The Art of Social Media and How to Develop Effective Skills in Social Engagement
25th January 2011
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Developing a Social Media Strategy
As marketing and relationship building tools, Social Media platforms are increasingly helping us to promote and grow our business more efficiently and to an ever widening audience.  Either as a precursor to making a start or having made that start already, we need to be able to prove its effectiveness and use our experience to convince our clients and colleagues to join us in this new technological world of real time communication.

Preparing for the Next Generation
If anyone hasn't started out on their Social Media journey, my advice would be to get a move on. It will not be long before emails start to become seriously old news and social media will become the absolute preferred method of communication.

The days of searching for messages in backlogged inbox queues or sending leisurely replies more than an instant after receiving them are receding.  The conversations we need to be privy too and part of are happening on a minute by minute basis online, particularly on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and if we are not there, we are obviously out of the loop.  Without a doubt, being out of touch and out of step with the new clients, employees and business leaders of tomorrow [Gen Y] who have grown up  with instant messaging, Social Media, mobile phones and apps, will in no time at all become a dangerous place to be in any line of business.

Social Media as Art
So what tips can I offer as a starting point?  First of all, I believe we need to elevate the work of Social Media to an art form to reap true rewards for ourselves and our business. Social Media is after all a form of communication that requires skill to be effective in promoting ourselves favourably, building lasting relationships and selling our products and services. For this reason, we need to learn to do it well and why not? 

Seth Godin, the most influential business blogger in the world, talks about ‘work becoming your art’ and in his latest book ‘The Linchpin’ he states that ’Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo and changing people … if art is a human connection that causes someone to change his mind, they you are an artist … what if you were great at it?’

In my experience, the art of Social Media centres round the skill of engaging with people. Engaging with people means first attracting their attention, then holding their interest with relevant and remarkable information and then following through with meaningful conversation and proactive collaboration.

Social Media Engagement
All my delegates, clients and key contacts know about my model for Social Media Marketing Success [©Unisey Ltd, 2011] and this helps to explain the concept very well.  They know that before you begin setting up your Social Media sites, connecting with people and starting conversations online [or offline] you need to be clear about 3 things:

1) Who you are and what you have to offer
Knowing who you are informs your brand and Social Media site profiling
Knowing what you have to offer informs your content, materials and information

2) How you connect with people and how often you make contact
Knowing the different ways to connect online informs your chosen methods of communication
Knowing the best time to make contact informs your strategy, planning and implementation

3) Who you are talking to and what you want from them
Knowing who you want to do business with informs your context, tone of voice and style of writing
Knowing what you want from people informs your message, value proposition and call to action

Critical Elements of Success
If you don’t have these 3 critical marketing elements of Contact, Communication and Collaboration in place your brand is going to be unattractive and ineffective, your content inaccurate and meaningless, your relationships fleeting and unproductive.  If you are not sure how you are going to get the right message to the right people in the right way at the right time, you are going to get lost, waste time and join the millions of empty abandoned blogs and Social Media site graveyards littered across the internet. 

Social Media Results
However, if you do have a firm handle on the key things that people engage with and cross them over to reinforce and enhance your existing marketing strategy, then you will become a great online citizen and shining star of Social Media. It means you will have:

1) Great (and co-ordinated) front of house branding on LinkedIn, Biznik, Twitter, Facebook and your other Social Media profiles.
2) A renewed determination and commitment to deliver remarkable content across all your social and business networking platforms consistently and on message.
3) Brilliant engagement that will transform your real time communications into an art form to achieve the results you want to achieve.

At best, this will greatly enhance your professional status in terms of confidence and elevate your business in terms of reputation and effectiveness.  If you are not yet using Social Media start by reflecting on these essential requirements and if you have already made a start, check that you have everything in place to truly make a difference.



About the Author

Sue C

Member since: 12th July 2010

My vision is to help everyone experience the remarkable benefits of Social Media, my mission is to actively promote and instil the positive spirit and protocol that‘s built-in and my motto is Live to...

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