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Here is a short list of pre-requisites for social media success (although it’s not a complete list of course!).

  1. Measure. Your foray in to social media needs to be run with the same level of professionalism as every other area of your business. So, just doing it and hoping for the best a ludicrous. Knowing how many of your followers you’r engaging is a crucial part of seeing if (with time) you’re getting better or worse it it. Then with luck you can start to see a ROI for your efforts…here’s a bit more on that.
  2. Listen. There is an old saying that says “you have two ears and one mouth, use them in those proportions”. Nowhere is that more true than in the world of social media. If you just start broadcasting and assume anyone will listen you are deluding yourself and in for a nasty surprise.
  3. Timely replies. As with all areas of the digital world, a key element for success is getting back to people quickly. If someone leaves a comment or sends you a message it is vital that you get back to them as soon as possible…not in a day, not in an hour, but now. Any delay may mean that the opportunity has passed by.
  4. Talk like a person. “Adam Gray would like to assist you in identifying….” is not how real people talk. Write as if you were having a chat with a friends and you can’t go too wrong.
  5. WIIFM or (what’s in it for me). When you send any messages, tweets or posts you are asking your followers to invest time in you to read what you’ve written (or follow the link) as yourself honestly if they really need or want to know that your coffee has gone cold or that you’ve had your best month for sales ever…believe me, they don’t. Sending vain, pointless or obnoxious updates will switch people off rather than engage them.
  6. Little and often. Spending every Friday updating stuff is a waste of your time and your followers’ time. I don’t want to see 25 consecutive posts on my timeline from you because you’ve nothing better to do. What you should be doing is a couple of posts/updates each and every day, a few minutes reading what others’ are doing and a few minutes examining your key metrics.
  7. DIY – do it yourself. Social media is an engagement tool. It enables YOU to talk to YOUR CUSTOMERS when and where THEY want to talk. So, if you are managing director of a business and you want a Twitterfeed YOU need to do it, not your secretary. It’s about YOU building relationships not your secretary. If you wouldn’t send someone else to take your best client to dinner…don’t get someone else to tweet for you.
  8. Pick your platforms. Decide where you think you can be most active and effective  and begin with these platforms. Google+? YouTube? LinkedIn? They all have something to offer, but you can’t be everywhere (certainly not to begin with) so pick a couple of good ones and go for it.
So there you have it. If you do these things (or at least bear them in mind) you won’t go far wrong.
Of course, setting up some of these processes you may need a little bit of guidance for a friendly social media consultant or at least somebody that has done some of this before.