Busy, Busy, Busy

I don’t know about you, but I’m busy, very busy. While I was away, as we all know, Google decided to throw their hat into the social circle with Google +. Don’t worry; I promise this isn’t about G Plus, but about your social.

I don’t care if it’s a Facebook killer or if it will wipe Twitter out of the game; I don’t have any stock invested in any of these companies. What I’m invested in is the future of my clients and my business, no matter which corporate entity ends up on top.

Yet, many people are wrapped up in what’s going on with other things like Google Plus. The economy is another thing; quite simply, it’s tanking. Do I think there’ll be a revolution? No. I doubt the U.S. will shut down. Many dwell on these things and they lose focus…

You Can’t Lose Focus

Don’t loose Focus

Today, however, you can’t afford to lose focus. You have to focus on your needs, your influence and your clients. You have to discover how to make things better in an ever-changing online world. Even you can make a difference, and that’s true whether you’re in SEO, branding or other area of online business.

Are You One of the Sheeple?

One of the things I want you to do today is to think about online influence. Who are your go-to people? Whom can you count on? Are you running after people you don’t know, or working to strengthen your current associations?

More importantly, are you one of the sheeple? Do you follow or use this platform or that because someone told you to? Or, instead, do you investigate before jumping into the game?

For example, if I listened to the majority on G Plus, I’d be jumping in with both feet and never looking back. My question is why do I have to choose one or the other? Why not both? Why can’t you just use the platforms you’re most comfortable on, or the ones you see the most action on, rather than follow what others say? Remember, you’re the only one that truly knows what you need.

What Makes a Brand?

Brand Idea Chart

With social and most other things, it’s all about building a brand. – And what makes a brand is someone(s) who is willing to stick his or her neck out because it’s best for the success of the business and for their client.

For that business to grow, it has to be strong – more resilient. It has to endure the ups, downs and growing pains. All of this requires a high amount of commitment and consistency. For the clients it’s about building a long lasting partnership. I can guarantee if you treat your clients like partners they will be back when they have a bigger project, they will treat you with respect and they will send new clients your way.

May You Live In Interesting Times

Often, we – as online marketers – get caught up in social and marketing data. Our viewpoint is skewed, however. It’s hard to remember that not everyone knows about social platform this or social platform that. Not everyone is up-to-date on how to search the Internet and SEO practices. For that matter, not everyone uses a computer on a daily basis (shocking!).

What we do know, however, is that we are living in interesting times. There are tons of options and tons of opportunities; online marketers have to step away from the business side of things and view social from the eye of the consumer.

The consumer sees social as an important business strategy, but things like Google Plus can add to the feeling of networking burn out. Yes, everything is interesting and things are moving at break neck speed, but if all you do is run the rat race – react rather than act with a plan – you’ll end up one of the burnouts.

Be the One With the Plan

Connect the dots

It is essential to have a plan, and once you have that plan, it’s essential you have the steps written down that you need to take to achieve your goals. Almost like connecting the dots. For example, my formula for social networking goes something like this:

I have Google Alerts, Google Reader, Twitter and several RSS feeds of people I respect and follow. I don’t always use these posts, nor do I RT every post I see. God forbid I take the time to read each one; the day would be gone.

What I do is look at the title and quickly scan the post. Or I look at my mentions and see who gave me some love for the day. I will then take a look at their time line and find something that may be of interest to my readers. If it’s on topic or in the vein of what I’m discussing this week then BAM, it gets a RT. It’s a win win. You have some great posts to RT and share, and you’re establishing a nice network of like-minded people.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying start a RT circle, but you will eventually know when to hold them and when to fold them. Don’t be over eager and don’t be aloof. Almost like a Tango. You come in for a bit then you push out…flirting with content. Okay, maybe not, but you get the point right?

The trick is not to RT right away. Give yourself a few hours; post it for the afternoon. If it’s good, you can post it several times a day at different hours, with a different comment. By the time I’m done feeding and scheduling my Twitter account, I can get some real work done.

After a week, I will take what I RT’d the past week and post them on our FB page, re-opening the conversation. Then, I’ll place them on Tumblr, scheduled on the days we don’t have posts going out. As you can see I’m filling each day of the week with something from Level343. Spreading them out so I don’t bombard our readers with triple posts.

DO NOT post the same post during the same hour or on different networks. People don’t like it and feel violated.  lol Okay, maybe that’s over the top, but I know I personally want to contact the person and say STOP IT. All I’m saying is keep things fresh.

If you post it on Facebook don’t repost it on Twitter, at least not the same day. I figure with over 7K followers on one Twitter account and an additional 1400 + on our business account, I can afford to post something more than once on any given day. The chance of my readers seeing it twice in one day is rare, but it can happen.

Now, I know social networks take time, and I notice how our traffic suffers when I’m not around inputting this formula. Not everyone can create one, but I can assure you – if you want to save yourself hours of gazing at your monitor, start small. I don’t need to tell you that using Hootsuite has saved and cut my social networking time in half.

Create Your Business Future with the Help of Others

Create your network of people

Customer influence – the cheerleaders, the advocates, the unpaid marketers; embracing customer engagement through social is a fantastic way to shape your brand, business and products for the future.

This isn’t to say you embrace everyone. This doesn’t mean you follow everyone or answer every question that comes your way. You have to know what’s important. People are important, and how those people feel about what you’re promoting. Again, G+ is an excellent example; I don’t exactly have tons of trust in Google, which makes me less likely to jump on the G+ bandwagon. They need to work hard on their image and the trust wrapped up in their brand.

“Hanging out” on social isn’t enough. “Chatting” isn’t enough. Social media isn’t a cure-all for business issues; if it’s not done right, it’s just a Band-Aid.

In fact, social media and networking is just like the real world; you have to embrace the customer experience as a whole. You have to embody great service. You have to be able to empathize with the consumer, showing a high level of performance and value. In short, you have to be consistent with your delivery, and give them the best bang for their buck… even if that “buck” is just the time they spend following you.