Recently I was asked, “What does it take to get started in Social Media as a corporate employee?”. Here’s my response…
That’s easy: It will take 10 minutes per month — from 12:50-1:00 p.m. central time — on the third Thursday, to be successful in social media.
OK so it’s not quite that simple. The real answer is that it takes three steps:
- Define Your Goal
- Have Balance
- Be Consistent
Define Your Goal
Before you start anything in social media, you need to define your goals. Once you have a clear picture of why you want to engage in social media, you need to be honest about how much time that would require.
For example, if your goal is to help an occasional user, you could, in fact, spend only 10 minutes per month reading your go-to forum and responding to individual questions about a topic you know about. However, if your goal is to be known in the industry as an expert, you could spend an hour per week creating your own technical blog to provide others in the industry tips and insight based on your experiences.
It really is up to you how frequently you are involved with social media, but make sure you can balance your social media effort with what you’re currently doing in your work.
Here are some example guidelines I have used to keep balanced while working towards my goal:
- Blog: Post at least once per month. The more frequent, the shorter the posts can be. I find 300-500 words is ideal as users want to gain insight but not spend a lot of time reading
- Tweet: Tweet at least once per week. Followers want regular insight. Think about making it a ‘tip of the week’.
- YouTube: Post an educational/demo video once every 2 months. Make them short, and have them cover only one key topic.
- Online in-depth article: Once per quarter since these are generally much longer and have a wider distribution.
Tip: When you feel like writing, work ahead! You will feel much better if you have a collection of blogs/tweets/videos that are publish-ready and can be scheduled using many available tools, rather than scrambling to meet the next deadline.
The reality is that to be engaged in social media, you need to be consistent with how often you interact. Nothing is more useless than a stale blog or channel. If you think it might be ‘too much’, get a small team together to share the responsibilities. That way the frequency for you can be less but your followers still get the consistent cadence.
Regarding duration: Social media is an ongoing interaction. If you stop, your digital presence will fade. As long as your frequency is consistent, your social presence will stay, but there really is no ‘end date’. If your followers do not see regular updates, they will stop looking for your content. In my experience, if your goal is to help your customers gain insight into a product or service, make the blog/handle reflect the product name so if you move on to another job, someone else can take over the social media outlet and your customers can still gain insight from a new expert.
Finally, don’t forget to interact with your customers through comments. I often create content, but then forget that the real value of social media is in the conversation that happens between you and your subscribers in the comments section. This will not only keep things personal, it will grow your social media presence.
Question: How do you approach social media?