and how I did it myself when I launched a new website/product/service:
1. Create a professional landing page or a website that showcases your skills, your portfolio (small projects, samples, stuff you played with in college – paperwork, a cool volunteering project etc.) with pictures and short relevant description.
2. Define name: it’s either you use your real name or a pen name or your business name – ideally, it should be the same one you use on your social media profiles. If the landing page is example.com/EmaJohn (picked a name) then the social media accounts should display the name Ema John (even if the Twitter handle is @ejohnbiz), but the display name should always be the same as the one on the landing page.
3. Communities. You need to get social. This means to not be afraid to engage in conversations, or to state your opinion, or to introduce someone. I for one am active in 3 major platforms: Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.
On Twitter, I do my best to stay in touch with people, to thank my new followers, to participate in Twitter chats (#vcbuzz, #myblogu etc.).
On Facebook, I have at least 3 groups I am active in: 1 group is international and entirely remote, chances to meet these people in person are below sea level, but then again, the insights I get are amazing. 1 group is co-administrated by myself & a team I’ve been working with here in Romania, so this one is targeted on our projects only. 1 group is general, 4000+ members, entrepreneurs and business owners, angel investors and so on – I’ve been attending the meetups almost weekly for the past 2 years.
On Google+, I have 1-2 groups (communities) that I enjoy spending time with, one of them allows me to (virtually) meet great people such as Guy Kawasaki, Barry Feldman, Martin Shervington and more. He organizes fun activities together (like #canvaquest, #jimmyfallonplus and more), we organize hangouts, HOAs and comment all the time. It’s fun and engaging.
I think all that matters is to become active in groups and communities that are already active, in which engagement rate is high. Don’t fear of being yourself, of speaking out and making yourself noticed.
If you have a real name added to those accounts, people will google you and get to your landing page. That’s how I got about 20,000 hits on my about.me page last year, in just 1 week.
I went from just a Twitter handle or Facebook name or Google+ ID to an actual person, as long as I kept being consistent and persistent.
So I think that is all you need in order to make your breakthrough in social media today. It’s not impossible. It’s like going to the same bar, over and over again, until the bartender knows your name and your choice of coffee
Ran Melamed @TingzMe: Be where your target audience is
I think that the platform you’re aiming for should be the one in which your target audience uses the most. I ran into this great infographic about demographics of social media platforms, and I think that it may help…
So many comments and the project was active for one day only! Wow!