The Social Cycle

I hate doing laundry. Don’t get me wrong. I dig clean clothes.  I just hate schlepping my duffel bag of dirty duds down the stairs of my third floor walk-up.  It’s a real drag. And that’s exactly what you’ll often see me doing, dragging my bag down the street.

While spending my Saturday at The Suds and Comfort is not my idea of a good time, it got me thinking.  A social media plan is a lot like a wash cycle. If you jump in without proper planning it’s going leave you feeling all wet.

Here are four steps to ensure social success:

Listen:  Before engaging anyone through social media you need to be a voyeur. Take some time to observe and understand the culture, vernacular, and behavior of the community you’re hoping to join. You don’t want to bust into a community, bombarding your new neighbors with your sales pitch. They’ll see you as a spammer and tune you out. Once they tune you out, it will take time to rebuild credibility.

Participate: Create content that stimulates conversation in your community. Think of yourself as publisher. Publishers create content with their readers in mind. Be a passionate thought leader that educates, engages and entertains. Know your audience and make media that resonates with them.

Implement Metrics:  A word of warning…social media is not just a numbers game. You can have a large number of Facebook followers but are they interested in what you’re saying? Are they returning to your page?  But that’s another story for another day.

Four quick ways to measure your social impact:

  • Traffic: Hits to site, followers, friends and fans.
  • Engagement:  Click-thru’s, repeat visits, blog comments, retweets, bookmarks, and subscribers to feeds.
  • Influence: Increased brand awareness, buzz, mentions, links shared, leads, and long tail traffic.
  • Sales Activity:  Map out a time line of social media activity and overlay it with a financial performance chart.

Change and Adapt:  Assess your social media strategy. Constantly evaluate what’s working and where you can implement change. Don’t be afraid to experiment and take chances. Learn from your mistakes, evolve and move forward.

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