Frequently, I’ll sit across from a prospect or new client filled with enthusiasm about using social media to build a following and present a brand to the world. Regardless of the industry, age or knowledge of social media clients such as Twitter, Facebook and even memories of MySpace, the angle initially is always the same. Everyone wants to be everywhere. Right now. Today. Immediately.
The problem is this isn’t the most effective use of social media at all. Spreading your brand thinly across the web and hoping people will find you and flock to your site isn’t a smart gamble. In addition, even if you did go that route, the odds of effectively tracking and comparing the statistics from, say, 12 or 13 different social media sites is virtually impossible.
What’s smarter is to start at home base. Optimize your website first with analytics and strong SEO. People should be able to find a company before it’s even on social media. So if someone’s looking for a banquet hall in Rutherford, New Jersey and they’re not finding your business site even though that’s exactly what it provides that has to be fixed first. Add the analytics to find out where your traffic is already coming from. You may already have a few fans or a following but without analytics, you’ll never know.
Once home base is in order, now we navigate out into the world a little more. Discover what accounts fit best with your target audience and your brand and park your business there. Twitter and Yelp may be all that’s necessary immediately. Perhaps a Google Places page would be valuable. But once you’ve narrowed down the two or three that work best initially, STOP!
Perfect those profiles, make sure your website highlights them nicely and communicate [I said communicate, not pitch incessantly] to your audience. As you build a following and collect enough reviews, then you might decide to branch out further . . . or not.
The bottom line here is that by funneling your time and energy into 2 or 3 well-developed profiles and getting a strong following, you can then have those followers go wherever you go because you have their attention all in one place. When you send out a message to your 500+ followers and let them know you have a new profile elsewhere, those you’ve developed relationships with by communicating and who are loyal will be glad to check out your new location and may even have a few friends already there to spread the word for you.
What do you think makes you look more popular? A couple of fans here, 5 or 6 over there, a handful in another place or a pool of followers all in one place beckoning others to take a look to see what the crowd is all about?
Be the Pied Piper – have the crowd follow you.
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