So you've had a few different social media (SM) profiles online for a while now with spotty results...if any results at all. You try to monitor these accounts regularly but things at work are hectic. Sound familiar? Consider taking it up a notch.
You (or your company) may be ready to pursue a thoughtful SM strategy that leverages your unique brand and related subject matter expertise - otherwise known as your social capital - across the internet in order to reach new audiences and entice them to do business with you. I call it the "One Brand, Many Channels" approach to SM.
This advanced SM strategy starts with identifying your unique brand. It might be your company name or what you are best known for in your market (i.e. 'Tech Tenant Rep' or 'Land Guy,' etc.). Keep in mind your brand will be deployed across several new SM channels, each with a different audience. This puts a premium on brand consistency since you can't be sure who will encounter your brand or where. However, once they do, your brand should have clear consistency from one SM channel to the next.
Once you've honed in on what brand you will be promoting, you’re ready to set up your SM channels in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. In my mind there are two "anchor" SM channels and a bunch of other "collector" SM channels. The anchors are your website and your blog where your enriched in-depth content resides. You should use your website and blog specifically to establish your unique subject matter expertise and thought leadership. The other collector channels might include such sites as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, and so on. All are free, although paid upgrades are worth a closer look where available. Together, your SM anchors and collectors serve as your own SM “platform.”
After you’ve thoughtfully deployed your brand in a consistent manner across your entire SM platform, you can design and execute various SM "campaigns" that can be pulsed out across your SM platform. Your campaigns might cover completed transaction announcements, new listings or projects, new hires, company news, career news, new blog posts, or upcoming events...let your (professional) imagination run wild!
Each SM campaign should have a business purpose with compelling content, and should be tracked through an array of available no-cost/low-cost analytical tools, benchmarks and metrics to determine the effectiveness of any given campaign. This will provide you with the data you need to compare and tweak your various campaigns so they gain relevance and traction over time.
Just as importantly, your SM campaigns should anticipate using your collector channels to grab a reader's attention and port them over to your anchor sites where they can experience your more thorough subject matter expertise and thought leadership. Your blog likely offers more dynamic content with a history or "library" of previous posts, and perhaps some commentary from its readers. Your website is likely more static in nature (changes infrequently) but should offer your most comprehensive brand marketing and messaging. Together, these anchors are where you want your SM platform encounters to end up. Think of it as home field advantage!
What do you do once they arrive? You will want to use Google Analytics (free) to track which pages they look at etc., but the primary goal is to get them to engage with you in a favorable way. This is called "conversion." Ideally, conversion means getting hired, although we all know how rare or unlikely that may be from a simple SM campaign. But other types of conversion are achievable, including having the visitor leave comments, post questions, request more information, sign up for your email newsletter (a recurring e-news blast can also be a healthy part of your SM platform), or leave their contact information for you... etc. You may want to modify your anchor sites to facilitate such conversion opportunities which should be both easy and obvious to your visitors.
So in summary: identify your brand, build out your SM platform with relevant channels, pulse campaigns across your platform, measure results, tweak as necessary, use your collector channels to bring your audience to your anchor channels, and convert them!
Looking for a real-world example? The SIOR Global Media Platform build-out is well underway and follows this strategic approach. Starting in 2013 and beyond, the various SIOR Global SM channels will work together to promote the SIOR brand and to bring unique visitors to SIOR's anchor sites where SIOR may convert these visitors into new members, sponsors, exhibitors, vendors. And clients of SIOR members? Time will tell, but this "One Brand, Many Channels" strategy can work for you too!