Though I don’t talk about my job much on the blog, you probably know a little something about it if you follow me on Twitter (beware, it’s political!). Aside from that political detail, I spend days on social media and digital strategy for a large online publication. I really enjoy what I do and sometimes get invited to talk with newbies about how to do it better as they get started.
Such was the case when the Network of Enlightened Women (college ladies, check it out!) invited me to speak to some young women leaders. I thought some of you might be interested in some of the tips I gave them about developing a personal and organizational social media presence, which you can really use to your professional or personal advantage on things you care about.
Social Media and Digital Communication Skills for Newbies
I jumped on the social media bandwagon pretty early (got Facebook in 2004 I think!), not even realizing how that medium could become such a powerful tool for my my personal success and future career.
What I love about social media is the endless potential. A tweet can reach 50 followers — or if the right person sees it — it can reach thousands upon thousands. It’s all about believing in the potential and strategizing to create the opportunity.
<3 Twitter: In past week, I got a fav. from an actress in a new show I like, a RT from Bristol Palin & a response from an Olympic athlete!
— Ericka Andersen (@ErickaAndersen) July 6, 2015
Just this week, I tweeted about how much I love Twitter because of the people you can reach that you may never communicate with otherwise. In the past 7 days, I interacted on Twitter with an actress in a new show I like on Bravo (“Odd Mom Out”), got a retweet from Bristol Palin and got a response from an Olympic athlete (Amanda Bingson) who is on the cover of ESPN’s “body issue” right now. There’s no way I’d have been able to reach them with an email or phone call but thanks to Twitter, I’m on their radar screen now. The seed of opportunity has now been planted.
5 Things to Prioritize as You Build a Social Media Brand
- Your personal brand. While many people are overly focused on building the organization’s brand accounts, it’s actually your personal presence that can have the most impact. People enjoy hearing personal opinions and information more than they do corporate. Building up your own online brand as an individual is so important for messaging. Keep it informative, classy and interactive — and people will want to follow. You should not be scared of putting your name and opinions out there in the public eye. Please use common sense when sharing your opinions — but the personal brand is the most powerful brand. If people like you, they will listen to what you have to say.
- Facebook. Facebook is the most powerful tool an organization has to reach the exact people they want to reach. Nearly everyone is on the book almost everyday and just scrolling through those newsfeeds to find something that makes them want to click. Facebook should not be an afterthought in your communications plan — it should be one of the main points of focus on a daily basis — including Saturdays and Sundays (when many people are lazy about posting so you have an opportunity). Luckily, with Facebook scheduling, you don’t actually have to be thinking about it at that time. It’s important to think strategically about your Facebook posting and analyze what works for your audience. It’s also important to think about the advertising side of Facebook. Many people have little or no budget to work with but I would emphasize that even $5 a day is advertising is possible to make a difference when you have something you really want to get out there. Educating yourself in Facebook best practices, advertising strategies (did you know you should never use the “boost post” button?) is key and that education is FREE all over the Internet. Check out Social Media Examiner to get started.
- Twitter. [These tips are centered on politics but adapt them to your area of interest or expertise accordingly!] Gaining influential followers (both personally and for your organization) can be the key to transferring your message successfully. One of my favorite & most surprising Twitter follower this year? Carly Fiorina!
- Remember to always, always, always tag someone if you are referring to them in any way. You never know when they will take notice, reply and/or follow you back.
- Use relevant hashtags in your tweets by checking out the national and geographical trends, always employing event hashtags and even using generic ones (such as #POTUS, #budget, etc.) to indicate what subjects you are referring too.
- Twitter is especially powerful because the media use it for story ideas, to get an idea of public response and to interact with the public. Target & interact with reporters and media who are relevant to your message! Have you seen how some of them — for example CNN’s Jake Tapper — respond? You have great opportunity here.
- Scheduling things at appropriate times, tapping into national events (Presidential speech, debates, ongoing bills in Congress, SCOTUS ruling – don’t miss those opps, interact in that live conversation)
- Don’t waste your $$ on Twitter advertising, it’s not worth it unless you have a lot!
- Follow LOTS of people to get lots of followers. Use lists to see who you really want to see and DO interact daily.
- Take the digital personal. That takes me into another very important part of your digital strategy — and that is the real world side. Meeting people at events and taking the initiative to shake their hand and have something to say can actually turn into a potential Twitter follower. Whenever I meet an influential somewhere, I nearly always follow it up with a tweet. In 2010, I met CNN’s John King at event I was helping to host. After the event, I tweeted “Nice to meet you at today’s House Republican Conference even, @JohnKingCNN.” He responded to the tweet and began following me. As leaders and entrepreuneurs, you will have the opportunity to meet the influencers in our world — people that attend conferences or are the speakers at your own events. Digital relationships are solidified by IRL life relationships. Even for myself, when I meet a Twitter follower in real life…if I’m not following, I often will follow or..I will actually begin noticing what they are saying because their name stand out to me now.
- Coalitions & Friends. Sometimes, we are so caught up on our mission and goals that we neglect our friends — friends that and actually help us reach our goals. This thought is what inspired me to begin working with bloggers, other digital media folks and offering advice when people asked. Making others a priority means they will make you a priority when you need them. Working in this industry, organizations and publications are always looking for promotion of their stuff. Don’t neglect those requests — help them out with enthusiasm. Tag them, do their Twitter chats, share their graphics. When you have a big ask, they will be more than willing to help out if they can. You shouldn’t just be a PR factory — you should be engaged, interesting, helpful and SOMETIMES, promotional. I would recommend everyone read the book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk.
The premise of the book is this: Not everything you put out there should be your right hook. You need to converse with people, make them like you, provide information and then when you have a big ask (Like BUY THIS, SHARE THIS VIDEO, etc.), they will be much more likely to help, rather than if you ask them to do something for you every single day, multiple times a day.
Social media and digital strategy should be something you learn to love, not something you look at as a chore. The more you learn, the more you realize how fascinating it is and how much opportunity you actually have in that world. There are new developments and opportunities everyday and you should stay educated, informed and ready to pounce on those things as they come at you. It can be a lot of fun and is certainly worth your time to invest, strategize and create.
Any questions for me?