Put Facebook in its Place! Create a Social Media Strategy for 2014 is an incredibly informative post providing a framework for a social media plan. Many great ideas and insights!
As you develop your business plan for 2014, remember to include a social media strategy to effectively leverage your time. Social media can suck hours out of your day, if you don't manage it. Time spent on social media is time taken away from building your business through other methods. It's important, but it can be an enormous drain on your time. It's easy, it's fun, and if you don't limit it, you can look up at the clock and realize hours have gone by.START BY DECIDING WHO TO NETWORK WITH ON SOCIAL MEDIAHow do you decide who to friend, link with, or accept a relationship with in social media? Do you have a social media strategy? Or do you accept anyone into your who asks, figuring the bigger the better? I'm not a fan of bigger is better. I prefer a targeted approach to social media.THEN DECIDE WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS TO USEThe centerpiece of my social media strategy is a community blog (a blog external to AR), which I created to interact with my community and to obtain subscribers for my Constant Contact e-mails on the community, real estate, and my grassroots non-profit environmental organization.ActiveRain is my social media platform for networking with others in my field and getting my consumer-oriented posts on Page 1 of Google. I use ActiveRain primarily as a way to network with other real estate agents for friendship, fun, support, and learning. The powerful Google juice from AR also helps consumers and past clients to find me on the Internet when they have a real estate need.
I use FaceBook primarily use to link with potential clients and local real estate agents. Yes, actual friends also on the page, but I don't have the time or energy to tweek the Privacy settings for each post and I don't trust FB with the privacy settings anyways, so I only put things on my FB status updates that I'd want the world to know. Right now, I'm posting cute kitten videos of my my 18 month old kitties. I have two Fan Pages for my business. One which you see the widget for on the right, drives people to the community fan page. I have over 1,700 followers, which I built up by putting photos of my community. I also put a lot of links for posts back to my community blog from my FB fan page as my primarily purpose to to drive traffic back to my community blog. The other Fan Page is the typical real estate FB page, which does not get much traffic. I have sold over a million dollars worth of real estate using the FB community page.
Linked-In is off limits to most of my real estate contacts. I try to stay in touch with colleagues from my previous corporate/consulting career because many of them live in New York City, which is within commuting distance from my market area. In fact, we have a new train station with express trains to NYC. When my former colleagues know of someone who wants a second home in my area or is relocating to my area or just wants to commute from a coastal village, they know how to get in touch with me.
I use Flickr solely to highlight my skills in HDR (high dynamic range) photography for my potential real estate clients.Twitter is my base of operations during storms. During Irene and Sandy, I became the center of information for my community and found the best way to communicate when the electricity went out was through Twitter. People keep my Twitter feeds active because they never know when another storm will hit and they might need my Tweets. Most of the time I use Twitter to send out real estate focused Tweets, which are links to my listings and local event posts on my community blog. I only follow people I know or have heard of.Pinterest is my least well thought out strategy. I use it to put up photos of my listings and my community. I make sure to link back to my own blogs to drive traffic to them rather than to photos on a third-party site, such as RealBird, because when people share your photos on Pinterest and link on them, Google likes it a lot. I need to spend more time on Pinterest.DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA SITESYou'll notice that I put my social media links in my signature below. I also make sure that social media links are on my blogs and on each blog post on my external blogs (ActiveRain does this for you). It's important to add FaceBook Like and Google+1 buttons as well as to make it easy for viewers to Tweet your post to others and share it on their FaceBook pages.SCHEDULE TIME FOR SOCIAL MEDIA EACH DAYI use Nutshell mail, a free service provided by ConstantContact which sends daily e-mail updates to me on my Facebook sites, Twitter, and Linked In. I glance through the e-mail and only click through if there is something I should comment on. It makes me look like I'm engaged with social media on a daily basis without actually having to log into social media sites. TweetDeck and other products provide similar services. The e-mails remind me to engage in social media at least once a day. I log onto FaceBook twice a day, in the morning and at night. I try to post a photo a day on the community FB site. I don't always succeed, but having that goal means I keep the FB page fresh and my audience keeps growing.LIMIT YOUR TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIABy limiting who you network with on social media, you also cut down on the amount of time you spend on social media. I have 500 friends on my personal FB page, if I had 2,000, it would take too much time to read through the status updates and I'd likely miss important information from people I really care about. I spend about 10 minutes on FB in the morning and at night, 15 minutes on ActiveRain during the day, and another 5 minutes on Nutshell. I set aside another 50 minutes for posting on social media - Tweets, FB, AR, community blog, etc. That's a total of an hour and a half per day. NOTE: There is no need to limit the number of followers on Twitter, Pinterest, or FB Fan Pages as those are broadcast media where your interaction to your postings aren't required.If I have time left in the evening, I go back on AR as a treat for myself to read through blog posts. AR is like a fast moving stream, if you don't stay up with what's happening, you can miss some incredibly valuable information or something important in someone's life who you care about. I don't factor that time into my business plan, because it's time I would have spent reading a book or watching TV. It's downtime.