Strategy First

When I speak on the topic of 'Social Media for Business', especially in the 101 seminar, I really try to drive home only one point: STRATEGY FIRST.

It's something that folks seem to forget as they dive head-first into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the rest. While it may be common sense, it's very easy to forget that if you are trying to conduct business, then these sites are - for business purposes - merely one more vehicle for promoting your company, service, or product.

Forget for a moment about ROI; we all want to make money. Imagine how many people are out there at this moment actively using Social Media sites without any clue as to how SM fits into a marketing plan. Imagine how many people are trying to gather as many 'followers,' 'friends,' or 'connections' as possible without any plan as to how they'll truly connect with these people - other than broadcasting their latest sales pitch. Or worse, they're gathering random names to which they'll send their latest piece of SPAM.

Not a pretty picture, eh? I suggest that you take what I refer to as a "laser-guided missile" approach, as opposed to an "atom bomb" approach:

1. Once you have a few Followers/Friends/Connections, take some time to learn about them.

2. Group them into two categories: Those who might buy what I'm selling and Those that might not.

3. Set aside the "might-not's" for now. Those are likely friends & family, peers, and incredibly, nice, interesting people that don't make up your target market.

4. Take the "might buy" list and prioritize it. Which people are your best prospects? Create a short-list of these key potential clients.

5. Because you followed STEP 1 and learned a bit about these people, start really building the relationship. Re-introduce yourself. Cross-connect with them on other sites. Figure out how you can help them (and I don't mean by selling them something). Follow their blog. Send them an article or interesting link. Email or DM or IM a personal note. Ask them something. You get the idea. Put the "social" in your social media efforts.

6. Tell them that you have something to sell and ASK them if they'd be interested. Schedule a meeting, phone call, conference call, or demo. That's the venue where you sell. Utilize the networking sites that you've been using if possible.

7. Close the deal.

8. Send them a hand-written Thank You note via the USPS, and place an actual stamp on the envelope.

9. Follow-up. Repeat STEP 5. And don't forget to ask for referrals - the best way to add more people to your now-growing list of Followers, Friends, and Connections.


Reply to All - Email Considerations

This site links to a PDF article on some considerations before hitting the "Reply All" button on your email. Thanks to @glambert on Twitter for the link!


Twitter Resources

Thought I'd put a Twitter Resource page up and update periodically:

Twummize http://www.twummize.com/ - Twitter's search tool
Tweet Deck http://www.tweetdeck.com/ - organizational tool that helps you to group posts
Twitter Grader http://www.twittergrader.com/ - grades your Twitter profile versus other users
Twit Stat http://twitstat.com/ - real-time Twitter analytics
Mr. Tweet http://mrtweet.net/ - tool to help logically expand your network
Tweet Grid http://www.tweetgrid.com/ - organizational tool whereby you can follow search terms
Twit Pic http://www.twitpic.com/ - allows you to easily upload pictures
Tiny URL - http://www.tinyurl.com/ - shortens larger URLs to make them fit on your Twitter posts
Twitt Groups http://twittgroups.com/group/ - create or join groups on Twitter
Twhirl http://www.twhirl.com/ - customizable desktop client that, among other things, can connect feeds across different micro-blogging platforms
Qwitter www.useqwitter.com/ - helps you track the people that stop following your posts
Loud Twitter www.loudtwitter.com/ - one of a few services that delivers tweets to your blog
Twit Backs http://www.twitbacks.com/ - Twitter backgrounds, meant for branding