In the last year I’ve immersed myself in social media, Chris Brogan has been a continual source of inspiration and guidance. His blog, chrisbrogan.com, is a virtual treasure trove of nuggets for social media junkies and new folks alike. Chris recently published an eBook called: Fishing Where The Fish Are: Mapping Social Media to the Buying Cycle. Today I was in a discussion with some colleagues about a client who is interested in “getting into social media.” While reading Chris’s eBook, I was inspired to jot down some very quick tactical tips and suggestions. I spun this toward retailers since it’s the space I work in but it really could apply to any company or industry. Thanks to Chris for the inspiration, who likely has written a similar list already for getting folks “plugged in.”
10 Quick Tips for Retailers to Start Engaging in Social Media Right Now
1. Do a Google Blog search on your company’s brand, category and industry. Start doing this on a regular basis and read through the content. Start to get a pulse, subscribe to some Google Alerts on the topics.
2. Do the same search using search.twitter.com. There are lots of resources and guides on using Twitter and other microblogging platforms – but creating an account and getting acclimated is a longer term investment of time. I would start with looking for mentions and understanding what is being talked about. For that matter, Marc Meyer has a great post on many ways to listen to many sources in social media.
3. Join Facebook. Connect with friends, colleagues, get to know and understand how it works. Look for colleagues from your company and see how they are representing themselves. Are there Facebook groups mentioning your company? Does your company have a page? What about your competitors?
4. Join LinkedIn and set up your profile. Also connect with friends and colleagues. Get to know how the social network works. Understanding social networking will be important – as will the ability for customers and business partners to know you exist. Learn about who you should connect to and who you should avoid on each network. Here’s my view of how I scrutinize connections, but many people use social networks differently.
5. Ask around your company and find out who blogs, who is on Facebook, who is on Twitter or who is using other social media tools. You can learn a lot about social media by observing what they see and do in this space. I think you’d be surprised at how many folks in the organization already have a blog, even if it’s a personal one.
6. Start using a RSS reader like Google Reader. Search for reviews of your products or services. Find 5 sites where people are talking about them, in forums/discussions, blogs, or other sites. Subscribe to feeds from those sites to start listening.
7. Start using a bookmarking site like Delicious or StumbleUpon. Create a category or tag for blog and press mentions, and start to save/accumulate links about your company and industry. Connect to colleagues with similar interests and see what they find.
8. Find 5 blogs in a related industry by searching in Technorati, Delicious or another bookmarking service. Read through posts, and comment on them. Be sure to disclose which company you are with if you are promoting or voicing an opinion on a product or service, including a competitor’s.
9. Go talk to Legal. Is there a corporate policy on social media? Does your industry have specific concerns about participating representing the company? Understand the guidelines and policies if they exist. Scott Monty has talked about how this step was crucial when he joined the team at Ford as to lead their social media effort.
10. Go talk to PR. Chances are they are wrestling with understanding blogs and the importance of reacting timely to concerns. Let them know you are interested to and willing to share a voice.
a bonus tip:
11. Understand this is a journey, not a flash in the pan. Social media requires commitment and a lot of listening well before you will be in a position to come up with a case study in the space. Just executing against this list will require some time investment.
What did I miss? Was this helpful? What has helped you ramp up in social media?
Photo credit: StephanGeyer via Flickr