How to Supercharge Your Social Media from Within the Office

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I love killing two birds with one stone (and when I say that, I don’t mean I like to kill birds – you know what I mean).  We have our monthly “New Business” meeting coming up (a.k.a. the Pizza meeting [hooray!]) and I’ve been tasked (happily) with training the team on how to take command of the power of social networking for the good of the agency.

Of course, I thought that would be a great blog post too.

Not long ago, Poe the Gnome and I attended a Social Media Breakfast Syracuse on “Bridging the Social Skills Gap” given by SU’s renowned social media professor, Dr. D4WARD.  He spoke about how training executives and employees on how to use social media would be an important career given the growing power of social media to move people to action.

That’s what this post is all about.

Dr. Ward mentioned the most effective social media campaigns come about when the top level executives (CEO, COO, CFO, etc.) are involved in their company’s social media.  Think about how much business prowess Virgin Mobile has thanks to Richard Branson’s rock star following on LinkedIn, for instance.

Getting employees involved is also extremely effective.  Dr. Ward gave the example of Wal-Mart’s internal social network and how it reduced the need to man the employee call center exponentially.  Also, engaging your employees on your company SM gives a company immediate fans and exposure to their connections – usually an important target demographic and the new “word of mouth.”

How to Supercharge Your Social Media from Within the Office

I will divide my tips into the different social networks you can use to at least start or refresh your social media campaign.  I will leave out FourSquare, Instagram, and all those – you can figure those out on your time as they apply.  We will just hit the “heart of the matter” for now.  (Got that song in your head now?  Good.  Lol.)  I’m ordering the networks I will mention by “most private” to “most ‘business’ and public.”

As I said, it’s the CEO and other top dogs that should really be taking the leap here and getting into this.  The company will follow.  Leadership cannot be underlined enough here, nor will the results be greater any other way.  Enough said.  Here we go.

FacebookFacebook

Facebook is obviously the most personal of the three networks I’m going to train you on.  That’s why there are only a few tips here.

  • Facebook is personal so there should be no qualms nor obligation to participate in company related social media.  (This is true across the board, but you can’t hide your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts like you can hide on Facebook.  That’s the beauty of it.)
  • If you want to be an active fan of your company, obviously, like, comment, and share your company’s posts.  It’s that simple.
  • You can still be private (adjust your settings) if you “like” your company.  They are not your “friends” on Facebook, they are one of your “likes” and can only see what you allow “public.”
  • If you are in groups on Facebook, and want to share company updates with your group – do it!  I’m in “CNY Bloggers” for instance and constantly share my blog posts for work with them.  It’s a great peer review forum and gets me more traffic.  I love it!
  • Just remember, anything you post on your company social media is like anything you say at work: it can be used against you.  Just use common sense etiquette and you’ll be fine.  If you want to file a complaint, use the proper channels.

TwitterTwitter

Twitter is public.  Whatever you tweet, the world can see.  Just make note of that.  (Unless you make your Tweets private, but that takes the fun away from it and you’re less “connectable/followable.”)

Twitter is definitely more foreign to most people and interaction is much different than Facebook.  Facebook connects; Twitter is short blips and links to articles and pictures.  I like Twitter now, but used to think it was a waste of time.  Just think: on Twitter you can follow verified accounts of famous people or thought leaders.  Facebook does not have that guarantee and I guarantee you those same people on Twitter will not “friend” you on Facebook; unless they are insane.

Breaking BadTwitter is a fast “public thought exchange” – and it can be fun!  Participating in the #BreakingBad discussions while watching the show was a thrill as a fan - nothing else like it.

Here are a few tips to help you help your company’s Twitter presence:

Optimize your profile.

  • You have the option to add a link on there or reference your company Twitter handle in your bio.
  • Keep it clean.  Just a recommendation.  Some companies have very high standards for their employees, check on them on public accounts, and sometimes let go of employees who are crass or hurtful online.
  • Tweet!  This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of top exec’s just don’t.  Tweet stuff.  Be followable.  Say things that are valuable to others in a few words and/or share articles you found interesting.  If you create good content, “[they] will come.”

Interact with your brand

  • Again, this is entirely voluntary, but it will help you know what is going on in the business you work at.  Re-Tweet, mention, read updates, etc.  I post my blog post links on my personal Twitter, mentioning that it’s for “@CowleyAssoc” when I do it.  That will get us both followers.
  • Talk to your brand.  Show some love and support.  Of course, only when you really want to and if you do.

LinkedInLinkedIn

This is the big one.  Of course, it’s the business social network of business social networks, so I’m going to have a lot to say here.

  1. Your Profile

LinkedIn offers two helpful tools to help you with this.  There are the nagging questions that appear on top of your profile asking you to fill in missing information which can also be accessed by the “Improve Your Profile” button near your bio.  There is also the “Profile Strength” meter on your right hand side.  I’ve been sharing so much stuff, I’ve been “All-Star” for a while.  I know, right?  Who cares?  Professionally, I look good there.  That’s what matters.  It’s like a resume in “4D.”

Fill in everything you can, add examples, ask for recommendations (the best way to get some is to give some, in my opinion).  Go look at profiles you think are attractive in a business sense and imitate their styles, add components you are missing, etc.

  1. Connections

Get some!  You will notice, after 500, LinkedIn only lists you as 500+.  This is unofficially a “this person is really connection” sign.  You may feel uncomfortable connecting with people at first, and don’t connect with just anyone, but you will find after interacting a bit with others in forums, etc., it is very beneficial to have a variety of experts “on your team,” so to speak.  Not to mention, it’s a great way to follow up with contacts you actually meet in the course of work.  You never know what you’re gonna’ get.

  1. Groups

Join some!  You may think they are just the source of annoying emails you will get every day (change your group settings to weekly or no email updates, I do weekly to stay in the loop), but they are so much more!  Right now, we get most of our social media traffic to Cowleyweb.com via LinkedIn.  Why?  Because I’m in like 20 different groups.  How does that make any sense.

In addition to the discussions themselves being actually interesting, enlightening, and a source for connecting with new talented a resourceful people, I’ve become a low-level blackbelt (a.k.a. pain in the ---) in sharing content as discussions in these groups.  More on that later.

Groups are just a great way to improve your connectivity on LinedIn.  And that’s what social networking is all about.  It’s not a place to put a stagnant resume; it’s a living, breathing, dynamic world business conference online – and you have a free ticket!  Use it.

  1. Your Company Profile

If you don’t have one, that’s the first step (getting one).  You can learn how on “LinkedIn Help.”  Not what this blog post is about.  However, be aware it’s there; follow your company; link it to your profile by listing it as your place of occupation (it should hyperlink automatically, if you do it right); and find out how you can be added as a contact person for services you provide.  It will make you cool too, anyway.

Make suggestions to the SM team if you see how your co. profile could be improved.  Spy on competitors’ profiles.  Nothing against the law there.  Imitation is a form of flattery anyway, right?

  1. Company LinkedIn ProfileInteract with Company Shared Content

Your company should have a social media posting plan for LinkedIn where they share relevant business info on a regular basis.  Be aware of what gets shared and feel free to interact with it, share it to your connections, and read it of course.  This is entirely voluntary, but remember, you are more public in this network and being proactive not only leaves a trail of updates but looks good for you to others.  A little hint.

  1. Share Content

I got a new lead for the business just by sharing stuff on LinkedIn.  You look like a guru if you share helpful, cool stuff people will read.  That’s the idea.  Be a though leader in your field.  This especially applies to top exec’s but there’s no reason lower levels shouldn’t aspire to be considered go-to’s for expert info.

In addition to articles, quotes are great.  I love reading truly inspirational life and business quotes in my LinkedIn feed, and so do many.  You feel like you just pulled that golden nugget out of a motivational speech, without having to listen to the whole speech.

And remember I said I'd say something about sharing content as discussions to groups?  Well do it!  Hit the share button next to content and "share to groups."  You can do this for your stuff, company content, or anyone's for that matter.  Be a discussion leader and participate in others' discussions as well.  Add links to company blog posts (blog writers and webmasters will love you) and maybe write up a new blog post in answer to someone's comment.  I will love you!

To Sum It Up

Be active!  And of course, there is no obligation here, but if you really want to boost your company’s social media – and this goes for top exec’s first and foremost – be the enthusiasm you want to see from other fans.  True excitement is contagious and you will see the fruit.  You just have to go out there and stir it up.

And a last point: be pro-active with your SMM (social media marketing) team as well.  I know (firsthand) that those guys need and love suggestions.  Speaking of those, if you have any more tips to add to this, feel free to comment below.

Social media marketing is a competition!  Have no doubt about it.  You’re in a race to get new business from your competitors.  Are you going to turbo-charge your business or just keep the factory engine going as is?  It’s up to you to change the way you play the game so you can win.  What the ---- would you not?

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